Sunday, 26 September 2010

Retro Kids TV!

I've been meaning to do this for a while - a reel of my favourite kids TV programmes from when I was younger. There's the classics that everybody shares a fond nostalgia for (Thundercats, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, etc) but I want to include the forgotten jems (ho ho) that people are clueless to, or have left at the back of a draw in their brain somewhere - there's nothing lovelier than the feeling of excited reclaimed memories dawning upon you! I was a bit of a tomboy in my youth, so as well as a heady dose of rainbows and ribbons, you'll also find the odd dragon and sword swinging hero amongst my eclectic collection of retro wonders...


I loved this show! You can take your Carebears and My Little Pony - this was far, far superior! There was a very exciting moment when we found a few of the toys at a Car Boot Sale...hee. 'Bitsy' was my favourite character - she had beautiful hair and was very shy. And she rode on a lion!

She-ra: Princess of Power  

Where there was He-Man (which never really grabbed me, tbh) there was She-ra! Not his secret girlfriend as I had remembered but his twin sister, apparently! That would have been a bit wrong... anyhow, we found a VHS of She-ra at a school fete, and whilst she was never a firm fixture in the video player, she made her mark.

Gummi Bears  
Another programme that we used to watch lots of, but I can't remember too much of it now! Must have got lost in those dozy Saturday mornings.

Poddington Peas  
Probably a classic for everybody in the known universe, but I had to put this one down! The Poddington Peas was one of those weird programmes where I would catch the odd episode here and there and it would ALWAYS be the same one - in this case it was the one where one of the chef peas goes to work in the evil castle's kitchen. I don't think I actually saw many others!

This was a lovely little cartoon obviously designed to make spiders look more cute. We had the video with every episode for this and it was definitely watched a fair few times.

Raggy Dolls
Very sorry - this will be in your head all day now! I'd completely forgotten all about this one until the man mentioned it to be a bit ago - definitely one of those "it's all coming back to me now!" moments. And realising the premise for this in my older age is soooo sad!

I remember this more because of the books (I think the descriptions worked better on paper) but did used to watch this as well - I believe it was one of those lunchtime programmes that maybe you were lucky enough to catch if you were having a sickie from school!

Stoppit and Tidyup
Blimey, I never realised what this programme was really all about until re-watching the opening sequence just now! No wonder my parents always made us watch it...

Sharky and George
Effortlessly cool under the sea mafia adventures! This used to be on at a ridiculous time on a Saturday morning on Channel 4 (the edgy channel!), so I didn't watch it too many times, but the theme tune lodges right into your head.

Noah and Nelly
There was always something a bit morose, almost depressing about this programme - I'm not sure why! Perhaps it was the lack of energy - the theme tune feels very languid and it was constantly raining and the characters were bored... This was another show where we had a video of every single episode - and putting aside its sombre notes we did watch it a lot! I also think this is the most obscure of my choices, so kudos if you're reading this and know what I'm on about!

Johnson & Friends
Speaking of depressing programmes, this used to be on with Ivor The Engine on a lunchtime - I HATED IVOR THE ENGINE! *ahem* Anyway, this was a very early version of Toy Story... I always remember the green hot water bottle with the long face!

This was another huge hit in my house - I can't even count how many series of Pingu we had on video, let alone how many times we watched them! There are loads of episodes I could probably recite by memory if you put them in front of me! Loved all the cute adventures of Pingu, especially when they would build things out of 'snow bricks'.

Through The Dragon's Eye
YES! It was always the best day at school when you had an afternoon of watching Through The Dragon's Eye! Walking through a mural wall into a fantasy land, and having to write down all the clues and work them out when your teacher paused the video... it's a crime only 6 episodes were made!

Chip'n'Dale Rescue Rangers  
This programme was amazing for its 80s theme tune anthem alone! Brilliant to sing along to, this brings back all sorts of memories from Saturday morning TV. And speaking of iconic theme tunes...

The Raccoons  
Now here's my karaoke song of choice! I was slightly obsessed with this theme tune when I was little... and much to my amazement, on finding it just now, I have realised it was the end credits song! Why on earth didn't they have it as the opening instead of tacking it on at the finish when people might turn off and MISS IT?! Barmy. Let's grab a hairbrush! "When darkness falls..."

The Littlest Hobo
Raggy Dolls song out of your head and replace it with this one! This used to be on very early in the mornings as well, and as it featured a REAL dog and REAL people it was a bit boring but the theme song was IMMENSE!

Jem & The Holograms
This was HUGE in my house - I'm not even sure if I can quantify it here! I must have watched the movie about 30 times, and know most of the songs by heart! Kimber was always my favourite one because she had flaming red hair, and the others were boring! But this is a young girl's dream show: who wouldn't want to have a pair of earrings that made you into a fabulous popstar and conjured up a wardrobe of clothes for you?!

Maxie's World
  This was the other really girly TV show I used to watch when I was younger - high school Maxie and her own TV show, where all of her friends are the producers and cameramen! Ha! I was so obsessed with one of the episodes where they have a careers quiz to determine what they're going to be when they're older, I made my own and took it to school! Oh the days... right, I better man up now hadn't I?

Dino Riders
Seee - a boys cartoon! I liked them to, y'know! This is quite an oddball choice as well, one many may not have heard of as we discovered it through a video and not proper TV. I think we only had the same 2 episodes we would watch over and over again as well, but it was good storytelling!

(What a riff!) Brilliant morning TV cartoon. I've never been interested in the films, but the TV series was great. This reminds me of a few other bands of heroes with super powers...

Captain Planet
Well this was the most awful, cheesiest cartoon looking back at it now! The power of heart - who wants that?! Totally short changed. But one of the first kids TV programmes that I can remember having a heavy environmental message woven in.

