Stop Look Listen: Jack and the Beanstalk (partially found live-action educational TV series; 1999-2004)

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Jack and the Beanstalk.jpg

The soundtrack album cover for the show.

Status: Partially Found

Jack and the Beanstalk was an educational musical television series commissioned by Channel Four Learning in 1999 as part of their Stop, Look, Listen series. It starred Hannah Storey as Jack, Andy Hockley as his mother and Dona Croll as the Giant's Wife. The Giant was represented by a legs puppet (the character's head was never seen on camera, though he was described by Jack in one episode as "huge, hairy and horrible.")

The series consisted of five episodes, each focusing on a different element of sound (duration, volume, pitch etc.)

The series was written by Simon Davies, produced by Sheila Fraser, who also wrote the accompanying Teacher's Guide, and directed by Helen Sheppard.

Episodes

To Market, To Market

Jack and his mother are very poor and live in a house where all its contents make music when they are used. As per the story, Jack is sent by his mother to a market where he has to sell their cow, Daisy. Instead of money, Jack returns with magic beans, which his mother throws out the window. Soon after, the beans grow into a giant beanstalk.

(Originally aired 21st September 1999 on Channel 4)

Up the Beanstalk

Jack climbs the beanstalk all the way into the sky, where he meets a frog that tells him about a Giant who lives in a castle. Jack goes to the castle and meets the Giant's wife, who plays a game with Jack where he has to guess whether the sound she is making is high or low (ie. she rings a tiny bell to make a high sound and a giant bell to make a low sound.) The Giant returns home and frightens Jack by threatening to "catch him and bake him in a pie," so Jack hides under the table. The Giant orders his wife to make gold with a magic purse, which she does by swinging it around and vocally making a high sound and a low sound. While the Giant and his wife have left to put the gold in the safe, Jack takes the magic purse home with him and makes gold for his mother.

Giant's Rhyme: "Fee Fi Fo Fum / I hear the sounds of an Englishman. / Be they low sounds, be they high, / I'll catch him and bake him in a pie!"

(Originally aired 28th September 1999 on Channel 4)

Oh Lay, Oh Lay

Jack shows the audience an instrument he has made called a "hose-o-phone," and challenges the audience to guess whether it makes a long sound or a short sound (it makes a long sound.) After his mother dismisses the instrument, Jack goes back up the beanstalk and pays another visit to the Giant's castle, where he finds a hen in a cage which lays golden eggs. Jack steals the hen (whom, it is implied, is treated terribly by the Giant.) Jack's mother, meanwhile, has used the gold from the magic purse to buy a Virtual Visual Music Machine, on which the playing of real-life musical instruments can be demonstrated. After showing the audience a clip of a man playing a tuba and explaining how it works, Jack returns with the hen and shows it to his mother, and tells the hen about the house by singing an abridged version of "Clock with the Regular Beat."

Giant's Rhyme: "Fee Fi Fo Fum / I hear the sounds of an Englishman. / Be they long sounds, be they short, / He'll be minced meat if he's caught."

(Originally aired 5th October 1999 on Channel 4)

I Hear Thunder

Jack visits the Giant's castle and finds his wife singing a song about sounds that are loud and quiet ("The Loud and Quiet Song") along with a magical harp that plays all by itself. Jack joins in but is interrupted by the return of the Giant who has a sore throat. Jack hurriedly leaves but not before promising the Giant's wife that they'll sing the whole song together next time he visits. Back home, Jack tells his mother about the harp but she doesn't believe him, insisting that harps need somebody to pluck their strings. After showing him an example of a real harp being played on the Virtual Visual Music Machine, Jack still insists that what he saw was real, so his mother sends him back up the beanstalk to fetch it. Jack returns to the Giant's castle and finds the Giant asleep at the kitchen table. Jack and the Giant's wife sing The Loud and Quiet Song together, after which the Giant's wife leaves and Jack prepares to take the harp. However, he accidentally wakes the Giant up by strumming the harp before hurrying out the door.

Giant's Rhyme: "Fee Fi Fo Fum / I hear the sounds of an Englishman. / Be they loud sounds, be they quiet, / I'll eat him this time in my diet!"

(Originally aired 12th October 1999 on Channel 4)

Run, Run as Fast as You Can

Picking up right from where the previous episode left off, Jack is chased back home by the Giant. He gives that harp to his mother and, at his mother's suggestion, chops the beanstalk down to prevent the Giant from getting to the house. Instead of falling to his death as per the usual story, in this version, the Giant makes it back up to the top of the beanstalk in time. Jack initially feels sad that he can no longer climb the beanstalk, but his mother cheers him up by showing him that she has recorded some of the songs from the series onto her Virtual Visual Music Machine. Jack watches the video clips of "Up the Beanstalk" and "The Loud and Quiet Song" before discovering that his mother has bought Daisy back from the market. Jack's mother, having had a costume change, explains to the audience that her house means more to her than all the money in the world, before leading the finale of "Clock with the Regular Beat." Meanwhile, up in the sky, the Giant's wife promises her husband jacket potato should Jack ever return to the castle.

Giant's Rhyme: "Fee Fi Fo Fum / I hear the sounds of an Englishman. / Be they slow sounds, be they fast, / I'm going to eat him up at last!"

(Originally aired 19th October 1999 on Channel 4)

Songs

Clock With the Regular Beat: Sung by Jack. Appears in To Market, To Market, Oh Lay, Oh Lay (abridged) and Run, Run as Fast as You Can (duet with Mother.)

The Beanstalk Song: Sung by Jack. Appears in To Market, To Market ("Up" only,) Up the Beanstalk ("Up" and "Down") and Run, Run as Fast as You Can ("Down," "Up" in flashback.)

The Mirror Song: Sung by Jack's Mother. Appeared in To Market, To Market and I Hear Thunder.

The Loud & Quiet Song: Sung by the Giant's Wife and Jack. Appears in I Hear Thunder and Run, Run as Fast as You Can (flashback.)

Broadcast, Release, and Accessibility

The series was shown and repeated in the education blocks on Channel 4 in the UK, and was also broadcast on the ABC in Australia between 2000 and 2004. It was released on VHS in the UK in 2002 and a soundtrack album was also released. The series was never released on DVD and the VHS is extremely difficult to find. 61citystars has uploaded clips from the episodes "Up the Beanstalk" and "Run, Run as Fast as You Can" to their YouTube channel, and the User 90s Kid has uploaded the songs from the Soundtrack Album to their Youtube Channel. Other than that, it would appear that the series is not available online.

Gallery

A five-minute clip from Jack and the Beanstalk Episode 2, Up the Beanstalk.
A nine-minute clip from Jack and the Beanstalk Episode 5, Run Run as Fast as You Can.
"The Loud and Quiet Song"
"The Beanstalk Song"
"I Like Making Music Mirror Song"
"Clock With the Regular Beat"