There are few things that are guaranteed to conjure up nostalgia quicker than children’s TV shows from the 70’s and from giant dogs eating sugar lumps to young boys with magic torches, just the mere suggestion of a Rainbow is enough to send some of us into a complete and utter Tiswas.
Granted, our childhood memories are always slightly clouded in rose tinted wonderment and even family holidays involving trailer tents, chemical toilets and eating on plastic plates, are remembered as ‘the best ever’.
However, in homage to the times when the world was so much simpler and we were so much more easily satisfied, here are five of my personal favorites.
1. Camberwick Green
This typical little English village was the home of some absolute legends in Kids’ TV Land including: Windy Miller, PC McGarry and Dr Mopp. With stop-motion puppets and Brian Cant doing the narration, Camberwick Green was essential viewing for the under nines and although it resembled a stop-motion Seinfeld, in that nothing really happened, other than characters appearing to catchy theme tunes, the sound of a musical box still sends me back to Trumptonshire.
Classic line: “Here is a box, a musical box, wound up and ready to play. But this box can hide a secret inside. Can you guess what is in it today?”
Even better than an acid trip!
This was basically a new series of Camberwick Green but with a new beginning and different characters however, it still held the imagination as tightly as Miss Lovelace the milliner held on to her three Pekingese dogs. From the chimes of the town hall clock to the roll call of the fire brigade, whenever it was time for Trumpton you’d find me glued to the box.
Back in the 70s, if you were a six year old child growing up in the south of England the closest that you’d probably got to Yorkshire was Chorlton and the Wheelies. Wherever he went, Chorlton the happiness dragon would innocently spread happiness as quickly as Fenella the Kettle Witch would try to do the opposite. From the speedy Wheelies, Zoomer and Jenny, to the witch’s assistants, Claptrap Von Spilldebeans and Reilly the Telescope, Chorlton and the Wheelies was just ace!
Classic line: “Hello little old lady.”
4. Captain Pugwash
Spectacular viewing for both parent and child, thanks to the urban myth of various double-entendres, Captain Pugwash was pretty much as good as lunchtime telly got. Originally filmed in the 50s using cardboard cut outs and live action sequences, the 70s version was shown in colour and animated. Every episode would be watched with bated breath as the pirates of the Black Pig embarked on their sailing holidays where adventure and treasure were hidden on every deserted island.
Classic line: “Stuttering starfish!”
5. Mr. Benn
Each episode of Mr Benn featured the protagonist leaving his house in Festive Road and heading for the local fancy-dress shop. Once inside the shop the shop-keeper appears, as if by magic, and suggests a suitable costume. After a quick change, that appeared to involve swapping hats and the rest of the outfit would follow, Mr Benn would walk through a secret door and embark on an adventure. After each adventure Mr B would leave with some kind of a memento that he would take back to his home in Festive Road. Awesome animation and always with a happy, moral ending.
Classic line: “As if by magic, the Shopkeeper appeared.”
I hope that this little jaunt down Children’s TV Memory Lane has helped to rekindle a few wistful fires from days gone by and if you’re ever stuck inside on a wet and windy day or getting ready for your family holidays then take a visit to You Tube and relive the good times.
Chris is stuck in a time warp of nostalgia that stems from family holidays in Norfolk and far too much time visiting charity shops.