Daily Archives: September 29, 2012

Top 5 Retro Kids TV Programmes

When you become a parent you get to enjoy the thrill of children’s television – all over again!

But of course, it’s never quite the same as you remember, is it? Times change, technology changes and with it the storyboard of children’s television.

CBeebies is very big in my house. Not that it’s on constantly as an alternative babysitter. No, SC has certain programmes he likes and I let him watch at certain times, i.e., after he’s dressed for school until its time to leave, and then after tea as a wind down.

They have a wide selection of fab programmes (some not so fab in my humble opinion), great presenters and, a distinct advantage over their Channel 5 morning rivals “Milkshake”, no adverts! especially those which are wholly inappropriate to be shown in a schedule aimed at pre-school children, but that’s another point.

But what of the shows from my past?

The things I enjoyed and can still remember watching. According to my mother I used to cry when Andy Pandy and Rupert Bear finished (the original not the animated version with the dodgy theme tune that’s on these days)

Thankfully, some bright sparks have put some of the programmes of yesteryear on to DVD so we can all step back into our childhood again. I have bought several of my favourites, and SC loves them as well.

The other thing I noticed after buying complete sets of them, is that not many of the programmes had more than 15 episodes made. That’s 3 weeks worth of programmes! And yet, you never noticed when you were small.

So here is my Top 5 Retro Kids TV programmes, in reverse order:

5. BOD – Voiced by the unforgettable John le Mesurier – a, quite frankly, rather bizarre programme, about a boy called Bod. Very basic animation, bright colours, and an animal band led by Alberto the Frog, and you always had to guess which flavour milkshake he would have. Quirky and very 70s!

4. The Wombles – yes of Wimbledon Common. Love the Wombles, they practically invented recycling – way before any think tank came into operation! Can you name them all? I’ll give you a week and then edit this post and put them in. I have a very old video, yes video, with about 5 episodes on. SC loves them, and he also has the complete set of Womble books – they are totally brilliant 😉

3. The Mr Men – the original version with Arthur Lowe narrating, none of this “in your face” rubbish programme that’s on now – the characters in the new show look nothing like the characters in the books! Surely that would have been a “must-have”, as it’s very confusing if you see Mr Grumpy on the new programme where he’s green, when in actual fact in the book he’s blue? Or are they just assuming that children don’t read books these days? Despite 40-odd books being written, and yes we have them all, only 28 episodes were made. SC’s particular favourites are Mr Chatterbox, Mr Grumpy and of course, Mr Tickle. I think I’m going to have to buy a replacement DVD, we’ve watched them so many times the DVD is wearing and the picture sticks and jumps!

2. Camberwick Green – and Trumpton and Chigley – Brian Cant was to children’s television in the 70s what Justin Fletcher is nowadays. SC loves these too. Chigley for the steam train, Trumpton for the fire engine and Camberwick Green for Mr Crockett the car repair man! All these programmes interweave, and characters from one series appearing in another. Watching again, in my adulthood, I find the costumes a bit on the bizarre side. On one hand the men at the factory and some others are wearing 70s garb, whereas Doctor Mop and Windy Miller are wearing clothes that wouldn’t look out-of-place in the early 20th century. The women too, most of them wearing long, almost Victorian gowns apart from the baker’s wife who’s very 60s in appearance. Costumes aside, watching again, you still find yourself whistling for the wind, or making the noise of the windmill, and having the tunes stuck in your head all day long!

But my number 1, all-time favourite has to be Bagpuss. That old cloth cat, baggy and a bit loose at the seams, along with Professor Yaffle, Madeline the doll, Gabriel the toad and of course, the mice on the mice organ. A total classic, that never loses its appeal. Favourite episode? Well, who could forget the chocolate biscuit factory one? I think everyone does.

These are my top 5, what would your’s be?

And don’t forget, let me know if you can remember all the Wombles names

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