Saturday, 10 September 2016

When kids TV was cool part 1

I’m glad I’m not a kid today, it’s no fun. I mean where’s the fun in having endless TV channels filled with strange and wondrous delights such as Peppa Pig and In The Night Garden? A celebrity hasn’t arrived in this world until they’ve voiced a brightly coloured character on CBeebies and Nick Jnr.  These days, children can switch on the TV at any time of the day and find something to entertain them.  However I come from the generation that knew quality entertainment.

When I was a child, we had two channels only to choose from, BBC1 or ITV. Children's TV was only on in the week from around 3.30 until 5pm and you had to decide which channel you wanted to watch.  There was no such thing as playback TV or plus one channels.  You had to plan those precious minutes right down to the last second and with no remote control, you were dashing over to change the channel regularly. Weekends meant Saturday morning TV such as Going Live (with Philip Schofield) or SMTV (with Ant and Dec) which meant about three wonderful hours of cartoons, pop music and mayhem.

Allow me to share with you some of the classic TV shows I remember from my younger days.  

My all time favourite has to be Chorlton and the Wheelies.  This zany show started with a happiness dragon arriving in Wheelie World.  He was christened Chorlton by the Wheelies because his egg he hatched from had ‘Made in Chorlton-cum-Hardy’ (a town near Manchester) written in it.  His happiness took over Wheely World and freed all the inhabitants, round little orbs on wheels called the Wheelies, from a wicked Welsh witch called Fenella who had plunged Wheelie World into an endless depression.  The rest of the series revolved around Fenella’s plans to get rid of Chorlton in order to regain her control of the Wheelies.   The beauty of this madness is Chorlton doesn’t dislike Fenella and her obnoxious ways, he just finds her amusing and wants to be her friend.  Chorlton is incapable of feeling miserable or bearing anyone ill will so he just adores Fenella, referring to her as ‘little old lady’.  As  well as Chorlton and Fenella, there are other zany characters such as the Wheelies consisting of King Otto and Queen Doris, the Minister of Wheely World and youngsters Zoomer and Jenny.  There’s also Fenella’s son Clifford who is so large you can only ever see his foot, and Fenella’s henchmen the Spikers, the Toadies (toadstools), her telescope Riley who she uses to spy on the Wheelies and Chorlton, and her evil spell book Claptrap von Spillderbeans.  However I think my favourite part of this show was the theme tune and I can still remember every word verbatim.

Another one of my favourites and one I’m watching at the moment is Danger Mouse.  I’m not talking about the new reboot with Alexander Armstrong voicing the White Wonder, I’m talking about the original 1981 cartoon featuring the vocal talents of David Jason as the mouse himself and Terry Scott as his faithful assistant Penfold, third runner up in the Penfold Lookalike contest.  Based loosely on James Bond, Danger Mouse is the world’s greatest superhero saving the world from villains such as Doctor Augustus P Crumhorn, Count Duckula (making his TV debut), sneaky serpent Mac the Fork and his dimwitted brother Mac the Spoon, and of course the most famous nemesis Baron Silas Greenback and his henchman Stiletto and his pet caterpillar Nero.  Each episode featured DM saving the world yet again from another dastardly villainous plot with Penfold being dragged along whimpering and complaining.  There are certain elements that recur regularly in each episode.  The narrator complaining (also voiced by David Jason), the alarm ringing to signify an important message from Colonel K giving DM his mission for the episode. Penfold usually getting something wrong and being told “Penfold, shush!”  by DM and of course Penfold's own famous catchphrase “Oh crumbs, oh crikey, oh carrots!”

So begins my wander down memory lane into nostalgia and the delights of my childhood.  I have many more wonderful shows that hold lovely memories for me which I will talk about in my next post in this small series.

1 comment:

  1. Chorlton sounds absolutely wacky I love it. I want to watch Danger Mouse, next time we're together you must introduce me to him!

    When I was growing up the big shows for me were Sesame Street, Mr. Dress-Up, Polka Dot Door, Book Mice, Today's Special, Care Bears, and an ever revolving string of Disney cartoons (Duck Tales, Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers, and Gummi Bears among others)

    I'm excited for part 2!