Happy Days

October 17, 2008 at 9:18 am 12 comments

So, Blue Peter has been celebrating its 50th anniversary as one of the world’s longest running Children’s TV programme……Well, I was always more of a Magpie man myself. BBC was always a little posh and keen to educate in my formative years and I seemed to prefer the allure of Jenny Hanley over Lesley Judd. And, who can blame me? Give me a Hammer Girl over a ballet dancer any day 😉

But, the anniversary has prompted me to think back to those halcyon days of 1970s and early 1980s TV. I never really bothered about Blue Peter until Sarah Greene. Well, why would I? But, I did find Sarah and the likes of Janet Ellis could be a little diverting in the late afternoon. And to be honest, John Noakes apart, the male presenters were always a little dodgy. Peter Duncan, John Leslie – need I say more?ellis

In my day, as a kid, you took TV as it came. Which wasn’t often. Breakfast TV didn’t start until 1983. When I was very young (or occasionally ill) I would walk home from junior school for lunch and take in the occasional Mr Benn, Trumpton, Camberwick Green, Tales of the Riverside, or, Pipkins, with that truly irritating Brummie hare!

Animation and cartoons were pretty rubbish – who could ever get their head around Noggin the Nog or understand what on Earth (or whatever their volcanic, hollow planet was called) the Clangers were on about? The American imports were always so much better. I used to fancy Penelope Pitstop. These were the days of Dastardly and Muttley, the Harlem Globetrotters and the Jackson 5 – back in the days when the only children that Michael Jackson shared his bed withwere his own brothers! (How did he ever get away with it?)

The home grown stuff was pretty rock n’ roll though, alegedly full of drugs and sexual innuendo. Just take Zebedee in the Magic Roundabout or the whole mythology built around Captain Pugwash with  Seaman Staines, Master Bates, and Roger the Cabin Boy. None of it is true you know.

Sundays were dull. These were the days when TV schedulers believed that children should be sat around the Sunday dinner table with the family and playing in the park. It was so bad that you would look forward to Songs of Praise. No, actually, it was never that bad. There was always the Adentures of Black Beauty. It was always a bit girlie but at least there was Judy Bowker.

The Christmas holidays were long, with only black and white Tarzan movies (Johnny Weissmuller) or Flash Gordon (Steve Holland) to accompany your home-made mince pie breakfasts. The summer holidays would have been unbearable without the Banana Splits and their friends – the Three Musketeers, the Arabian Nights and Danger Island.

Kids today? You don’t know what you are missing. What are your favourite TV shows from way back then?

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Ginger and Proud! Wear It With Pride

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dennis the Vizsla  |  October 17, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Thanks for the visit! I remember those old cartoons well … Wacky Races, The Hair Bear Bunch, The Impossibles, and the 80s cartoons like Smurfs. And of course the Sid & Marty Croft puppet/costume shows. Thanks for the visit to my childhood!


  • 2. Peter the Pedant  |  October 19, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    I thin’k you will find that the ‘truly annoying brummie hare’ was actually a pig. The Hare was Hartley – not sure what regional acent it had, but the pig was definitely the Brummie. You are right though …. it was annoying


  • 3. Middle Man  |  October 24, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you for correcting me – it’s my age! I did mean Hartley though – he was very irritating, whatever his accent.


  • 4. The Cathode Ray Choob  |  January 14, 2009 at 12:14 am

    You may be interested to know that in Scotland, Sundays were much better for kids. We had a show called Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Michael ) which was a bit like Rolf Harris’s cartoon time, only even better!


  • 5. Paul Badger  |  February 10, 2009 at 2:40 am

    Good post! I enjoyed reading that. Yes, the BBC did seem a bit posh compared to ITV. But do you remember –

    Escape Into Dark –

    Ace of Wands –

    Follyfoot –

    Tomorrow People –

    How –

    Vision On –

    I’ll get me coat.


  • 6. Paul Badger  |  February 10, 2009 at 2:42 am

    Oh, and I thought you might want to read this –




  • 7. Ian  |  October 22, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Not to mention
    The Double Deckers
    Robinson Crusoe, every Summer Holiday for years and years and years and years
    Bagpuss of course
    Pogles Wood
    Little Joe, does anyone remember that except for me?


  • 8. Peter the Pedant  |  October 30, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Hartley was apparently posh

    Did not remember that but appears conclusive


  • 9. simonpridmore  |  December 8, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Cheers for the visit. It’s all there on youtube, isn’t it? I’ve just watched the plasticine animated opening titles of ‘Watch’; found Wordy from ‘Words and Pictures’ (“hello wordwatchers!”), and googled ‘Mary, Mungo and Midge’. I feel like I should be at school. I’m 36 for heaven’s sake.


  • 10. Shirley Johansen  |  November 18, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Hi There, I considered that really informative. I will definitely return again to check in with your blog again. Neat Job


  • 11. gorillamums  |  May 28, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Oh man those were the days! I forgot about Black Beauty on a Sunday!


  • 12. Mandy K  |  November 7, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    “Zokko”? A pinball machine that introduced “the first children’s televised comic” on Saturday mornings, IIRC.

    It was replaced on the BBC by “Ali Bongo’s Cartoon Carnival”. Ali Bongo was an accomplished magician who, in his spare time, appeared to be the world’s worst ventriloquist.



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