Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Children's TV

The Times recently drew up its list of the ten best children's TV programmes ever. (You can read it by clicking on the title of this post.) It's fair to say that TV doesn't feature very prominently in our lives here at Charlie Towers. There doesn't seem to be the time. But it can be a useful distraction (especially very early in the morning). I've already posted about Teletubbies; now 'In the Night Garden' has knocked Tinky-Winky off the number one spot, and Charlie bounces up and down to 'Space Pirates' too.

But when I were a lad... we were lucky if we got a glimpse of Trumpton, Chigley or Camberwick Green in the afternoon (none of which feature in the Times' list, strangely). And then, five minutes before the BBC news it would be Magic Roundabout or Hector's House. Oh and I remember Hammy Hamster, too - Tales form the Riverbank, and the original (monochrome) Andy Pandy. Noddy never really did it for me, though. And nor did Bagpuss (though that was more my sister's era). The Times did have Play School and Play Away at numbers one and two, respectively. And the common denominator between their top two and my top three? Brian Cant, of course - the voice of my childhood! How about you?


  1. I won't hear a bad word said about The Teletubbies. Both my children adored them, and they gave me a very precious 20 minutes of 'me' time every single day!

    I must be about the same age as you - loved Trumpton and Camberwick Green too. Windy Miller being my favourite character. Brian Cant is fab, and so is anything 'touched' by Tony Hart, in my very humble opinion.


  2. I think there is a lot of decent children's tv out there if it is used correctly. as children get older it is easy to have it on as noise in the background as they play

  3. My eldest son was a fan of teletubbies as a toddler then Scooby Doo took over. I have to admit I was a fan of Scooby.

    My middle son doesn't watch much t.v, he likes a good book.

    and my daughter has an obsession with Peppa Pig. She also likes to have the first 3 mins (exactly) of In the Night Garden, which i believe is part the opening title, repeated over and over. As she is autistic and repetition is one of her things.

  4. I so loved Mary, Mungo and Midge, am I the only one old enough to remember them ?

  5. Hi. Yes, i'm big one for Teletubbies. my kids grew up with them of course. And i have to say any programme that features Eric Sykes and Penelope Keith together has got to be worth its salt.

    It was The Tweenies I couldn't stand. Especially that twat Milo.

    I loved Play Away of course. yes , Brian Cant was really the best. And I loved Toni Arthur too.

    I loved a kids programme called "Daktari" when i was a kid. you probably won't remember it. But a lot of people fondly remember Clarence the cross-eyed lion in it. I liked all the trash ones really - Champion the Wonder Horse and the Beverley Hillbillies. Although compared to what my daughter watches on that Disney channel now, they almost seem intellectual.

    Blue Peter was dutiful watching more than anything. Also there wasn't much choice then. Although How was quite good.

  6. That's important, isn't it Kitty - a bit of 'me' time? (And Teletubbies certainly provides that). And I'm with you all the way on Tony Hart(The answer's 43, by the way!)

    You're right, Lori - TV must be used correctly. Most of it is incredibly educational (as well as entertaining, of course).

    I'd forgotten Scooby-Doo, Halo! Thanks for reminding me.

    And I don't know why I left out MMM, Auntie Gwen - with the wonderful narration by Richard Baker.

    Yes, Play School/Play Away weren't solely 'one man bands' for Mr Cant, Jenny. It's amazing how many well-known telly people appeared on one or the other - Johnny Ball, Jeremy Irons, Tony Robinson and so on. Will the same be said of today's CTV presenters in another thirty or forty years?

  7. Teletubbies were after my kids were grown. But I did post on one of my childhood favs some time back.

  8. Ah, memories! This list is about educational children's programmes, but for me Trumpton, Chigley and Camberwick Green were an education about how the world might be if only people would be nice and communicate with each other properly. And The Clangers... loved The Clangers.

