Classic Children's TV Shows From A Bygone Eraby mtranson | created - 04 Dec 2011 | updated - 04 Dec 2011 | Public
A list that is guaranteed to make you feel old. Programmes listed mostly appeared sometime after TV started realising that children watched TV too and sometime before the toy companies started realising that children watched TV too. You just can't get quality like this anymore.
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1. Bagpuss (1974)
15 min | Animation, Comedy, Family
Bagpuss and his friends are toys in a turn of the century shop for 'found things'. When young Emily brings them a new object, the toys come to life to work out what the strange new thing ... See full summary »
Voted as the best BBC Kids programme of all time. Starred a pink cloth cat. Starred Gabriel the banjo wielding Toad, Madeleine the rag-doll, a woodpecker called Professor Yaffle who was a talking book-end and lots of mice who lived in the marvellous, mechanical, mouse-organ. The mice were normally on acid; hell-bent on heaving everything. Strange how the bigger characters never moved anything! Each episode started with Emily, the very young shop owner, bringing a sad *beep* item for Bagpuss to look at.
2. Button Moon (1980– )
11 min | Family
Mr Spoon and his family live on Junk Planet. He travels in his baked bean tin spaceship across blanket sky to Button Moon. There he meets many strange characters and watches stories unfold on other planets using his telescope.
Star: Robin Parkinson
Mr and Mrs Spoon, Eggbert and the spoon's daughter, Tina T-Spoon. It's amazing how much he could see through the telescope back to Earth.
3. Captain Pugwash (1957–1966)
5 min | Animation, Family
The adventures of Captain Pugwash and his crew aboard the pirate ship - the Black Pig.
Starred Roger the Cabin Boy, Master Bates and Seamen Staines. Excellent mushroom induced fun!
4. Danger Mouse (1981–1992)
TV-Y | 25 min | Animation, Comedy, Family
Danger Mouse, the greatest secret agent in the world, must follow Colonel K's orders (and try not to break Professor Squawkencluck's inventions) to foil Baron Greenback's and his henchman Stiletto's plans.
Colonel K would give Danger Mouse and Penfold (now confirmed as being a mole), who said "Ooh Crickey" a lot, a mission against the evil Barren Greenback - an asthmatic frog with heavy shopping. DM lived in a pillar box and had a cool yellow car that could turn into a plane. Class.
5. Animal Kwackers (1975– )
20 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Four garishly-coloured, music-loving animals - Rory the lion, Bongo the dog, Boots the tiger and Twang the monkey - visit Planet Earth in their flying saucer from the mysterious planet of '... See full summary »
Star: Gerry Cowan
The Kwackers were Bongo, Rory, Twang and Boots. Utter madness.
6. Bananaman (1983–1986)
5 min | Animation, Comedy, Family
Stupid, but well-meaning and super-strong super-hero, Bananaman gets his strength from eating bananas. Before he eats a banana, Bananaman is a young boy called Eric who is keen to keep his ... See full summary »
There once was an ordinary young boy called Eric but when Eric bit into a banana, an amazing transformation occurred. Eric is Bananaman! Cool eh!
7. The Banana Splits Adventure Hour (1968–1970)
TV-G | 60 min | Adventure, Animation, Family
A pop group consisting of four anthropomorphic animals host a variety of cartoons, songs, and skits.
Bingo, Fleegle, Drooper and Snorky. One of the most memorable theme tunes and a genuinly funny programme. I always enjoyed the car chase at the end with someone always falling for the "My cars broken down" joke.
8. The Adventure Game (1980– )
Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Three people are stranded on a planet on the far side of the galaxy. In order to return to earth they must first locate a crystal to power their spacecraft. But (and this is where the whole... See full summary »
Bizarre celebrity quiz programme on BBC2. Four travellers would go around a maze of puzzles trying to win green cheese rolls before ending up at "The Vortex" a grid where you had to get from one end to the other without being captured by an invisible beam. Sheer bliss.
9. Battle of the Planets (1978–1985)
TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Action, Adventure
A five-member superhero team called G-Force fights to defend Earth and its space colonies from the threat of the planet Spectra.
