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Children's tv programmes from the 70s.

Updated on June 19, 2013
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Favourite kids TV shows from the 70s - they don't write theme songs like that anymore!


Ever found yourself saying something that sounds totally bananas, only to realise that the catchphrase from one of your favourite kids TV programmes has sailed way over the heads of your younger colleagues. Rest assured, in the corner of the room, there will be someone keeping quiet, smirking furtively away, not wanting to give away that they totally understand your joke and that they are just as old and nostalgic as you.

For example, my friend popped into the ladies in the office to try on her new outfit that she was planning to wear to impress a young man after work that night. She went into the cubicle in her business suit and hair tied up and came out just a few minutes later, in a skimpy little number with her hair all tumbling down around her shoulders. Everyone said “ooh, lush”, “yeah babes” and words to that effect, I said, “As if by magic the shopkeeper appeared”. So, it is just me then is it, who totally, totally adored Mr Benn as a kid. Oh, me and Jeanie over there, but she’s pretending to be soo –o-oo much younger than the forty-somethings that we both know we are.

Mr Benn lived at 52 Festive Road in London and usually wore a business suit and bowler hat (when he wasn’t dressing up). He was invented by David McKee and the programme was aired in the UK by the BBC in 1971 and 1972, so there are some special 40th anniversary treats going on with Tate publishing re-publishing all the original books and there are social networking sites set up on Facebook and Twitter under the name @therealmrbenn. The Mr Benn website is coming soon...

Mr Benn would go into the fancy dress shop in his road where the shopkeeper with his little moustache and Fez hat would help him find a fancy dress outfit. Mr Benn would try on a fancy-dress costume, then disappear through a magic door at the back of the changing room and end up in a world relating to the costume he was wearing. The story would unfold, and then towards the end, the shopkeeper would appear, as if by magic, and usher him back into the changing room. Mr Benn always had a small souvenir of the fantasy world where he had been. For fans of Mr Benn, take a trip down memory lane and treat yourself to a Mr Benn book or a DVD.

Mary, Mungo and Midge was an animated TV series that featured Mary and her pet dog, Mungo, and her pet mouse, Midge, who lived in a tower block. It was screened in the UK in 1969. every episode would end with them getting into the lift to go home and the mouse climing onto the dog's nose to reach the lift button.

I know every little girl wants a pony, but my next few favourite programmes all feature horses. I did spend a lot of time with an upturned broom galloping around the garden until my Dad finally made me the most wonderful hobby-horse. I loved Champion the Wonder Horse, Black Beauty, Follyfoot, and Flambards.

Champion the Wonder Horse was a TV series that was a re-make of a programme that broadcast originally as The Adventures of Champion from 1955 to 1956 for 26 episodes. It told the stories of 12 year old Ricky North who lived on his uncle’s ranch in the American Southwest and had adventures with his wild stallion, Champion and his German Shepherd dog, Rebel. It had a wonderful, rousing theme tune. A set of 6 DVDs were released in the UK in 2005 by Pickwick Group Limited for those who want to watch the episodes all over again.

Follyfoot

Follyfoot was a series that was screened in the UK between 1971 and 1973 and was a collaboration between Yorkshire Television and the German network, TV Munich. It was inspired by a novel by Monica Dickens in 1963, called Cobbler’s Dream. It began with very enigmatic theme music about The Lightning Tree and told the story of horses on a rest home for horses, with a degree of allegory going on as the abandoned horses who had been outcast by society were given a second chance. The DVDs were released in 1995, with further releases in 2007 and 2008.

Flambards

Flambards was a TV series screened in the UK in 1979 and was based on the three books written by KM Peyton, which told the story of orphaned heiress Christina Parsons who comes to live on her uncle’s estate with his sons Mark and Will. It is hoped that horse-loving Christina will grow up to marry the bullish son Mark, a passionate huntsman, and use the money from her inheritance to restore the estate.

Christina, however, falls in love with the quieter son, Will, a keen aviator, and they eventually marry.

The Adventures of Black Beauty

The Adventures of Black Beauty was a TV series made by London Weekend Television that was screened in the UK between 1972 and 1974. The New Adventures of Black Beauty was a continuation series, which was screened from 1990-1991. Boxed sets of both series were released in 2001.It was intended to be a continuation of the plot of the Black Beauty novel, written by Anna Sewell in 1877. The novel is written as an autobiography by the horse himself, telling of his young carefree days which were followed by hardship as he becomes a horse used for pulling London cabs.

Which leads on to two more of my favourite programmes which involved buses, and they were Here come the Double Deckers and On the Buses. Here Come the Double Deckers was a collaboration between 20th Century Fox and an independent British TV company, Century Films. It was screened in the UK between 1970 and 1972 and told the adventures of a group of 7 children and their adventures in an old red double-decker bus in a junkyard. The DVD set was released in 2010.

On the Buses was a sitcom screened from 1969 to 1973, featuring Reg Varney as a bus driver called Stan Butler who lived with his widowed mother, his sister Olive and her husband Arthur. Stan’s demanding boss is Inspector Blake, “Blakey” who has a small moustache and can often be heard yelling “But-ler!” DVDs were released from 2006 to 2009.

There were so many more shows that I enjoyed too, including The Tomorrow People, The Waltons, The Partridge Family, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, Daktari, Lassie, Catch the Pigeon, Yogi Bear and just so many more.

Follyfoot

Here come the Double Deckers

Flambards

The Adventures of Black Beauty

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