Following on from last week’s topic, it does seem like I watched a lot of television in the ’70s. The reality was I was more often than not outside playing and children’s television filled the gaps.
In the summer holidays we were entertained by American shows such as Flash Gordon, Sesame Street, The Monkees and The Banana Splits. There was a half-hearted British version of The Banana Splits called Animal Quackers with Mungo, Rory, Twang and Boots.
Why Don’t You was great. This show featured a group of kids making things and the tag line was ‘Why don’t you switch off your television set and go and do something less boring instead’, which we would have done if we were not watching Why Don’t You!
Cartoons were very popular, especially Hannah Barbera and Warner Brothers. My favourites were The Pink Panther, Hong Kong Phooey, Daffy Duck, Wacky Races and Road Runner. Others included, Top Cat, Bugs Bunny, Sylvester and Tweety Pie, Stop the Pigeon, Jamie and the Magic Torch, Chorlton and the Wheelies, Speedy Gonzalez, Tom and Jerry, The Hair Bear Bunch, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Captain Caveman, Bananaman, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Scooby Doo, The Laff-A- Lympics, and the Flintstones to name but a few.
For the more sports-minded, We Are The Champions pitted schools against each other in field games and swimming events. At the end Ron Pickering would shout ‘Away you go’ and all the kids would jump into the water. I shuddered as I hate water. Junior Kickstart was a children’s version of Kickstart, a motorbike assault course show which was quite entertaining but did make you wince when they fell off.
Other quiz shows included, Runaround, Screen Test and Cheggars Plays Pop.
‘It’s Friday, its five to five, it’s Crackerjack!’ Crackerjack was a sketch show for children which incorporated cabbage-related games and much silliness. When I watched it Peter Glaze was one of stars.
Other slapstick shows included Sooty and Sweep and Basil Brush. Basil Brush was revived about 10 years ago and I think I found it funnier than my kids did. Boom Boom!
After Blue Peter and before Crossroads there was a five-minute slot filled by a short cartoon. I remember cartoons such as Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, Henry’s Cat, Paddington, The Magic Roundabout, and Sinbad the Sailor. We usually had tea straight after and then I would rush back to see Dick Barton special agent. The theme tune was brilliant.
Finally, I come to my favourite programme of all time, Dr Who. Yes, I confess I am aDr Who geek and have been watching it for as long as I can remember. Jon Pertwee bowed out from the role when I was two and Tom Baker became the Doctor. For the next seven years he was ‘my’ Doctor and it was a big deal when he regenerated into Peter Davison. I still watched it avidly but it was not the same. Dr Who was shown early on a Saturday evening and I remember well one time we had to go to a great aunt’s wedding anniversary party, and I was mortified because I was watching part four of the story The Horror of Fang Rock. We did not have a video recorder at that time and there were no repeats so I was most aggrieved. And, yes, I still watch it today!