Possibly the greatest show ever, Stirring theme tune, great stories, loathsome enemies. Ah yesterday!
7 Zark 7 - Looked after the undersea base 1 Rover 1 - Gave 7 Zark 7 a hand. Chief Anderson - Their boss Mark - Flew a plane. Jason - Drove a racing car. Tiny - Flew the Phoenix and was fat (that's why his name was Tiny!) Princess - Rode a motorbike. Keyop - Drove a egg-shaped car thing and spoke funny.
The loathsome enemy was Zoltar (who reported to "The Emperor" which was a bird face on a computer screen)
10. Camberwick Green (1966– )
15 min | Animation, Family
Iconic British children's animated series set in the fictional, picturesque village of the title. Each episode opens with a character emerging from a music box and they will be the central character of the forthcoming story.
Star: Brian Cant
Camberwick green was the posh bit of Trumptonshire. Old fashioned fun.
11. Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels (1977–1980)
TV-G | Animation, Comedy, Family
The adventures of a superhero caveman and a trio of female amateur detectives.
The world's first super hero. Looking like a rather crap wookie, whenever anything was needed, Cavey always found it amongst his body hair, including, on odd occasions, rather large dinosaurs. Whenever his hair was shaved (for whatever reason) he'd always be wearing a pair of red-spotted boxer shorts. "Unga Munga. Bad time for a power failure."
12. The Adventures of Champion (1955–1956)
30 min | Adventure, Western
The exploits of Champion, a wild stallion who befriends twelve year-old Ricky North in the American Southwest in the 1880's. Although Ricky, who lived on his Uncle Sandy's ranch, had a ... See full summary »
13. Chocky (1984)
30 min | Drama, Sci-Fi
The strange friendship between a young boy from Earth and an extraterrestrial.
A big green floating thing in the middle of the room talking to children with a strange voice. Followed up by Chocky's Children which was just as bizarre. Theme tune was chilling to say the least - a screaming child followed by some soft *beep*
14. Chorlton and the Wheelies (1976– )
12 min | Animation, Family
A wonderfully eccentric series about Chorlton, a happy-go-lucky dragon (named after a suburb of Manchester) who unintentionally foils the evil schemes of a mad Welsh 'Kettle Witch' who tries to stop wheelie people having fun.
Star: Joe Lynch
Certainly in the top 5 of the greatest ever kids shows ever. Chorlton was a bit of a stupid git really but as he was the biggest person around it didn't matter. If there is one programme people remember from their childhood then this is it!
15. The Clangers (1969–1974)
10 min | Animation, Family, Sci-Fi
The series chronicled the melancholically funny lives of the Clangers, a flutey-voiced family of woolen, knitted aliens living below the surface of a knobbly little planet far out in space.... See full summary »
Star: Oliver Postgate
Wee pink creatures who ate blue string and lived in space with the Soup Dragon and the Iron Chicken. Seriously - you can't make this stuff up!!
16. Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds (1981– )
24 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
In 17th century France, young Dogtanian travels to Paris to fulfill his ambition to become one of the King's Musketeers. He befriends Athos, Porthos and Aramis and falls in love with Juliette. A doggy version of the tale.
ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE IT'S A PRETTY STORY SHARING EVERYTHING WITH FUN THAT'S THE WAY TO BE ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE MUSKEHOUNDS ARE ALWAYS STEADY ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE HELPING EVERYBODY ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE CAN SOUND PRETTY CORNY IF YOU'VE GOT A PROBLEM CHUM THINK HOW IT COULD BE (LALALA LALALA) THEY CROSS THEIR HEARTS AND PRAY (LALALA LALALA) THEY CROSS THEIR SWORDS NIGHT AND DAY (LALALA LALALA) THEY DRINK A BEER AND SWEAR THEY'RE FAITHFUL TO THEIR KING (LALALA LALALA) NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY (LALALA LALALA) THEY'RE NEVER FAR AWAY (LALALA LALALA) THEY'RE ALWAYS READY TO FIGHT OR TO SING ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE MUSKEHOUNDS ARE ALWAYS READY ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE HELPING EVERYBODY ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE IT'S A PRETTY STORY SHARING EVERYTHING WITH FUN THAT'S THE WAY TO BE ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE MUSKEHOUNDS ARE ALWAYS STEADY ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE HELPING EVERYBODY ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE CAN SOUND PRETTY CORNY IF YOU'VE GOT A PROBLEM CHUM THINK HOW IT COULD BE
17. Here Come the Double Deckers! (1970– )
30 min | Family, Comedy
The adventures of a gang of seven kids whose clubhouse is an abandoned double decker bus in a London junkyard. Usually involves a bit of singing, a bit of dancing and general fun times.
