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From Andy Pandy to Zebedee: The Golden Age of Children's TV

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If all the festive hurly-burly has left you in need of a smile, I can recommend this inspiring montage of beautiful memories: it’s brimming with joy. Oh, sure, we can laugh at the poshness of Endy Pendy and the un-PC branding of Watch with Mother, but this dash through the decades is an absolute wonderland.

Heroes of yesteryear from Derek Griffiths to Phyllida Law flag up the sophistication of these mini-marvels (development experts were consulted on Play School) and torpedo ridiculous myths (The Magic Roundabout’s Dylan on drugs? “Rubbish”). Remind yourself what a creative dynamo Vision On was and how scary the retina-scorchingly colourful import The Singing, Ringing Tree could be. Or Noseybonk from Jigsaw, come to that.

Indeed, not all of this imaginative programming was enjoyed by nippers: 60 per cent of Think of a Number’s audience was adult. And the venerable Bernard Cribbins only just holds it together when recalling a cab driver telling him: “You know what? Jackanory made me want to learn to read. Which killed me…”

I’ve said it’ll make you smile… director Clive Doig calls art supremo Tony Hart “the sweetest, sweetest man I’ve ever met” and a piece about his passing in 2009 ends with a shot of Morph turning and waving before he climbs into his pencil box. Excuse me a moment. I think I have something in my eye.


The story of the struggle to deliver television programmes for children, who were an often overlooked audience in the days before everything went digital. Includes interviews with pioneers of children's TV, such as Bernard Cribbins, Derek Griffiths, Janet Ellis, Johnny Ball and John Craven. Narrated by Nigel Planer.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Nigel Planer
Executive Producer Caroline Wright
Producer Verity Maidlow


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