We loved our 80s kids TV shows back in the golden age! After school was the time we got to control what was on the box! How many of these CITV shows do you remember watching!
1. Woof (1989 – 1997) Kids TV
The show was first broadcast in 1989. It starred Liza Goddard as teacher Mrs Jessop. Edward Fidoe played Eric Banks, the boy who turned into a dog (played by Pippin) of the same name. It also starred Thomas Aldwinckle as Eric’s friend Roy Ackerman and later Sarah Smart as his tomboy best friend Rachel Hobbs. Filming was interrupted for a while when Smart broke her leg. The show generally featured weekly escapades to do with the dog power. Late in Eric’s run of episodes, a start at a plot arc was developed, with Eric discovering the transition is caused by adrenaline, and meeting up with an adult (played by Anthony Head) who has the same affliction.
From Series Six which began airing in 1993, the episodes featured the adventures of Rex Thomas (played by Adam Roper) and his best friend Michael Tully (Monty Allan). Rex inherits Eric’s “condition”, and in the final episode of series 8 he becomes Mrs Jessop’s stepson after she marries his father, Ken (Owen Brenman). Lionel Jeffries also guest-starred as Rex’s Grandfather. The ninth and final series, consisting of seven episodes, aired in 1997. It featured Jim Walters (Sebastian Mahjouri), accompanied by his cousin Brian Barford (Jack Allen) and next door neighbour Carrie Howard (Faye Jackson). By the time the show ended, Liza Goddard was the only original cast member to feature through all nine series.
2. Rainbow (1972 – 1992)
Rainbow is a British children’s television series, created by Pamela Lonsdale, which ran between five times weekly, twice weekly on Mondays and Wednesdays then Tuesdays and Fridays, and finally once weekly at 12:10 on Fridays on the ITV network, from 1 September 1972 to 24 March 1997. It was intended to develop language and number skills for pre-school children, and went on to win the Society of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Children’s Programme in 1975. The show had three producers over its lifetime – Pamela Lonsdale, Charles Warren and Joe Boyer.
The programme was originally conceived as a British equivalent of long-running American educational puppet series Sesame Street. The British series would be developed in house by Thames Television, and had no input from the Children’s Television Workshop. After more than 1000 episodes (a total of 1071 episodes with 27 seasons), the series came to an abrupt end when Thames Television handed its ITV franchise over to Carlton Television on New Year’s Eve 1992. Since then, it has gained cult status and continues to get frequent mentions on radio and television. A few DVDs have been produced, including one celebrating 30 Years of Rainbow.
3. The Book Tower (1979 – 1989)
The Book Tower was a British television series for children, produced by Yorkshire Television, that ran for 11 series from 3 January 1979 to 30 May 1989. Initially presented by Doctor Who star Tom Baker (1979–81), each episode explored one or more books, using dramatic presentations, with the aim of getting children interested in reading.
Later presenters included Stephen Moore (1982–83), Alun Armstrong (1984), Neil Innes (1985), Roger McGough (1986), Bernard Bresslaw (1987), and Timmy Mallett. The theme tune, based on Paganini’s 24th Caprice, was taken from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s album Variations. The opening sequence of the original tv series showed images of Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire.
4. Chocky (1984 – 1986)
David Gore becomes rather concerned that his son of twelve, Matthew, is a bit old to have an imaginary friend. 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.