A red London Bus which was made into a kids camp/den. One of the kids was really fat and called doughnut and I think one of the lead girls was called Billy. The young girl "Tiger" owned a tiger! At the end of the theme tune at the end of the show they would all sing "See you next week" and all wave!!
18. Dungeons & Dragons (1983–1985)
TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
A group of kids are thrown into a fantasy world where they must search for a way home, armed with magic weapons that an evil tyrant wants.
Six kids from Earth are transported to a strange land where they meet a unicorn and the dungeon master. Little dungeon master would leave them a message and then bugger off sharpish before the bad guys, Venga, Tianat and the shadow demon arrived. He never told them the way home. Once, they did make it back, only for Venga to follow them, forcing them back into the D&D universe. Eventually they did make it back, time had not moved on in their absence and they just finished the Dungeons and Dragons ride as though nothing had happened. All quite mad.
19. The Flumps (1976– )
The adventures of a family of cute, furry creatures - The Flumps. Grandpa Flump, Ma and Pa Flump, their eldest son Perkin, daughter Posie and youngest son Pootle. Each episode contains fun songs and a story from the 'Big Book'.
Star: Gay Soper
Grandfather Flump and his Flumpet were the stars of this programme about small lumps of brown fur with legs. Pootle was the youngest and would never be seen without his bobble had, he also had a habit of rolling down hills all day. Pootle was joined by Possie and Perkin. Seriously?
20. Fraggle Rock (1983–1987)
TV-Y | 30 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
The adventures of the various inhabitants of an underground civilization.
Story of The Fraggles who lived in a rock underneath a lighthouse. The Doozers built things and the large monsters who lived outside would try and catch the Fraggles. "Hey ma, I caught me a Fraggle". Sprocket was the lighthouse keepers dog. Superb.
21. Gentle Ben (1967–1969)
30 min | Adventure, Drama, Family
The adventures in the Florida Everglades of a game warden, Tom Wedloe, his wife Ellen, their son Mark, and Mark's tame bear Ben.
Utterly ridiculous show about a big bear, swamp and a little kid shouting BIN, BIN. The bear fell out of favour with holiday after an alcohol fueled sex scandal with Ben in the late 80s.
22. Godzilla (1978–1980)
TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Adventure, Family
The crew of the research vessel, The Calico, investigate strange phenomena and often meet menaces that force them to summon Godzilla to help.
A boat of 4 scientist who could press a big fat red button to call on Godzilla who could always stand knee high in the water and then swim underneath it. (no matter where they were in the world). In return the people looked after Godzookie the inept son of the green giant.
23. Grandad (1979–1984)
25 min | Comedy, Family
Children's comedy serial. Clive Dunn plays a caretaker in a community hall and has a large (unseen) dog called Nero.
The story was about an old caretaker called Charlie Quick. Clive Dunn's single "Grandad" reached number 1 in 1970! Truly awful cac.
24. Henry's Cat (1983– )
5 min | Family, Animation
Henry's Cat is a whimsical cartoon series that follows the adventures of a small yellow feline and his friends. Henry's Cat is the typical cat, loving nothing better than to eat and to ... See full summary »
Star: Bob Godfrey
An English Garfield. Terribly animated, awful voices, bloody brilliant. Who was Henry?
25. Hong Kong Phooey (1974–1975)
TV-G | 22 min | Animation, Short, Action
A kung-fu-fighting pup and his snickering cat sidekick battle crime.
