Young Debbie enters a toy shop and finds an intriguing game called 'Wonders in Letterland'. Before she knows it, she's pulled inside the game where no one can read or write. Although ... See full summary »
Young Debbie enters a toy shop and finds an intriguing game called 'Wonders in Letterland'. Before she knows it, she's pulled inside the game where no one can read or write. Although spelling is Debbie's least favourite subject at school, she decides to seek out the missing golden letters scattered all across the game by the evil witch T.Bag to unlock a mysterious chest. Written by
The TV Archaeologist
This series, produced by Thames Television and featuring several crew members from 'Rainbow', evolved out of the need to bring an educational series on reading and writing to children's television. It spawned nine subsequent adventures, several holiday specials and many changes in the lead characters. The first series, "Wonders in Letterland" (also known as 'Trouble with T-Bag) revolved around Debbie (Jennie Stallwood), an 11 year old girl who was sucked into a mysterious board game (called 'Wonders in Letterland'). There, despite the lack of a rulebook, she set out to find a number of golden letters to end the evil witch T. Bag's rule over the world within the game.
Each episode a different square of the game took her to a different land where everything revolved around one particular letter. However none, of the lands inhabitants knew how to read or write (T. Bag made sure of that). Debbie would have to solve puzzles with help from alliterated characters such as Seraphina the Seasprite, Indiana Inkspot (at a Inker temple) and Polar Pete, all the while trying to out smart tricky T. Bag (spelled as such during the end credits but as 'T-Bag' in the TV Times). Also of note was actor Jim Norton, who played the bulk of the supporting characters (nine different characters in all) over the course of 10 episodes and actually managed to make each one different.
Of course it was the witch who quickly became the star of the show, played with great self-importance by Elizabeth Estensen. The secret to her success became evident in episode two, when she was first joined by her young tea boy T. Shirt (aka T-Shirt). Charged with brewing the Tea from which the Witch got all her power, T-Shirt would often rebel against his mistress and help Debbie (and her successors in subsequent series) in her quest. Yet he was always forced back into the service of the old Bag by the start of the next story. While Debbie's adventures in the different letter lands were fun, it was the constant bickering between the big and small T's which stole the show.
Estenden left after five T-Bag adventures (the girl who played Debbie was written out after three) and T-Bag's sister, played by Georgina Hale took over. Apparently, her Bag swiftly became a hilarious raving madwoman over the course of 4 series and another 2 Xmas specials, but for since I never got to see any of the later series, Elizabeth E. is still the one true bag for me. As T-Shirt, John Hasler was the only actor to appear in all the different T-incarnations. The series still has a loyal following to this day, who occasionally met up at T-time to watch tired old tapes. Many thanks to the wonderful T-set fan site which helped a lot in researching for this review. And congratulations on getting the first three T's out on DVD, at last!
8 out of 10
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