Wonders In Letterland Episode 1: Arrival In Letterland

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UK Air Date04/04/1985, 4.20pm
Repeat ScreeningN/A
Copyright YearMCMLXXXV (1985)
VTR Date10/01/1985
Fremantle Archive Ref31212
Consecutive Episode Number1
IMDB LinkEpisode page

T. Bag (Tallulah Bag)Elizabeth Estensen
DebbieJennie Stallwood
The Gardener
Jim Norton

CastingSonia Higgins
Make UpGillian Wakeford
Costume SupervisorRaymond Childe
Graphic DesignerAlex Forbes
Stage ManagerBobby Webber
Production AssistantPat Lees
Songs ByTerry Trower
Written ByLee Pressman
Grant Cathro
DesignerJohn Plant
Executive ProducerMarjorie Sigley
ProducersCharles Warren
Leon Thau
DirectorLeon Thau

Debbie stumbles upon a curiosity shop on her way home from school. Inside she finds a board game called 'Wonders In Letterland', she finds a Gardner in the board game who tells her about an evil witch called T-Bag who is making their lives a misery. Debbie thinks small and appears in the board game and decides to help the Gardner by collecting up the missing golden letters from the chest in the first square of the board game and her quest begins!
The High-T Website synopsis
Start of a new 10-part series which aims to introduce letters and words to children in an entertaining way. On her way home from school, Debbie enters a mysterious shop and is suddenly transported to Letterland.
TV Times listing

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The old T-Bag

Debbie: Hello. Anybody here?
(A board game called Wonders In Letterland begins to move across the table and falls with a thud onto the floor, Debbie walks over, picks it up an opens the game).
Shopkeeper: Arh, I see you've found it.
Debbie: Oh, I'm terribly sorry, I couldn't see anybody, so I just...
Shopkeeper: It's quite alright, it's nice isn't it?
Debbie: Yes.
Shopkeeper: Hmm, I can understand you being taken with it. Do you know it's the most valuable piece in the whole shop?
Debbie: Is it?
Shopkeeper: Hm-hmm.
Debbie: It's a game isn't it?
Shopkeeper: Yes of course, how clever of you, yes it is.
Debbie: How do you play it?
Shopkeeper: Well, that's the pity you see, the rules have been lost I'm afraid.
Debbie: Ohhhh.
Shopkeeper: But I'm sure you could work it out. Just a moment now, I'll clear a space for you, there we are.
Debbie: Oh no, look I haven't time, I've got to go.
Shopkeeper: Hmm.
Debbie: I've got loads of homework to do.
Shopkeeper: Oh dear.
Debbie: Yes, I'm in enough trouble as it is.
Shopkeeper: Huh-uh, that's a pity.
Debbie: I don't want to fall further behind.
Shopkeeper: Hmm.
Debbie: Yes, it is interesting isn't it? But I really have to go home now.
(Debbie closes the board game).
Gardener: Ouch!
Debbie: What was... hello?
(The shopkeeper has gone. Debbie opens the game up and the Gardener begins to talk to her).
Gardener: I say. I say. Oh dear, oh me, oh my, oh my. I say, you up there.
Debbie: Hmm-mm, me?
Gardener: Do you mind terribly not slamming things down like that. It's like a flipping earthquake down here. Oh that is, I mean, if it's no trouble, I...
Debbie: Oh, I'm terribly sorry. Wow! What are you doing down there?
Gardener: I, I live here.
Debbie: You live in a game?
Gardener: Yes of course.
Debbie: Well it's very beautiful.
Gardener: Yes, well most of the time it is, yes. Oh dear, oh me, oh my, oh my. That is when she's not around.
Debbie: She? Who's she?
Gardener: She? Well everybody knows who, who she is.
Debbie: I don't.
Gardener: She, well, she's the old T-Bag. (The board game suddenly fills with lightning and thunder). Oh there she goes again. Oh dear, oh me, oh my, oh my.
Debbie: What was that?
Gardener: That was her.
Debbie: What do you mean? Who is this person?
Gardener: The old T-Bag.
Debbie: T-Bag!
Gardener: Sh, sh, sh, sh, sh. Yes we, we call her that because all she ever thinks about is, is drinking tea. That is when she isn't making our lives a misery.
Debbie: Oh dear, I'm so sorry.
Gardener: And this used to be such a wonderful happy place. Such a wonderful happy... (he cries).
Debbie: Oh don't be miserable.
Gardener: What else can I do but be miserable? Nobody will ever help me, ever, ever.
Debbie: Oh I'm sure they will.
Gardener: Who? When? When? Who?
Debbie: Well, is there something I can do?
Gardener: What a wonderful idea.
Debbie: Oh but how can I help? I mean, you're down there and I'm up here.
Gardener: That is a trifling detail. Utterly trifling, oh marvellous, help is on the way (he squeals in delight). Couldn't be simpler, all you've got to do is think small.
Debbie: Think small?
Gardener: That is all, think small.