26. Ivor the Engine (1976–1977)
5 min | Animation, Family
In the 'top, left hand corner of Wales' runs an archaic railway line staffed by such characters as Jones the Steam and Dai Station. Their pride is Ivor, the steam engine with a will of his ... See full summary »
Driven by Jones the steam and by the sound of the "voice", closely related to the Ant Hill Mob's car, Chuggaboom. The fire in the engine was created by Welsh dragons so now you know.
27. Jamie and the Magic Torch (1976–1979)
10 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy
When Jamie shines his Magic Torch on the floor of his bedroom a hole appears, leading Jamie and Wordsworth the sheepdog to the psychedelic fantasy world of Cuckooland.
You can't mention this programme without someone trying to sing the theme tune. Down the helter-skelter, faster and faster towards cuckoo land. Wordsworth the dog. The torch was more useful than a Swiss army knife.
28. Jonny Briggs (1985–1987)
20 min | Family
Jonny Briggs centers on the exploits of a young boy, the eponymous hero (played by Richard Holian), his pet dog, Razzle, and his eccentric family members.
Young boy, scrapes, top theme tune. Like Grange Hill, would become a breeding ground for actors later to appear in Casualty and Eastenders. Damn you to hell Jonny Briggs.
An elephant who played with his Mum's biro in the bath and got stained blue. Again - another acid fueled trip into la la land.
30. The Littlest Hobo (1979–1985)
Adventure, Drama, Family
The wandering adventures of an intelligent German shepherd dog.
The littlest hobo made his way across America helping people out before leaving for his next adventure. Kinda like a cop dog.
Kick ass theme: http://www.trembirth.demon.co.uk/sounds/litlhobo.wav
31. The Magic Roundabout (1964– )
5 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Cult classic children's animated series about a group of human and animal characters that gather at the roundabout / carousel in the park. Although the original series is French there are multiple dubbed versions from other countries.
Renowned nowadays for it's drug references. Really??!! Dougal, he was just so laid back. Other characters included Florence, Dylan the rabbit, Bryan the Snail,Ermentrude, Zebedie, Rosalie, Paul, Basil, Mr Rusty and Mr McHenry.
32. The Moomins (1977–1982)
9 min | Animation, Short, Adventure
A stop-motion animated children's television series, often referred to as the Fuzzy Felt Moomins, based on the stories and illustrations by the Finnish author Tove Jansson.
Hippo-like creatures that lived in a strange world. Moomin Poppa had his memories, Moominmomma made sure nobody came to much harm and Moomintroll was the main character and there were masses of episodes about a comet coming towards the Moomin planet and there was also Snufkin and Little Mi. Also involved were Too-ticky, Groke, Hobgoblin, Thingumy, Bob and of course, The Snork Maiden.
Fact: Moomins apparently woodland creatures living in Finland. They eat Amanita Muscaria mushrooms and dance madly to the deepest darkest rhythms.
33. Moschops (1983– )
5 min | Animation, Family
Enter the fun prehistoric world of Moschops the Therapsid and all his dinosaur friends in this classic 80s British children's animated series. Voiced by Bernard Cribbins.
Star: Bernard Cribbins
A dinosaur that had to look after a flower. Was friendly with Mr Icthus and lots of other dinosaurs. The flower used to sing quite a lot too. *beep* off.
34. Mr Benn (1971–2005)
15 min | Animation, Family
Mr Benn is the ordinary, bowler-hatted office worker who lives in the ordinary suburban street of Festive Road. However, when he tries on a costume in a mysterious costume shop, he steps ... See full summary »
Star: Ray Brooks
This single? bloke was very smartly dressed (bowler hat and everything). For some reason he always went into the fancy dress shop; went in one door to get changed and would go out the other door into a great adventure. How apt. On returning home he would always find a momento of his visit in his pocket.
35. Mr. Men (1974–1983)
7 min | Animation, Short, Family
The Mr Men are a whole host of brightly colored characters that live in Misterland. All of them have names like Mr Happy, Mr Clumsy and Mr Greedy and their appearance and personality match their name. Narrated by Arthur Lowe.