  9. Oh God! I forgot the Clangers. And the Herbs. And Mr Ben. At the risk of sounding very old, they really don't make 'em like that any more, do they Gadj? And the worst thing that ever happened in Trumpton was the Mayor's hat blowing off. What did PC McGarry find to do?

  10. Hugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb......I'm showing my age there.

    I loved White Horses and Robinson Crusoe which were both badly dubbed from some east-european language; I recently bought the theme music to Robinson Crusoe and was immediately transported to my childhood!

  11. Let's not forget My Favourite Martian, Hogan's Heroes, Mr Ed and Gilligan's Isle. And also Phil Silvers' shows.

    Then I moved on to Supercar, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Fireball
    XL5 and Do Not Adjust Your Set which had David Jason and several Pythons pre Monty python (if you follow). And a program called Tarot.

    Then fell in love with Samantha on Bewitched.

    Those were the days!

  12. I loved Play School but didn't like Play Away. My favourite was definately Rainbow and that one with Top Off the monkey and Octavia out in the garden. What was it called?

  13. I used to love Play Away, I didnt like Play School as much, or Blue Peter. I do think programmes were more educational when I was small. I loved the Clangers. Grange Hill was a favourite later on as an early teenager.

    Then my little brother (7 years younger than me) was into the Mr. Men, Dangermouse and Inspector Gadget.

    My kids were brought up with Teletubbies and awful Tweenies. The younger ones loved Balamory. At least the Tubbies were quite sweet to each other, the Tweenies were always whining and falling out!!

    I do think the Night Garden is adorable though.

  14. I htink we've forgotten old Spotty Dog haven't we? And Rhubarb and Custard. I do remember Daktari - with the cross-eyed lion.

  15. Do you know, I think it was 'Pugh, Pugh...' NSM? I once heard the creator interviewed on the radio about it! (I know, I'm a mine of useless information!)

    Thanks for reminding me about Thunderbirds, Troy. I had some Thunderbirds bath toys; oh, the battles we had. Bathtime has never been as much fun since!

    I think it might have been 'Pipkins' AM, I 'wasted' an entire hour after blogging yesterday going from one clip of seventies childrens TV to another, thanks to YouTube. You can find it there.

    I never liked the Tweenies, although Sally always watched it. The whiny tone of voice, especially of the bossy one, always got on my nerves.

    You're right, Expat, we have. Thanks for adding good ol' Spotty to the list!

  16. Oh I LOVE this subject!
    I find it hilarious that there is this whole movement to get children away from the TV screen because it's bad for them blah blah.
    But judging by the amount of recollections from commenters, they must have been watching lots of it themselves!
    Personally, I flew into a ranting rage if I could't get my fix of Take Heart or Duckula. Or Hong Kong Phooey.
    Even now my children love the 'older' shows over their contemporary counterparts.
    My two watch Hong Kong, Bagpuss and the Mr Men (originals only) and they are currently reshowing Dangermouse which they love.
    Today's stuff they really like is Charlie and Lola and Dora (whose voice seems to go right through me like nails on my inner blackboard).

    My other fav was The Banana Splits. Oh and The Double Deckers. And Inspector Gadget.
    Oh no, somebody stop me now . . .

  17. I remember all these and more...not bad given that our TV viewing was strictly rationed...also the really badly dubbed Swiss(?) programme that had a white horse...was that Belle and Sebastian? Interesting that Scooby Doo survived all generations...

  18. I do not remember having a favorite childrens' TV programme. Being a child is all rather a long time ago now, but I do remember 'Blue Peter' and 'Newsround' which feature in The Times list.

  19. Didn't Andy Pandy get banned because he was carrying on with Looby-Loo in the basket?

  20. You're right Dot, Pugh and Pugh were twins, being led astray by the grizzly old Barney McGrew.

    Slightly off topic, in a shadowy organisation that I am a member of, called BASTARDO, we all have codenames based on people called Brian. My codename is Cant.

