The Magic Key is a series of books published for children as part of the Oxford Reading Tree, from Oxford University Press. The books are written by Roderick Hunt, illustrated by Alex Brychta, and primarily follow the lives of three children, Biff, Chip and Kipper Robinson, their parents and grandmother, and their dog, Floppy.

The series was first published in 1985 with a set of 30 stories, and there are now over 300. It is used by more than 80% of schools in the United Kingdom, and has been translated into numerous languages in over 120 different countries.[1] In 2000, it was made into a television series, produced by the BBC.[2]

Audience Edit

The books are aimed at children from four to the age of nine, and could form part of an English language syllabus in line with the National Curriculum, designed to help children learn to speak and read Standard English.

Adaptations Edit

The books were developed into a television series consisting of 26 episodes, each featuring a different story, plus helpful hints towards teaching children good use of English.

The series was shown as part of the BBC Schools segments in the morning, then transferred to CBeebies in 2004, and shown during 2004 and 2005. It was also sold on video as a whole series.

Characters Edit

  • Christopher "Kipper" Robinson
  • Barbara "Biff" Robinson
  • David "Chip" Robinson
  • Mum
  • Dad
  • Floppy the dog
  • Gran
  • Wilf and Wilma Page
  • Anneena Patel
  • Nadim Shah

TV tie-in book titles Edit

  • The Patchworker
  • Troll Talk
  • Tumbleweed Desert
  • Chip And The Flying Circus
  • Fabulous Fancy Foods
  • Underwater World
  • The Demon Drill
  • Lug & the Giant Storks
  • Nadim's Machine
  • Wilma And The Sound Monster
  • Floppy and the Puppies
  • Fraser the Eraser
  • The Cream Cake Mystery
  • Biff of the Jungle
  • Chip Wonderland

Television series Edit

In the television show, Floppy wears a collar around his neck with a golden key upon it. The key is magic, as the title suggests, and seems to do some strange things whenever Floppy wishes for something. It transports the children and sometimes their grandmother, to other worlds, where they have exciting adventures, such as dealing with trolls in an underground cavern, being characters inside a computer game, or finding the Fountain of Youth. In the books the key is kept in a box which opens the door to a dolls house and Floppy does not go on all the adventures.

As well as Biff, Chip and Kipper Robinson, four other children also appear in the stories and occasionally find themselves in the adventures caused by the Magic Key, namely Wilf and Wilma Page, Nadim Shah (whose mother and father own the local corner shop which features in a couple of the stories), and Anneena Patel.

Episodes Edit

  1. HMS Sweet Tooth- 4 September 2000
  2. Lug & the Giant Storks- 11 September 2000
  3. The Rook King- 18 September 2000
  4. Clutterland Band- 25 September 2000
  5. Troll Talk- 2 October 2000
  6. The Patchworker- 9 October 2000
  7. Code Calling- 16 October 2000
  8. Zandoodle & the Wheezlebang- 23 October 2000
  9. Biff of the Jungle- 30 October 2000
  10. Nadim's Machine- 6 November 2000
  11. The Flying Circus- 13 November 2000
  12. Fraser the Eraser- 20 November 2000
  13. The Anneena Academy- 27 November 2000
  14. Dragon Land- 4 December 2000
  15. The Queen of Hearts- 11 December 2000
  16. Floppy & the Puppies- 8 January 2001
  17. The Giant & the Knee Nibblers- 15 January 2001
  18. The Cream Cake Mystery- 22 January 2001
  19. Master Hansel & Miss Gretal- 29 January 2001
  20. The Sound Monster- 5 February 2001
  21. Tumbleweed Desert- 12 February 2001
  22. The Stone of Contentment- 19 February 2001
  23. The Demon Drill- 26 February 2001
  24. Fabulous Fancy Foods- 5 March 2001
  25. The Fountain of Youth- 12 March 2001
  26. Underwater World- 19 March 2001

Repeats Edit

The Magic Key premiered on BBC1 in September 2000 on Thursdays at 3.45pm, later moving to Fridays beginning of 2001, Later it was broadcast on BBC2 in the mornings as part of it's schools slot, CBBC on Choice have shown the series once beginning Monday 6th August 2001 - Friday 31st August 2001 at 7.35am, 10.35am, 1.35pm and 4.35pm. The series has been repeated on CBBC and CBeebies and BBC2 until 2008.