A while ago I did a post on my personal top ten books from my eighties childhood, and it's my most visited post. At the time it did cross my mind that a similar post on television would be interesting. Keep in mind that in Tasmania we had two channels for most of my childhood, ABCTV and TVT6. SBS existed when I was in primary school because I remember Five Times Dizzy by Nadia Wheatley (who I utterly shamed myself in front of when I said in a completely fannish moment whilst working on reception: 'You don't look ANYTHING like I imagined you!' because I sort of expected her to be yiayia from the books, though I didn't admit that much) was made into an SBS miniseries in about 1983. I couldn't watch it because our two televisions - a small black and white and a big coloured clunker - couldn't pick up SBS. Seriously, if you holidayed on the mainland you were obliged to come back and tell everyone what was going to happen in Country Practice in three years time. I remember how excited my sister was when Bethany finally appeared on Tasmanian TV and she could get the resolution to the storyline. When I was 19 and living in Adelaide they introduced a second commercial channel, so I hurried back home to watch it. Well, I had been planning on leaving Adelaide anyway.
Anyway, so my 80s tv watching was probably heavily 70s reruns. The links are mostly youtube videos, so there's a warning for you. Argh. (That's pirate). (I don't know why I'm being a pirate but it seemed appropriate with the whole warning thing, and I guess also goes nicely with the whole illegally uploaded video thing as well.)
1. The Butterfly Ball - this was an obscure little time filler on ABC Kids. I was simultaneously in love with it and terrified of it. One of the reasons I am in love with the Interwebz is being able to reclaim this curious little object and insert it back into my life. I was quite fond of the filler as a genre. I also remember a local filler of footage of old people walking aorund Hobart mall with either the popcorn theme or music box dancer as the music. I adored both these pieces of music as a child so they've kind of blurred together. Anyway, that funny little two minutes always filled me with an aura of intense peace. Hooray for fillers.
2. The Famous Five This music fills me with such a rush of nostalgia, I can feel Mrs Dillon's warm honey crumpets in my belly (I often went to the Dillon's house after school and they were the closest thing to the Famous Five I ever met in real life - English and quite proper to me, with a dog. My friend Joanna could have almost passed for Anne and her older brother Michael definitely had Julian qualities). I wanted to be George, mostly because I wanted to have her special affinity with Timmy, but I loved Anne's swishy hair and I remember trying to emulate her poodly girlish running style. And Julian in those muscle tees. He was so manly.
3. Chocky I blogged about the book before and my mate Zose sent me this opening. It was deliciously spooky and all the better because I loved the book so much. I have dim memories of other books being turned into ABC dramas, like perhaps Carrie's war by Nina Bawden, but they never overwrote the book - this one the book and the show are kind of enmeshed in my mind.
4. Metal Mickey An amazing insight into the role computers would play in our daily lives. Not. Actually (and I'm fairly sure my brother doesn't read my blog on a regular basis) there's something about Metal Mickey that reminds me of my brother. Can't quite put my finger on it. But there you go.
5. HR Puffinstuff This show was so lame. But I loved it. I have fond memories of The Banana Splits too - same puppeteers? I recall watching The Splits with an expression of bemusement on my face.
6. I'm going to cheat and roll Sesame Street, The Muppets and Fraggle Rock into one. If I had to pick a favourite now it would be Fraggle Rock, but that's a bit cheaty since I was in high school by the time that started. As a kid, it was Sesame Street, pre-elmo, way back when no one saw Snuffy and I almost wet my pants with frustration and disappointment every time he walked off set and Maria and co walked on. But then he was revealed (which I've just realised coincides with the appearance of elmo! which seems psychoanalytically portenteous), and Sesame Street kind of jumped the shark for me.
7. Young Talent Time Before there was Aussie Idol there was this. Remember back when Kylie was just Dannii's sister? I dreamed of being discovered on YTT, or even of a boy like Vince looking into my eyes and singing earnestly at me (gawd, socially awkward much?)
8. Grange Hill or Degrassi? I can't pick. Maybe Degrassi because I followed it all the way through, even when they were the oddly melancholic Kids on Degrassi Street and Wheels was called Gryph and was being beat up by his brother which was weird because by Degrassi Junior High he was adopted with nary a brother in sight and his name was Derrick Wheeler. But my first vagely erotic dream was about Stu-pot from Grange Hill and I remember running home from swimming lessons (around the corner) every day one summer to watch it.
9. Well, of course The Goodies. And a quick nod to Bananaman, voiced by the threesome.
10. Dr Snuggles Ah, more crumpets. I had a music casette of the music from this show, and I remember one particular song that started 'we are the travelers and we're going somewhere, to the end of the rainbow...' and there my memory fails me. It is the best song ever by the way. This was another cartoon that vaguely unsettled me, despite the love it inspired. I am a many splendid thing.
Oh geez, that's ten already? But I haven't even mentioned The Magic Roundabout, Rentaghost, Worzel Gummidge, Catweazle (okay I admit I was a bit scared of Worzel Gummidge and utterly petrified of Catweazle), Little Blue (no link!), Morph, Danger Mouse (whole episodes await your viewing pleasure on the tube of you), Qua Qua (? a paper animation thing about a duck, kind of pointless but oddly soothing, ungooglable apparently), a cartoon called Ulysses, based on the Greek myth but set in the future with robots, Jem (truly outrageous), Astroboy, Happy Days (speaking of jumping the shark), The Wonderful World of Disney (best description ever of the sensation aroused in one whilst watching TWWoD at the beginning of The Secret History by Donna Tartt), not to mention all the American sitcomes, like the Brady Bunch and Different Strokes and some other one where the big sister was actually called Sissy. I bet I think of a million more (I didn't watch that much tv, promise!), but it's over to you now - what shows did you love as a kid?