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Maths-In-A-Box

TYNESIDE FOLK SINGER ALEX GLASGOW was the unlikely man behind this educational affair, bashed out in the white heat of progressive schools programming, where oddness and music took precedence over log tables and grammar. Hence these programmes had a weird, disorientating atmosphere which proved too much for some easily-bewildered kids, but rather that than the monumental tedium of previous watch-and-copy-this-down endeavours. This was ostensibly a “comedy adventure series” dealing with slightly more basic concepts and starring two bog-standard kids who find a mysterious “dice”, from which emerges a babbling, op-art-clothed, P’tweean alien bloke called Powkah, who despite having mastered interstellar travel and dimensional compression has trouble counting up to ten. The kids then take him all over the place (i.e. cheap locations in the south of England) via a suspiciously TARDIS-like “box” to teach all manner of basic mathematical and physical stuff. Plus there was an annoying computer (voiced by the writer) who sang songs of similar educational persuasion. Kids and Pow went in and out of the craft by grasping the old man’s “Truestock” (a sort of plastic blunt dagger with the numbers one to twenty written down the side for easy reference) and chanting “ticky-ticky-tox, out of (into) the box!” followed by a standard Rentaghost dematerialisation.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Frank Jackdaw

    February 14, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I really liked it. But then, I was about four at the time.

  2. Christine

    March 21, 2010 at 1:59 am

    I’d love to see the whole thing again – I remember part of it, but not all of it. I have recollections of fish tani with a dice in it. This seemed to me to be at the same sort of time as the Capricorm Game, and when the leaflets came out for Puffin Books. Who remembers the Sound & Sense books, and the Through the Rainbow reading books – and the Wide Range Readers?? It seems to me that teaching has gone downhill since all of these things (and I’m a teacher who has just had to teach 11 year olds the difference between uppercase and lowercase letters – and how to form them!! Surely the books – Sound and Sense covered this somewhere in my primary education.

    • Joanne Gray

      February 19, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      I certainly remember Wide Range Readers; I’m more of a wordsmith than a mathematician, having learned to read by the age of 30 months (sounds more impressive than two and a half). The trouble is with today’s children that nobody takes the time to sit them down and teach them the basics anymore, they’re just plonked down in front of a 24 hour cartoon channel with a smart phone from which they learn the semi-literate text speak that a lot of parents think will suffice for future life.

  3. Matthew

    April 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Is there anywhere we can see clips from this? I can find any on YouTube!!

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