Nostalgia and YouTube is a glorious combination. For instance, it can take you back to your childhood, where the TV shows aimed at kids were far far better than the tosh we inflict on children nowadays. For instance, where else would you find a dragon, a witch who lives in a kettle, and a bunch of little guys who scoot around on wheels?
In the completely loopy world of Chorlton and the Wheelies, that’s where!
(My major disappointment is that there’s not clip of Chorlton saying “Little old lady!” in a Yorkshire accent. Because that just rules.)
And yet, that’s not the trippiest-but-obscure show I remember. Oh no. That accolade belongs to the ever-mighty Jamie and the Magic Torch. Here are the titles for an episode entitled ‘Mr. Boo Loses a Mountain’. Which was careless, and I assume he found it again, possibly with the help of the titular Magic Torch and a dog in a hat called Wordsworth (the dog was called Wordsworth, not the hat. Although in this show, I wouldn’t altogether rule out the possibility of the hat being a character too).
But sometimes you’ve got to come back down to earth and get into the gritty realism of inner-city life. This could be found in Pigeon Street, which is a a testament to the enduring human need for community even in the middle of urban Britain (although there was never any mention of what the council intended to do about the endemic pigeon problem). Each character had their own theme song, and I’m only sorry that I can’t bring you the brilliant nu-country stylings that accompanied every appearence of Long Distance Clara (an early role model for women working in the transport and logistics sector).
Of course, these moments of psychedelic wonder obviously blew the kids TV budget, so occassionally a show was based around cheaper pursuits. Check out Fingerbobs. The seagull’s the best one.
Oh, and forget the remake of a couple of years ago. This is the real Magic Roundabout, although disappointingly, there’s no sign of any Dougal snark.
Meanwhile, Bagpuss was just a thing of beauty and wonder. His shop didn’t sell anything. Watching this still gets me choked up.
But I guess we all have to grow up eventually and get into shows about important topics such as all terrain attack motorcycles. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Streethawk, the red-headed stepchild of the the eighties super-vehicle movement. It’s like Knightrider without the Hoff. It’s like Airwolf without the slightly too-enthusiastic right-wing politics. It has the one of the greatest theme tunes ever and a motorbike with a laser gun. They don’t make them like this any more.