If you could bring back any classic kids' TV shows that are not on any more, what would you choose?
This was the question we put to our social media friends recently, and it generated a load of different responses.
Based on those, and some of my own personal favourites, I’ve put together this list of 13 top kids’ TV programmes of yesteryear which could, nay should, be revived for today’s generation of young viewers to enjoy.
When compiling the list I decided not to include shows which have already been brought back at some point, however dodgy the comebacks were in some cases. This is why there is no Wombles, Emu, Banana Splits or Roobarb here.
Ooh, I could crush a grape. Friday teatimes were already brilliant because they came at the end of the school week but they were made even better by Crackerjack. This often chaotic show was a mix of comedy, magic, music and games. It was perfect start-of-the-weekend entertainment.
These creatures looked like furry potatoes with arms and legs. There were only 13 episodes ever made but because young minds are impressionable it felt like there must have be many more than that as the show broadcast throughout the late 70s and into the 80s. There is talk of a new series being made but will the new version please Flumps fans if it happens?
This was a bonkers sitcom for kids about a group of spirits for hire. It ran for nine series in the 70s and 80s, featuring characters such as the jester Timothy Claypole and the hay fever-suffering Nadia Popov. It was a weird show, even back then, but it had warmth. It looks possible it could be resurrected in movie form as a vehicle for Ben Stiller. Hmm.
Mr Benn was a suit and bowler hat-wearing character who would visit a fancy dress shop to try on different outfits. He would then leave through a door in the changing room for an adventure themed around the costume he was wearing at the time. It was one of those shows that seemed perfectly innocent when watching it as a child in the 80s but now looking back I wonder if the characters were under the influence of something other than just magic. As with The Flumps there were only a small number of episodes made, 14 in this case, but it felt like many more.
In some ways gameshow Fun House was a spiritual successor to Crackerjack. Fronted by mullet-haired Pat Sharp, it usually aired on Fridays and provided that same sort of madcap entertainment pumped-up kids craved ahead of the weekend. The highlights for me were always the kart grand prix and the twin cheerleaders.
If any kids’ TV show deserves to be called a classic it’s got to be Rainbow. I remember Geoffrey, Zippy, Bungle, George, Rod, Jane and Freddy very fondly. I’m sure the lives of children today would be enriched by its gentle moral and educational messages.
Part of the TV schedule at the around the same time as Superted, but miles better in my opinion, Bananaman was an 80s cartoon about a boy who transformed into a superhero when he ate a banana.
Even more of an iconic cartoon shown, originally mostly in the 80s, was Danger Mouse. The titular superhero / secret agent was voiced by David Jason, with his sidekick Penfold played by Terry Scott. It was reported last year a reboot might be in the offing but it would have to go some to recapture the appeal of the original series which millions of people tuned in to watch.
This Noel Edmonds-fronted show was the pioneer of live kids’ TV on Saturday mornings and was how children up and down the country started their weekends for six years in the 70s and 80s. It’s mix of music, celebrity interviews, phone-ins and cartoons pawned numerous other Saturday morning shows down the years such as Live & Kicking and SM:TV, although there’s nothing quite like it still running today which is a great shame.
Junior Kick Start
This motorbike trials competition was a mainstay of school holiday TV schedules for years. Young kids still ride bikes so this obstacle challenge could easily be brought back – and maybe we’d get another hilarious moment like the contestant who fell into a ditch quickly followed by St John Ambulance volunteers who were attempting to rescue him.
Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds
Boasting one of the most memorable theme songs in the history of kids’ TV, this cartoon series was based around the classic Alexandre Dumas story of d'Artagnan and The Three Musketeers. Sometimes a little sinister, sometimes very sweet, other times exciting – this was a great watch during the two or so hours of children’s TV that were served up on weekdays in the 80s. I reckon kids would still enjoy it now.
Everything Tony Hart did was magical but as much as I enjoyed the wonderful art lessons during his various programmes, my favourite part was always Morph. I loved that little Plasticine character and his naughty sidekick Chas. While Hart is sadly no longer here, Aardman Animations’ stop-frame creatures fortunately are - and Morph could be making a comeback in new short episodes later this year.
The same thing about everything he did being magical applies in equal measure to Johnny Morris. His performances articulating what animals might say if they had human voices were often comedy gold, but his Animal Magic show was also very educational. Morris is again sadly no longer with us, but his gentle humorous style for teaching kids about wildlife could still be revived.
Which of these classic TV shows would you most like to see come back and get given a reboot? What other children’s shows do you remember fondly and would like to see on screens again? Add your comments below.