When I think back to my days as a misguided youth I find myself overcome with found memories of playing out, birthday parties and school trips. But one thing sticks in my memory more than all those things, watching TV. I built quite a strong relationship with the floor in front of my TV, to the point where the imprint of my butt is forever engraved on the living room floor. It seems like my daily routine was built around the TV guide, I’d spend my afternoons at school contemplating what to watch when I got home (picking CBBC or CITV was harder than choosing a parent in a custody battle). Waking up EARLY on a Saturday to make sure I got my fix of cartoons and strange kids game-shows. A lot of thought has gone into this list, I’ve tried to keep it British, I’ve not included any cartoons (as I think they are worthy of their own list) and have done my best to pick shows that you’ll all remember and if your anything like me, miss. Here they are in no particular order.
Live and Kicking
Live and kicking was my Saturday morning institution and was a massive part of most other kids Saturdays, I watched it every week. It had it all, puppets, gunge, phone in games, great cartoons like Duck Tales and Rugrats but also had live music and great hosts (Zoe Ball and Jamie Theakston). Live and Kicking ran from 1993 to 2001 when it was proverbially blown out the water by SMTV Live and a couple of Gordie’s (who will remain nameless). As far as BBC shows went this was ‘cool’ at least ‘cooler’ than the likes of Blue Peter or The Animals of Farthing Wood… However Live and Kicking being BBC did have its issues, most poignantly being the unwanted and unpredictable appearances of a certain ‘Mr Blobby’, who with no better way of putting it, really ground my gears.
Fun House was a game show like no other. Hosted by Pat Sharp (who at the time donned a mullet that even Ac Slater would be proud of) and with the help of cheerleader twins Melanie and Martina provided us with a kids game show that personified the 90′s. Challenges took place on a variety of different assault courses and crescendoed in a final go-cart battle! The show had a very creditable ten year run from 1989 to 1999, although I think this was mostly due to two factors, twins and go-karts. The prizes on funhouse were laughable to say the least. I think the best prize I remember seeing anyone get, was a set of sleeping bags and a tent. Nevertheless Fun House was a sweet show and well worthy of a spot on this list.
Round The Twist
Have you ever-er, ever felt like this? When strange things happen, you’re going round the twist! If there was a spot just for theme tune this would take the gold. Round The Twist followed the misadventures of the Twist family, who lived in a crazy old lighthouse. The stories usually revolved around the family battling Harold Gribble a greedy estate agent who’s one aim in life was to destroy the Twist family light house. From time to time the stories would get pretty out there, in the first series eire music can be heard from the top of the lighthouse, this turns out to be the ghosts of dead Twist family members. Only four series were made despite the show having an eleven year run.
Get Your Own Back
Get Your Own Back, a broadcasting masterpiece of visual splendor and of course gunge, gunk, slime and so on. With Dave Benson Phillips at the helm, the show had a successful 12 year run finally being axed in 2003. Kids would bring an adult on the the show with them, this could be their dad, french teacher, karate instructor, generally it was someone quite pushy. The show would go through a process of the kids chosen adult being woefully embarrassed by competing in different gunge related activities. The show would then end with the prolific ‘Gunk Dunk’ this would see kids answer arguably simple questions (even for a child) in a bid to dunk their babysitter/tennis coach into a pool of slime. The more questions you got right the further they plunged. As a child get your own back gave me a sense of justice, justice and swift retribution, retribution in the form of gunge.
The Queen’s Nose
This last pick is one for the ladies. The Queen’s Nose may not have been my cup of tea but I know it was a lot of peoples favorites. The series was based on the Dick King Smith book of the same name and followed Harmony Parker, a 10 year old girl who receives a magic 50 pence piece from her uncle Ginger that grants her 7 wishes. Harmony would usually use the coin for some good deed, despite my relentless screaming to ‘WISH FOR A GIANT ROBOT ZOMBIE’. The Queen’s Nose won a number of awards during its time on air but was dropped after viewers complained about the loss of the main character played by Victoria Shalet.
Not what you’d choose? Have your say below.