Added: 04/04/2015

In Disguise

Debbie: OK clever clogs but I bet you donít know what it is?
T-Bag (Gardener Disguise): How dare you? You impertinent child of course I know what it means, A, N, D spells and, it couldnít be simpler.
Debbie: So that makes you, you.
Gardener: But thatís what Iíve been telling you all along.
Debbie: Because the real him canít read and you just read.
T-Bag: Ohhhhh. Drat you you interfering brat Iím telling you sweet child not to meddle in things that donít concern you this is a happy place.
Debbie: He doesnít look very happy.
T-Bag: Of course heís happy!

All got to do with opening the chest

Debbie: Well I think there's something very fishy about all this. And it's all got to do with opening the chest.
T-Bag: There's nothing in there that could interest you. Keep away from it, you have been warned.
(T-Bag disappears).
Debbie: Are you alright?
Gardener: Er, yes, thank you. I think so. Am I? Oh I say, that was good the way you stood up to her just now.
Debbie: Thanks.
Gardener: Do you know if she hadn't popped off just now I would have punched her right on her ugly nose. One, two. Aah, oh, oh don't do that.

Added: 04/04/2016

The mysteries of the chest

Debbie: Come on, let's take another look at those letters.
Gardener: But she said.
Debbie: I know what she said. She may be a clever old witch but we're going to beat her at this game.
Gardener: You mean you're going to stay and help us.
Debbie: Of course.
Gardener: Oh marvellous, marvellous.
Debbie: Come on.
Gardener: Heh.
Debbie: Now I'm sure the secret must be in the chest.
Gardener: Mmm.
Debbie: And this writing will tell us how to open it.
Gardener: Good.
Debbie: Not so good.
Gardener: Oh.
Debbie: You've got to find the missing letters of course.
Gardener: Exactly.
Debbie: And once we've found them we'll unlock the mysteries of the chest.
Gardener: And everybody will be happy again, oh I feel so much better. I am so happy, so happy. Wuh-a-hee, oh-doh-dee-doh-dee-doh.
Debbie: Let's start right away. They could be absolutely anywhere those letters.
Gardener: Yes, wh-where shall we start?
Debbie: This is a game isn't it?
Gardener: Yes it is.
Debbie: We'll do what you usually do in a game. Start at the beginning and make our way to the end.
Gardener: Absolutely, that's just what I was going to say.
Debbie: Now where's the beginning?
Gardener: Ah, very good question. Where is the beginning? I know it's over here somewhere. But I'm not quite sure in which erm direction, if it's that way or, or that, erm that, hmm.
Debbie: Could it be that way?
Gardener: Oh there it is. Stick with me and you won't go far wrong, hee. Do you know? I don't even know your name.
Debbie: Oh no. It's Debbie.
Gardener: Debbie, how do you do? Hee hee hee. Erm now Debbie, this is not going to be an easy game but I don't want you to be nervous. Look at me, I'm not at all nervous, what, huh-huh-uh. Stick with me and we'll be alright. Now off we go.

