In the 1980s, long before the invention of modern technology, special effects and computer graphics, our little imaginations were fuelled by lots of plastercine, kitchen utensils, and black velvet back-drops with stick-on, glow in the dark stars that created the illusion of space. Back in the good old days. Here’s my top 10 countdown…
At no. 10 – Bric-a-Brac
Who remembers the eccentric bloke in a cravat, flap cap and glasses and the sound of the shop door bell? This crazy old man entertained me daily with crap from his second-hand shop – he centered each episode around a letter of the alphabet and he’d rummage around trying to find more crap that began with the same letter.
Watch it here: https://youtu.be/crrkyb4vfTs
No. 9 – Chocablock
Now this is one of those 1980s programmes that no one ever remembers until they see a picture of that great big yellow machine that was, back in 1984, at the forefront of modern technology – probably created by Microsoft’s Bill Gates especially for this big budget kids programme. Choca-block-chocka-block- chocka-block- chocka-block. In each episode the presenters would drive through the studio in a hard hat travelling at 3pmh on a bright yellow MDF truck before spinning a spinny thing looking for items that rhymed. Like cat… and hat.
Watch it here: https://youtu.be/bEomsYIhMNg
No. 8 – Super Ted
“This is a story, about an ordinary Teddy Bear – when he was made they found something wrong with him, and threw him away like a piece of rubbish. Then, from out of space, a spotty man brought him to life with his cosmic dust. He took him to a special cloud, where Mother Nature give him magic powers…” The rest is history as they say. I named my 6 year old after Super Ted.
Watch it here: https://youtu.be/6Cv6e84pjK4
No. 7 – Trapdoor
“Don’t you open that TRAPDOOOOOOOOR…. because there’s something down there!” Who could forget big blue Berk, a creature made from a lot of blue plastersine with a strong west-country accent. And of course the rather posh and somewhat moody Skull. And lots of other creatures made out of plastersine – special effects at their most advanced in 1984.
Watch it here: https://youtu.be/TonbD0TWGzU
No. 6 – Button Moon
“We’re off to Button Mooooon, follow Mr Spoooon…” Oh who didn’t think the moon was made of a bit yellow button in the early 1980s? Get off my blog if you didn’t! Mr Spoon travelled to button moon in his homemade space rocket in every episode. It was one hell of a speedy machine – it made it to the moon and back in 10 minutes every time! And not forgetting the rest of the crew who were all made out of kitchen utensils – pure genius.
Watch it here: https://youtu.be/doGRcc9yJ9A
5. Johnny Briggs
Proper northern stuff. A kid who lived in a terrace house in the North with his pet dog, Razzle, obnoxious sister “Are Rita” and bully of a big brother, “Are Albert”. “Are Mavis” popped round a lot, mum (Ah Ma) was always cooking chips in a blue overall and dad spent a lot of his time behind the newspaper in the armchair. A great portrayal of an aspirational northern-lifestyle back in the 1980s. This programme put the gingham table cloth on the map. And not forgetting those horrid twins Giny and Josie.
Watch it here: https://youtu.be/CjwVxUWER8g
No. 4 – Grange Hill
I always felt a bit of a rebel watching Grange Hill. At an age when most of the TV I consumed was made up of plastercine monsters, green witches, pink hyppos and superheros who ate bananas to save the world, Grange Hill was proper grown up stuff and secondary school drama at its best. Tegs and Robbie where my crushes. John Alford actually tried to crack onto me in a bar in Magaluf in 1998 – after his drug-fuelled mental breakdown in the mid-90s. He wasn’t quite so cute beyond the age 21.
Watch it here: https://youtu.be/5-ATrUuBHRs
No. 3 – Emu & The Pink Windmill
Affectionately known as Grotbags in our house because of the grotty green, kid-hating witch, Emu was deffo one of my all-time faves. Unfortunately, one star of the show fell off a roof not long back and killed himself and no one continued his legacy of sticking their arm up an Emu’s arse so it died a bit of a death. There was lots of pink and a rather odd looking crocodile.
Watch it here: https://youtu.be/mRy97GjDxzY
No. 2 – Worzel Gommage
“Bye eck – I’ll tickle me chin with a stick of Rhubarb…” A scarecrow with interchangeable heads made from turnips, manglewurzel and swede, each of which give him some kind of skill and he spent a lot of his time getting John and Susan into trouble. Every episode of Worzel brought with it the hope that one day, Aunt Sally might give in to grubby scarecrow’s, advances and they would fall madly in love and live happily ever after in a world filled with cream cakes. I was always left longing for a cream-filled chocolate éclair or three.
Watch it here: https://youtu.be/H6SMA35U_2c
No.1 – Rainbow
My all time favourite 1980’s TV show! In a world full of Madonna’s I wanted to be a Jane.
“Up above the streets and houses, rainbow climbing high!”. The stars of the show were a rather camp bear call Bungle, a pink hypo with incredible eyelashes called George, and zippy – a trappy puppet with a zip for a mouth and an overly large head – all of whom shared a bed and the odd bath, which looking back, was rather odd. They were joined by Jeffrey and his amazing technicolour jumpers, and the famous singing trio – Rod, Jane (with her amazeballs mullet) and Freddy. A singing, dancing and storytelling extravaganza and explosion of fancy dress and colours – the dogs bollocks it really was.
Watch it here: https://youtu.be/z-h3GF64aAI
Have I missed a programme out that should have made this list? What was your fave 1980s TV programme? Comment below folks.