Weird British Children’s Shows Hardly Mentioned in the States

Please let me say these programs are not typical of British children’s television, so don’t walk away thinking that there is this mad conspiracy to warp kids’ brains.  What I am presenting to you is the odd lot, not the classics.  However, I have to be frank (as opposed to Karen); this is the nation that created Teletubbies.  So, I will certainly go into Jackanory, Bagpuss, The Clangers, and other excellent shows in another post.  In the meantime, we can have a good laugh.

The Chuckle Brothers – Imagine being continuously bombarded by Dad jokes and slapstick by a couple of dotty uncles your mom is forced to invite to every family cookout.  Welcome to the Chuckle Brothers.

Rainbow – Zippy, a brown sex toy with a zipper for a mouth; George, a not-seen-in-nature pink hippopotamus; and Bungle, a bear who dearly needs medication flanked by whatever poor human needs the work in television remained on ITV for 20 years.  It has retained a cult status, and you have to have some knowledge of the show to get some cultural reference jokes.  This is one program that does not translate well over here because Zippy is completely unlikable.

The Sooty Show – Another show that gained cult status, you either love or hate Sooty, Sweep (the dog), and Soo (the panda).  Personally, if you can get through the video without ripping your ears off from Sweep’s squeak, you are a better person than I am.

Jigsaw – The problem with this show is a character named Noseybonk, an appropriate name considering the phallic nature of the schnoz.  Nightmare inducing and confusing, I really do not understand the point of this creature.

Fingermouse – The BBC must have had a lean budget that year.  This show was a plea to up the license fee.

Mr. Benn – The premise of this cartoon was a middle-class gentleman in a bowler hat would just randomly enter a costume shop to put on an outfit of the day, pop through a magic door, and go on an adventure centered around said costume.  Looking back, The Boffin figures the BBC scrapped the episode featuring the line, “Here kiddies, come into the changing room, and watch me turn into a Radio One DJ.”

Bod – A silent, bald kid just walks around doing random things that make no sense.  Watch as Bod throws an apple up into the air and waits for it to come down.  Even his Aunt Flo arrives.  Seriously.

And parents criticize Dora and Diego’s lack of supervision.

21 thoughts on “Weird British Children’s Shows Hardly Mentioned in the States

  1. Ah! So much nostalgia in this post. I loved Mr Benn as a kid, was always eager to learn what costumed adventure he would be off on, but when I rewatched it with my kids a few years back the oddness of it definitely struck me. Ditto Rainbow. I loved that and Playschool as a lass but when I showed clips to my kids they looked at me as if my childhood would have been better had I been a chimney sweep. I once told my friends that the man with the fingers in Fingerbobs was my Grandad (they looked alike at a distance if one squinted) and basked in that glory for maybe as much as the entire school day before I broke down and confessed. What a sad, grey childhood that I even thought that would be a cool lie.

    The Chuckle Brothers were mercifully a bit after my time so I was only aware of them from my younger siblings watching. They made me judder even then. Just. Not. Right.

    There were lots of superb shows for kids during my childhood but definitely the low budget and ropey technology ones have not held up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your memories, Laura. We certainly had our questionable shows here too.

      I think we have all lied as kids to puff ourselves out a bit more than we were. I remember telling my neighbor’s granddaughter that I was rescued from a fire while I was on vacation at the New Jersey shore. That one held up for several months.

      The Boffin and I had a great laugh when he was showing me these video clips. He even bought the Bod DVD for the Sprog some time ago, thinking it would be good for her. She just thought, “WTF?” and went back to The Backyardigans.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. In comparison to the jacked up super caffeinated shows kids watch today, Bagpuss is dull. But you know what, so is Mr Rogers. That said, dull but well made will never drive you crazy, force you to buy anything, or have your parents ask you to explain what the last 20 minutes was about. Bagpuss was just an old, saggy cloth cat, baggy, and a bit loose at the seams. I loved him.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Bagpuss was one of my favorites too. Even at the time, obviously without knowing about crazy-paced shows, I appreciated that the soporific atmosphere was relaxing. Actually I don’t think the pacing was the problem with my kids. It was more that they found some of the characters (Professor Yaffle and Gabriel the Frog) to be somewhat creepy.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. The Sprog really got into the Wiggles. However, I got myself banned from being allowed to watch it with her when I pointed out that Larissa (one of the Red Coats) was “going like a train”. Apparently, I was a distraction and a bad influence.


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