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 31 December 1992. 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. After more than 1000 episodes (a total of 1071 episodes with 23 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.
5. Emu’s All Live Pink Windmill Show
The success of Emu’s World led to the series being expanded in mid-1984 from 20-minute to 42-minute episodes and re-branded as the Pink Windmill Show. The target age range was broadened, and the programme now featured viewer phone calls, a studio audience, games such as one in Grotbags’s grotto based on the format of the “take the money or open the box” segment of Take Your Pick!, the Post Office (for viewers to send their letters and pictures), and Boggle’s Kingdom – a mini-series featuring Rod’s ancestor who is trapped in Tudor times. A subsequent addition was the Twin Schools section, which aimed to pair British schools with similar ones in Australia, Canada, or the US. The singing and dancing of the Pink Windmill Kids was retained, extra character Robot Redford introduced, and the show in this format achieved enormous popularity (evidenced by being broadcast in the coveted Children’s ITV slot of last thing on a Friday). Three series were broadcast live from 1984 to 1986.
6. Grange Hill
Grange Hill is a British television children’s drama series originally made by the BBC. The show began its run on 8 February 1978 on BBC1, and was one of the longest-running programmes on British television when it ended its run on 15 September 2008. It was created by Phil Redmond who is also responsible for the Channel 4dramas Brookside and Hollyoaks; other notable production team members down the years have included producer Colin Cant and script editor Anthony Minghella. After 30 years, the show was cancelled in 2008 as it was felt by the BBC that the series had run its course.