The 1970’s saw the arrival of a colour TV into the home. I (Elaine) can still recall sitting down to watch my favourite programme. This got the team at underthechristmas tree to start talking about our favourite kids TV shows of the 70’s.
The eldest members of the team, John and I had first hand knowledge of them, with the others remembered them as repeats.
With so many great kids shows it was hard choosing between them, but after much discussion, here are our top ten.
Rainbow was a children’s puppet programme featuring music and stories, which featured puppets Zippy,who had a zip for a mouth and when he got too loud, which he often did, it was zipped up to keep him quiet, George, a shy pink hippo and Bungle, a furry brown bear, who all lived in the Rainbow House with Geoffrey who attempts to calm them down and keep the peace.
The Magic Roundabout
With main characters Dougal,who was a bit grumpy sensible Florence and Zebedee who “boinged” around and at the end of the show said “Time for Bed!”
Originally from France,the Magic Roundabout, although designed for children, acquired cult status from adults.
I’m pretty sure many of you will remember Tiswas, the wacky Saturday morning show that rivalled Noel Edmunds Multicoloured Swap Shop and headed by Chris Tarrant, but can you remember what TISWAS stood for? A favourite feature was ‘The Cage’ where parents were often held and soaked with bucket of water and a regular visit by the ‘Phantom Flan Flinger’ who threw flans around the studio and into the audience.
For those who can’t recall – TISWAS was an abreviation for ‘Today is Saturday Watch and Smile’.
“It’s Friday, it’s five to five. . . It’s Crackerjack!” was the introduction to one of the UK’s most popular TV shows. Hosted by Michael Aspel, the programme included games for teams of children, a comedy act and the one we all waited for ‘Double or Drop’ where each contestant was given a prize to hold when they answered a question correctly or a cabbage if they got it wrong. If they got a third cabbage or dropped any of their prizes – they were out!
During the late 70’s a talent-contest called “Crackerjack Young Entertainer of The Year” was added and featured children from around the UK who had successfully passed audition stages, to get their shot at stardom on the small screen.
The show, which was recorded featuring a live audience, was hosted by Basil Brush (a puppet) who often spoke in a ‘posh’ accent and claimed his ‘brush’ was his most prized possession. Best know for his catchphrase “Ha Ha Ha! Boom! Boom!”, when he found something that Mr Derek said funny. The show always ended with ‘Storytime’ where Mr Derek would read aloud from a story book about Basils fictitious relatives such as Basil de Farmer the knight in shining armour (a Robin Hood spoof). The story always ended wiith a cliff hanger to be continued the following week. As the credits rolled, Basil and Mr Derek would finish with a song about the story.
Running from 1978 to 2008 this was one of the longest-running programmes on British television. The show followed the lives of students from the fictional North London comprehensive school Grange Hill. Todd Carty became a heart-throb as Tucker Jenkins and “He’s a nut job”,”Flippin’ Eck Tucker!” became national catchphrases. So popular was Grange Hill that the BBC received sackoads of letter from young people desperate to appear in Grange Hill
Who didn’t start singing the Wombles of Wimbledon as soon as they saw the name? The Wombles, who live in Wimbledon Common, are extremely tidy and honest and keep the common clean. They collect things that humans leave behind them and take it back to their burrow for recycling. Most well know Wombles are: Great Uncle Bulgaria – the oldest and wisest of the Wimbledon Wombles and their leader, Orinoco – a shirker who loved sleep and food and Madame Cholet a prim and proper female Womble with a very noticeable French accent.
The cute little brown bear who arrived at Paddington station from Peru, with a label saying ‘Please look after this bear. Thank you’ attached to his duffle coat. Discovered in Paddington Station, London by the (human) Brown family who adopted him, Paddington’s favourite meal is a marmalade sandwich. although written for children Paddington Bear became a cult figure for the twenty somethings who religiously watched each episode.
Big Bird and her many Jim Henson puppets first hit UK screens back in 1971 and after much opposition it carried on entertaining kids and adults alike throughout the seventies.
Two of the most entertaining characters from Sesame Street were Statler and Waldorf, two disagreeable old men who heckled members of the cast from their balcony seats.
Multi-Coloured Swap Shop
Better known as Swap Shop it was hosted by top radio DJ Noel Edmunds. Broadcast on a Saturday morning, the show went out live and featured Delia Smith cooking and Keith Chegwin who travelled around the country hosting the really popular Swaporama section where kids could swap unwanted toys. Swap Shop was a huge success and attracted not just kids but students and adults too.
As well as our top ten above, the seventies saw the arrival of loads new TV shows, many coming over from America.
Favourites included Nightmare, Jamie and his Magic Torch, Willow the Wisp, Hong Kong Phooey, Mr Benn, Bagpuss, Take Hart, Banana Splits, How, Captain Pugwash, Rentaghost, Crystal Tips and Alistair, Roobarb and Custard, Runaround, and Wacky Races to name just a few.
Some of these television shows on ITV and the BBC even had Christmas day specials.
Do you have a favourite children’s TV show of the seventies? Perhaps one that your children watch today?
Get in touch below and tell us about your favourites over the 1970s in our ByGone Christmases series.