Star: Arthur Lowe
These were small blokes (to be followed later by Little Misses) who represented some emotion (Happy, Grumpy et all), physical deformaty (Mr Tall, Mr Strong) or state of mind (Mr Bump, Mr Clumsy). Later versions included Mr Acid, Mr Ketamine, Mr Socially Maladjusted and Mr Social Benefits Claimant.
36. The Muppet Show (1976–1981)
TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family, Music
Kermit the Frog and his fellow Muppets put on a vaudeville show at their theatre, bringing in a famous celebrity to help out for each episode.
Too many good things in this to mention. Pigs in Space and the chef were brilliant.
37. The Mysterious Cities of Gold (1982–1983)
TV-Y7 | 28 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
A trio of kids must search throughout 16th Century South America for personal answers linked to the legendary El Dorado.
An Excellent French/Japanese Anime series spread over a massive 39 parts. Follows Three children, Esteban, Zia and Tao as they travel across South America with three Spaniards in search of the Legendary Cities of Gold. There's a LOT more to the plot than this, and features absolutely fantastic animation and music. Everybody remembers that theme tune, and the most remembered image is surely of the Great Golden Condor flying so gracefully across the sky! Look out for Maya and Aztec temples, the Nazca lines in Peru, reference to 2012 and a whole lot more. This was way ahead of it's time!!!
38. Paddington Bear (1976–1993)
30 min | Animation, Family
The misadventures of a little Peruvian bear living in London, England.
About a bear that eats marmalade sandwiches, and lives in London. Come on, catch up.
39. The Perils of Penelope Pitstop (1969–1971)
TV-G | 30 min | Animation, Family, Comedy
The Ant Hill Mob has to protect Penelope Pitstop from a murderous lawyer who is after her inheritance.
Posh girl Pitstop gets a huge inheritance from an uncle, the man in charge of looking after it is actually evil git The Hooded Claw, master of disguise. He sets up loads of traps for Penelope and her only hope of rescue is the Anthill mob. Brilliant.
40. Rainbow (1972–1992)
22 min | Animation, Family
Children's puppet programme featuring music and stories.
Geoffrey (who now works for Sainsburys), Bungle (who was naked except when in bed or going to the beach), George (a hippo) and Zippy. Who could ask for more.
41. Rentaghost (1976–1984)
25 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Harold and Ethel Meaker live in South Ealing and run 'Rentaghost' where they rent ghosts out to the public. Over the years many ghosts came and went but the main Rentaghost crew consisted ... See full summary »
Three "spooks" live in a house and cause havoc for next door neighbours Harold and Ethel Meaker. The people the other side of the Meakers thought they were mad and much hilarity ensues. There was also the teleporting pantomime donkey.
42. Roland Rat: The Series (1986–1988)
Comic stories involving the puppet "Roland the Rat" and his friends living under London's Kings Cross Railway Station.
Started on TV-AM (practically saving the company) and then had his own series. Helped by Kevin (gerbil), Errol (welsh hamster) and Reggie (Hyper-active nephew). A kinda prequel to that annoying ginger twat on Channel 4 - Chris Evans.
43. The New Shmoo (1979– )
TV-G | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
A bizarre but lovable shapeshifting creature and his young comic book creator friends investigate reports of the paranormal.
Little white thing that could turn into any shape and was always out of breath. He solved crime and stuff.
44. She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985–1987)
TV-Y7 | 22 min | Animation, Action, Adventure
Princess Adora raises her magic sword and becomes She-Ra, the most powerful woman in the universe, to aid her friends in defeating the Evil Horde so their planet Etheria can be free.
A crap He-Man.
45. The Smurfs (1981–1990)
TV-Y | 30 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
The Smurfs are little blue creatures that live in mushroom houses in a forest inhabited mainly by their own kind. The smurfs average daily routine is attempting to avoid Gargomel, an evil man who wants to kill our little blue friends.
Small blue creatures that lived in the forest. Each one was different and so led to a massive toy invasion. Chased around by Gargamel and his cat.
46. Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994–1998)
TV-Y | 23 min | Animation, Action, Adventure