Sam on Boffs' Island

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Sam on Boff's Island
Genre Schools programme
Starring Tony Robinson
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 20
Original network BBC Two ??
Picture format PAL (576i) ??
Audio format Monaural sound
Original release 18 September 1972

Sam on Boff's Island was a British educational television series made by the BBC and aimed at developing the reading skills of 6-8 year olds.

First broadcast in 1972 as part of the Words and Pictures strand, it was one of the first television appearances of Tony Robinson. Robinson played the character Sam, who is magically transported to Boff's Island when he is eating his breakfast cereal in the morning. Each episode featured a 'real life' segment designed to encourage young children to read through storytelling. Other segments were animated.

The Boff characters were puppets, who were portrayed by several voice actors including Charles Collingwood. Miriam Margolyes (later to co-star with Robinson in Blackadder) played Sam's mother. The Boffs were stop-motion animated except when they appeared simultaneously with Robinson, in which cases they were hand-operated.

The scriptwriter for the series was children's author Michael Rosen. Smallfilms, the production company of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, provided some still video sequences.

In all, 20 episodes were made and the series was repeated throughout the 1970s as part of the BBC's schools service. It was also the series that brought together Smallfilms with Sandra Kerr and John Faulkner (thanks to Michael Rosen's work with Kerr and Faulkner in Ewan MacColl's Critics' Group). Postgate, Firmin, Kerr and Faulkner went on to make Bagpuss together.

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