We loved our 80s TV, those of us who grew up in the decade consider it to be the golden age of television! There were obvious classics that everyone remembers, but what about those programmes that have started to slip out of your memory? Don’t worry we’re here to remind you – how many of these forgotten 80s TV Shows do you remember?
1. The Littlest Hobo
The Littlest Hobo is a Canadian television series based upon a 1958 American film of the same name directed by Charles R. Rondeau. The series first aired from 1963 to 1965 in syndication, and was revived for a popular second run on CTV, spanning six seasons, from October 11, 1979 to March 7, 1985. It starred an ownerless dog.
All three productions revolved around a stray German Shepherd, the titular Hobo, who wanders from town to town, helping people in need. Although the concept (of a dog saving the day) was perhaps similar to that ofLassie, the Littlest Hobo’s destiny was to befriend those who apparently needed help, portrayed by well known actors in celebrity guest appearance roles. Despite the attempts of the many people whom he helped to adopt him, he appeared to prefer to be on his own, and would head off by himself at the end of each episode.
Never actually named on-screen, the dog is often referred to by the name Hobo or by the names given by temporary human companions. Hobo’s background is also unexplained on-screen. His origins, motivation and ultimate destination are also never explained.
Although some characters appeared in more than one episode, the only constant was the Littlest Hobo himself.
Chocky is a science fiction story by John Wyndham, first published as a novelette in the March 1963 issue of Amazing Stories and later developed into a novel in 1968, published by Michael Joseph. The BBC produced a radio adaption by John Tydeman in 1967. In 1984 a children’s television drama based on the novel was shown on ITV in the United Kingdom. Many children have imaginary friends, but one father, David Gore, becomes rather concerned that his son of twelve, Matthew, is a bit old to have one. His concerns deepen as his son becomes increasingly distressed and blames it on arguments with this unseen companion, which he calls “Chocky”. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the friend is far from imaginary, but is an alien consciousness communicating with Matthew’s mind—a fact that is of intense interest to shadowy government forces. “Chocky” reveals that it is a scout sent from its home planet (where there is only one sex) in search of new planets to colonise, or to provide subtle guidance to newly-emerging intelligent life. “Chocky”, talking “through” Matthew, explains to David that in becoming overly attached to Matthew and saving him and his sister from a recent accident, it has violated the rules of its scout mission (interfering with events on Earth) and must end its link with him completely. Its further work on Earth will be conducted in a much more covert manner.
3. Brush Strokes
Brush Strokes is a British television sitcom, broadcast on BBC television from 1986 to 1991. Written by Esmonde and Larbey and set in south London, it depicted the (mostly) amorous adventures of a wisecracking house painter, Jacko (Karl Howman). There were 40 episodes spread over five series.
Jacko works as a house painter alongside his brother-in-law, Eric (Mike Walling), who was married to Jacko’s sister Jean (Nicky Croydon). He lives with his sister and brother-in-law in a similar set up to Stan Butler’s (Reg Varney) character in On the Buses. Jacko also shares an anti-authority humour. In this case the butt of his humour is his boss, Lionel Bainbridge.
Gary Waldhorn (later to star in The Vicar of Dibley) played Lionel Bainbridge. Elizabeth Counsell played his wife, Veronica, who had a crush on Jacko. The Bainbridges had a daughter called Lesley who is a spoiltdaddy’s girl, and became Jacko’s girlfriend during series one. She was played by two actresses during the life of the show: Kim Thomson in the first series and Erika Hoffman from series two onward.
Jacko is a ladies’ man. Much of the humour comes from his attempts at picking up women whilst around town on painting jobs – much to the disdain of his sister, his boss, and his boss’ secretary.
Jackie Lye played Sandra, the secretary at work who became Jacko’s fiancée in series two (although the wedding never happened – but they still went on the honeymoon, because they’d paid for it). Other familiar faces that have appeared in episodes include Janine Duvitski, Tracie Bennett and Pippa Haywood.
The show is remembered by many for the slow-off-the-mark pub landlord, Elmo Putney (Howard Lew Lewis) who ran the pub where Jacko and friends took their lunch breaks. In later episodes, Jacko unsuccessfully started his own company, “Splosh”. Later Elmo leaves for Australia to set up another business in Alice Springs – which because of its name he thinks must be near a very large body of water. Elmo became a rich man after his dog discovered opals in Australia. Elmo returned and bought Jacko’s failing company and turned it into a wine bar, where everything was decorated in pink. Jacko returned to Bainbridge’s, where Veronica was now in charge after Lionel’s death.