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I'm trying to identify a show that I watched as a kid in the early '80s. I feel like it might have been British, and I could swear it was on PBS on a weekend morning.

I vaguely recall ~2 kids (maybe 1 girl, 1 boy), around 12, stuck in a spaceship (but on Earth I believe), trying to hide from the aliens that moved around their ship through chutes. They looked like stumpy cephalopods. I recall the kids trying to hide from them. I think maybe they were friends with 1 of them.

Does this sound remotely familiar to anybody?

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  • Ongoing series or single show?
    – SteveV
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 18:46
  • Ongoing series but I do recall feeling like I got to the end of the series.
    – Cherry77
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 18:47
  • Possibly the tripods? Not a perfect match but its british, fits your time period and does have cephalopod aliens. Aliens were not friendly though. Take a look at it here...youtube.com/…
    – skyjack
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 22:46
  • 1
    @Cherry77 - Welcome to the site. If anyone correctly identifies the show you're looking for, please mark that answer as accepted by clicking on the check mark beneath the voting buttons. And if you found it useful, please upvote it as well. Thanks. Commented Mar 28, 2021 at 11:38

3 Answers 3

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Is it possibly The Boy From Space? It has

  • two children, boy and girl roughly the right age.
  • British TV show
  • on from 1970 to 1980, though only 10 episodes
  • children friends with one of the aliens, who is the "blue boy"
  • in the 9th episode, the children are captured. The 10th episode is called "In the Space-ship", but I can't find details
  • the space ship is on Earth

There are a few things that don't match or can't confirm (cephalopods and chutes)

Here are a couple of trailers if it rings any bells:

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  • Thank you for your suggestion! It's not this but seeing the various answers has made me realize what a popular storyline this was back then!
    – Cherry77
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 20:11
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I wonder if you're recalling Tobe Hooper's remake of INVADERS FROM MARS (1986). Obviously, it would not have been on PBS, so that doesn't fit, but it does involve two kids - a boy and a girl, both around 12 - who find themselves in a spaceship on Earth where cephalopod-like aliens move via tunnels and, in one case, chutes. see pics here

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Under the Mountain is a partial match.

Things that match:

  • TV series from the early '80s.
  • The protagonists are two children, a boy and a girl.
  • The antagonists are aliens, whose true forms might be considered to resemble "stumpy cephalopods".
  • The kids are befriended by one of the aliens (who takes the form of an old man, and is known as Mr. Jones).
  • In episodes four and five, the kids are trapped within the aliens' Earth-based lair, and pursued by them through tunnels and chutes.

Things that don't match:

  • The show is a New Zealand production, rather than British.
  • The kids are trapped within an underground lair built by the aliens on Earth, not a spaceship (although the lair looks like it could be the interior of a spaceship).
  • I don't think this was shown on PBS, although it was aired in the US.

The show focuses on twins Rachel and Theo Matheson. While on school summer holidays in Auckland, they are contacted by a man named Mr. Jones, who had met them briefly eight years earlier. This time, Mr. Jones reveals his true identity and mission. He is an alien--a member of the mysterious race called The People Who Understand and was sent from another world in a battle against another race of aliens. These latter creatures were a family of slimy, slug-like beasts who could take on human form. Led by the evil Mr. Wilberforce, the slug monsters were now bent on destroying Earth and only the twins' emerging psychic abilities could turn them back. The other major conflict presented by the series is that of Rachel and Theo's emerging abilities. Rachel accepted the truth of their abilities, while Theo was more of a cynic and often challenged Mr. Jones. The psychic abilities in the series increase in effectiveness as the individual grows in trust and acceptance of his or her abilities. In the final episode of the series, the twins are each required to throw a stone and focus their psychic energy into the stone to create a red and blue bridge-like construct that will defeat the Wilberforces. Because Theo's faith in his abilities and his belief in supernatural phenomena in general is lacking, his half of the bridge is insufficient to complete the construct. Mr. Jones uses the last of his life energy to complete the construct and defeat the Wilberforces, and can no longer be with Rachel and Theo as a result.

Here's a YouTube video of the fifth episode, which shows the children being pursued by the aliens through their underground tunnels:

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