Added: 04/04/2015

No mistakes found yet, if you've found any please let me know.

For more mistakes from other episodes, please see the Nitpicker's Guide

  • This is the only episode that we see outside of the curiosity shop.
  • The curiosity shop Debbie enters is a shop called 'Papillon' and can be found in Church Street, Twickenham. The inside of the shop was a set.
  • The outside of this shop was used in a sketch on Little Britain. It featured at the very beginning of the "Pirate Memory Game" sketch (series 1, episode 7, sketch 2) which aired in 2003.
  • This is the only episode of T-Bag that T-Shirt does not appear in. We first see T-Shirt in episode 2.
  • The TV Times listing for this episode has a credit for John Hasler as T-Shirt despite him not featuring until episode 2.
  • This is the only episode of T-Bag that only features three cast members, all other episodes feature at least four.
  • Jim Norton is credited on this episode's credits as 'Shopkeeper/Gardener' which is the reverse of how he is credited in episode 10. He is never credited as 'Thomas' Grandfather'
  • Ken Jones introduces the first episode of the series on Children's ITV; he would later be cast as Professor Sparks in the fourth series, Turn on to T-Bag.
  • The DVD version is the Trouble with T-Bag version and omits the voiceover at the start when Debbie crosses the road to the curiosity shop. The voice over says 'Wonders in Letterland, The exciting adventures of a small girl in search of magic of letters'.
  • T-Bag's explorer's hat from episode four can be seen in the curiosity shop hanging from one of the shelves in the background.
    (Wonders in Letterland, Episode 4: Debbie In The Land Of I)
  • T-Bag's Jester's hat from episode nine can be seen in the curiosity shop hanging from one of the shelves in the background.
    (Wonders in Letterland, Episode 9: Debbie In The Land Of E)
  • Debbie transports herself into the board game by thinking small. Debbie does this in every series to get into the world of the object from the curiosity shop.
    (T-Bag Strikes Again, Episode 1: The Town Clock)
    (T-Bag Bounces Back, Episode 1: The Ousting Of Major Happy)
  • The Gardener starts to quote the ancient rhyme 'The guest will come in yellow dressed' in the next episode, after saying it in this episode.
    (Wonders in Letterland, Episode 2: Debbie In The Land Of B)
  • T-Bag is wearing her 'taffata' dress which she would wear for the all of this series and the first two episodes of the next series.
    (T-Bag Strikes Again, Episode 1: The Town Clock)
    (T-Bag Strikes Again, Episode 2: One, Two Buckle My Shoe)
  • Thomas' Grandfather (the shopkeeper) is mentioned in T-Bag Bounces Back when Thomas and Debbie enter the curiosity shop.
    (T-Bag Bounces Back, Episode 1: The Ousting Of Major Happy)
  • T-Bag lives within the board game in the curiosity shop, this would happen again when T-Bag resides in The Pearls of Wisdom board game.
    (T. Bag and The Pearls of Wisdom, Episode 1: Any Old Port)
  • The clown puppet that beckons Debbie into the shop can be seen in the curiosity shop in T-Bag Strikes Again.
    (T-Bag Strikes Again, Episode 1: The Town Clock)
  • T-Bag uses her magic to disguise herself as another character (played by the other actor), in this episode T-Bag disguises herself as the Gardener (played by Jim Norton). Tallulah Bag does this twice more and this is only done once by Tabatha Bag in T. Bag and The Rings of Olympus.
    (Wonders in Letterland, Episode 7: Debbie In The Land Of V)
    (T-Bag Strikes Again, Episode 10: The Magic Garden)
    (T. Bag and The Rings of Olympus, Episode 10: Return To Olympus)