  21. Found my way here via Rub2neurons... my husband is British, and turned 43 last month. When our first son was a year old, in 2006, he ordered every episode made of Mr Benn, then, in one DVD set, The Clangers, Ivor the Engine and Bagpuss. His mother sent us the full box set of all the Trumptonshire series - Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley. Jon and Jamie (and now son No 1, Nicky) watch them together and absolutely love them. We get CBeebies here in South Africa now, and my boys like Night Garden, and love Tractor Tom. We were also given a DVD of Brum, which got watched so much I'm suprised it still plays! I don't like Tweenies - the whining! I do, however, love Charlie and Lola, although the only interest my boys have taken it in is to use the tagline Never Ever Never when they don't want to do something...

  22. oh dear Charlie is cute. at first I thought he was the Charlie on youtube, the Charlie that bites the finger, so cute I love that. This is making me sad, because I wish my babies were still babies. I haven't heard of any of these shows, well teletubbies, but the others sound fun. I can't wait to read more about Charlie.

  23. That's quite enough, Tara. (Someone take her to a darkened room, please.)

    Check out Scalett's latest post, Nota Bene. It'll drive you crazy.

    I had a love-hate relationship with Blue Peter, CW. (Mainly love John Noakes/hate Peter Purves). But it was always twice-weekly required viewing (apart from the oh-so-worthy 'Special Expedition' which was hate/hate!)

    Not the version I used to watch, Scarlett. Or maybe I just didn't notice!

    Why was MacGrew the only one to have his Christian name called out, Eddie?

    You're welcome, Jeannie, however you got here. And thanks for reminding me of Ivor the Engine. This list could go on forever!

    He's changing almost daily, Lori Ann - growing up too quickly (like they all do) but with a real personality shining through.

  24. Hi Tim

    I do apologise for clogging up your comment box with this but would it be possible for you to drop me an email at your convenience?

    I'm working on something at the moment that I think may be of interest to you both as a parent and a blogger.



  25. As my Mum was obsessed with us children not being 'common' we were told to tell people that our favourite TV programme was Blue Peter, if we were asked. I did once write to Jim'll Fix It to ask if my sister could go on a date with Keith Chegwin too, no response. Happy Days!! We're permanently on Dave, the home of witty banter now. You wait...

  26. Growing up in Hong Kong, we didn't get much of the British stuff (although I remember loving Playschool when we were over for the holidays). Of the cartoons that we did get, I used to love Scooby Doo, Alvin and the Chipmunks and later on, Smurfs.

  27. Thaomas the tank engine for C. And me i loved Bill and Ben!

  28. Being a wild hippie child, I grew up without a TV. Yes I am serious.

  29. Ah, we love Ivor! Especially the long episode with Idris, "not one of your lumping great fairytale dragons, but a trim, heraldic Welsh dragon". We've always assumed Barney MacGrew gets his full name called out because he is old and crusty, not a callow youth like the others :-)

  30. Yey an opportunity to reminisce. It was most definitely The Clangers for me. Loved every minute of it as well as Bagpuss. By the way, have you seen Chuggington, that's our latest daily tipple. It's fab :-)

    P.S. Thanks for your lovely comments over at Tara's site today. What a great bunch of people you guys are.

  31. I go back quite a long way with Childrens tv. Back to the blurry snow covered,static chatter days of '58,62,and yipee colour '66. Muffin the Mule was the first crush I believe, for one and only son it was Trumpton [he had Trumpton wallpaper in his room] and something about a girl/mermaid? who lived underwater, can't remember the name of the programme. In 66 I think it was Andy Pandy and Bagpuss.

    By the way that baby is sooooooooo gorgeous. Sigh!

  32. I love the picture of the back of babys head. What a sweetie. He looks very intent on what he is watching.
    I loved Andy Pandy and Hectors house. I also loved tales of the riverbank-anyone remember that one?
    Teenager loved Postman Pat, Thomas the Tank Engine and Tots TV. He just missed TelleTubbies.
    I rather like Iggle Piggle


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