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Programme Outline

The programme begins in the classroom/nursery space.

A worried riverbank ranger, Ruby, is looking for Portly, the baby otter, who is missing from home. Ruby meets the children as she searches with her trusty magnifying glass and binoculars. She shows them some of the animals and plants that she looks after down by the river and asks them to check for clues and footprints from Portly. Ruby decides to return to the riverbank and asks the children to join her on her search. She shows them a map of where she patrols and leads them from the classroom to the hall or performance space where the drama continues.

The children are introduced to the world of the riverbank before searching for footprints and clues. Amongst the clues they find is a nest. The children speculate on who it might belong to and why the eggs inside are broken. Ruby and her helpers attempt to cross the river but the bridge has been washed away in a storm so together they construct a new one in order to explore the far side of the riverbank. On reaching the far side they begin to search for clues of Portly’s whereabouts before finding more evidence of the storms affect on the riverbank.

They explore a fallen magpies nest and discuss where the treasure inside might have come from before collecting materials and making a new home for a hedgehog to hibernate in. There is still no sign of the baby otter, Portly, so Ruby decides to ask Joe the boatman if they can hire his boat. While she walks upstream to find him the children have a break after agreeing to meet Ruby at the widest part of the river in a little while.

When the children meet Ruby after a short break they climb aboard Joe’s boat, The Piper.  Onboard the new crew must work out how to move the boat and travel downstream to search for Portly. On their journey they experience feeding the ducks, singing a song, taking the boat over the rough rocks before becoming stuck in the mud next to Wild Wood.

The boat is stuck in the mud and can go no further so Ruby and her team of helpers jump back onto the riverbank once more and search Wild Wood as darkness descends. In the woods they eventually discover Portly hiding in the leaves. Ruby helps the children to find out why the baby otter decided to go off on her own and asks them to think about what she could do next time to stay safe on her adventures.

The drama ends with the children jumping across the stranded boat to the other side of the river to walk back to school/nursery and leaving Ruby to take Portly home to her mum.


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