A Nostalgic Plunge Into Childrens Telly

I’ve never grown out of the telly shows from my youth. And there’s nothing I can do about it because it’s genetic. When my Mother visited Disney World a few years ago, she exclaimed that she didn’t want to leave. Frankly, I’m surprised they let her out! On a recent visit to HMV hunting them on DVD, I was horrified to discover that children’s shows from my era are now classified as vintage.  Still, adore them I do. 

Broadcast as they were just before the news at 6pm, I remember these gems as the last enchanted vestige of freedom before bed time. Watching with me at home, my two teenage uncles would be in inexplicable fits of hysterical laughter. Now as an adult of course, I can understand why.   

My absolute favourite was The Magic Roundabout. There was Dougal the neurotic Skye Terrier, racing from dilemma to crisis and back with only his fag hag friend Florence (in the Spice Girls shoes) to console him by way of something on a cube of sugar. And Dylan the rabbit, constantly stoned sitting under a tree strumming his guitar. Naive little snail Brian, trying to keep up with all the latest gossip. And of course old Zebedee trying to get everyone into bed. With the trippiest theme tune ever, The Magic Roundabout (Le Menage Enchante) was originally French… but then so was nineteenth century Old Compton Street! 

Another favourite was the man in and out of the closet more times than Elton John. I’m talking of course about Mr Benn.  nd like Elton John, every time he came out he was wearing a different costume. I can’t say whether his creator David McKee is any relation to Cher’s frock designer Bob Mackie. But I can tell you that in a recent interview, McKee said that Mr Benn’s first name was William. But we can’t think of him as Bill Ben, because that would confuse us with Bill and Ben with the Weed in the middle (I’m talking about The Flower Pot Men, not the spit roast scene from that leather S&M movie.) I prefer to think of him as Willy. 

So every time Big Ben strikes six (was that the same porn film?) and I remember sitting in front of the telly watching these shows, I’m reminded of my long lost innocence and naivety. Perhaps that’s why I cherish them so much.