The ULTIMATE in my house when I was actually, still today - this is the cartoon that made life worth living! It wasn't just a favourite for one child, it was a favourite for all, with each of us having favourite episodes and favourite characters. I as you might have guessed (along with every other girl on the planet!) was obsessed with Cheetara and wanting to have her magic cane. Always had a soft spot for Vultureman as well (and his super power potion). 'The Trials' were my favourite adventures - just amazing! And Castle Plun-darr remains for me the best enemy stronghold of all time. We recorded every possible episode we could off the television and would watch them again and again and again - they probably don't even work now! Good thing there's the DVD box set, eh? A cartoon I could easily watch hours of this very second - I hold it very dear to my heart!

The Legend of Zelda
Another brilliant fantasy romp that we loved to watch! My favourite episode from programmes like these are where they have to venture into the baddy's lair/castle/kingdom and have to go through all the obstacles to get to the final fight - Zelda had a fabulous execution of this involving lots of lava and stepping stones. It was ace! Also loved the way they played on the love-hate relationship between Link and Zelda, like a bad romantic comedy. "Well, excuuuuuuuuuse meeeeee, Princess!"

Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles
This is the other seminal programme in my upbringing - Turtles! We also used to tape every episode we came across on the television and watch them over and over again (usually they went back to back with Thundercats). One of those theme tunes as well that you don't realise how RIDICULOUS it is at the time when you're singing along to it as a five year old - "Splinter taught them to be fighting teens... he's a radical rat!" Danatello was always my favourite one because he was clever and purple. Such nostalgia from recalling this, but not sure I could watch it now - it doesn't have the longevity as some of my other faves.

Mighty Max
This (and the one to follow) took over from Thundercats and Turtles as the programme that ruled our youth. A strange choice as well - perhaps it was enhanced by all the toys that came out at the same time (we had ALL the toys). But I've watched bits of these back recently and they're actually exceptionally good - very sharp for a show aimed at a young audience, and always inventive and sometimes scary adventures for each eppy. And overlooked I feel as well: if there's one show you take from this little trip down memory lane, go check out Mighty Max!

Pirates of Dark Water
A classic, an absolute classic! I used to love coming home from school and it being Pirates of Dark Water day, whatever day that was. The dark water premise was amazing - there was this episode that will always stick with me of when Wren has to go down into the dark water to confront the dark dweller who has kidnapped Tula. The way he takes her facade to trick Wren into staying down there was bloody creepy! But this show always fills me with great angst as we never got an ending - it was cancelled before we could find out whether he found all the treasures! Arghhh why do US TV Networks do this to us, and at such a tender age?!

Grotbags used to be on on a Wednesday afternoon after Rupert The Bear. I know this exactly because every Wednesday after school we would go to my nana's house, and for some reason we used to tape the programmes on CITV on that day! So we have lots of episodes of Grotbags on video - but found it a bit difficult to find any videos on the internet now. She was awesome, though!

Ahhh Knightmare - an absolute legend of a programme that I'm sure is on the favourites list of many in my generation. It was always a great day when it was a Knightmare day after school - and you just wanted it to go on and on as well, it was so frustrating when it ended halfway through a riddle, or just as they'd stepped into an interesting looking room! One of the most imaginative and captivating shows of my youth - I'm sure this was the seedling in my love for all things fantasy. Why it's never been remade is beyond me. Oh, and don't you wanna bet sidestep left guy was kicked within an inch of his life when they left the studio?

Still going I believe! I have an affinity with the Chuckle brothers as they went to the same Uni campus as moi, along with Richard O'Brien and The League of Gentlemen! Anyway... this was another programme I don't remember adoring as such but ended up being videotaped an awful lot. There was one episode where they had to show a guest around an old house and pretend it had all these secret passageways and hidden doors... I bloody loved it, it has stayed with me all this time!

Terror Towers
This was such a fun show, and very sad to find there's barely any footage of it anywhere. It had some really endearing characters and some great spooky music. One of the better game shows on CITV.

Incredible Games
This show was the bane of my life for many years! The number of people I've tried to describe this to and received blank stares back... "the one where they go up in the lift and there's a big chess board where they play the black knight, and there's a big swimming pool of alphabet soup, and the one where they fix the water pipes, and then they go up to the attic at the top and fit shapes!" Thank God for the internet, I finally found it! And I never would have remembered it was called Incredible Games! I absolutely loved this programme growing up - I genuinely bought into the whole randomness of the floors. And I keep remembering little tidbits as well that makes me smile - like when you lose a challenge you're banished to the laundry room!

Are You Afraid Of The Dark?
Another classic! The above is the episode I most remember from the series. I distinctly remember it not being shown as much as I wanted it to - it was the first proper supernatural programme for kids that was actually scary and made you think twice about things! They had some really great stories too that are really watchable still today.

The Demon Headmaster
Strangely, we got really into this programme as a family when I was younger! I don't know why - it did feel sort of 'revoluntionary' of the time - it was one of those older CBBC shows that was on after Newsround, and after so much Grange Hill and Byker Grove this offered something very different. I think Series 2 was my favourite with the addictive hypnotic computer game, and the competition to complete it in the big tower. And as I recall, Series 3 was a big load of codswallop. Interesting to note the girl who played Dinah Glass never amounted to anything...

That's my wandering down memory lane done. A few picks from other peeps...



Bernard's Watch

The Riddlers

Bucky O'Hare

The Legend of Prince Valiant

Victor and Hugo

There are loads of others I could mention: Bananaman, Super Ted, Danger Mouse, Bodger and Badger, The Animals of Farthing Wood, The Family Ness, Playdays... but then this post would go on forever! If there's anything else you'd like to remind everybody about, get it in the comments section!

God - kids TV today is rubbish, isn't it?

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