The Dream StoneOriginal Broadcast Run: September 1990 March 1995
UK TV Channel: ITV1
This was a fun cartoon that had four series on CITV, and I think the best word to describe it is fantastical - it was very much fantasy based, and it was made (animated, voiced and scored) in a very attractive, stimulating way that really got my imagination going. The planet was divided into two hemispheres the Light Side and the Dark Side which were separated by the Mist of Limbo, a giant purple stormcloud that encircled the planet. The Light Side was known as the Land of Dreams, while the Dark Side was the Land of Nightmares.
In his castle in the Land of Dreams, the Dream Maker mixed pleasant dreams and transmitted them to the inhabitants of the Land of Dreams via the most precious and powerful object in the land, the Dream Stone, which he kept in a high tower. The aforementioned inhabitants were green, furry creatures called Noops, and two of them - Rufus (a notorious daydreamer)
SootyOriginal Broadcast Run: May 1952 December 2004
UK TV Channels: BBC1, ITV1
If there is anyone in this country who has been a regular watcher of children's television at some point during the past sixty years and has never come across Sooty, I'd be incredibly surprised. The definitive TV hand puppet, the original Sooty (a fairly unremarkable yellow bear) was bought by Harry Corbett at the end of Blackpool's North Pier in 1948, and made his TV debut in 1952. Harry blacked the bear's ears with soot (earning him the name Sooty) and used him to entertain his children. Within the space of four years, Harry and Sooty had become a well-known comedy double-act and had been invited to make several TV appearances, leading to their own BBC show in 1955 pretty impressive work!
Harry Corbett spent twenty years being hit with hammers and sprayed with water at the mischievous paws of Sooty. During this time, Sooty was joined by his two almost equally famous puppet friends
The Animals of Farthing WoodOriginal Broadcast Run: December 1992 December 1995
UK TV Channels: BBC1, BBC2
The Animals of Farthing Wood is a popular children's novel by Colin Dann that was first published (originally in two volumes) in 1979. It tells the story of a group of animals who decide to leave their home in Farthing Wood (which is being developed into a housing estate by the thoughtless hand of humankind) and set out for the safety of White Deer Park, a nature reserve from which one of their number Toad has just returned after a lengthy absence from Farthing Wood, thanks to his capture and imprisonment in a jam jar at the hands of a small child again, the theme of humans interfering with the natural world is apparent! The animals agree to protect and help each other under the Oath of Mutual Protection, setting aside their natural instincts to eat each other.
In December 1992, CBBC started screening a cartoon adaptation of the book, and a remarkably faithful one at
Dogtanian and the Three MuskehoundsOriginal Broadcast Run: October 1981 December 1981 (Spain), 1985 (UK)
UK TV Channel: BBC1
Whoever had the idea to take Alexandre Dumas' tales of d'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers and adapt them into a cartoon featuring dogs instead of humans is a complete genius! Unaware that his father was once a Muskehound (or Musketeer as the script disappointingly calls the elite guards of the King of France, despite their canine nature and the title of the show) Dogtanian is very surprised to be summoned to Paris (from his small, provincial home town of Bearn) by Monsieur Treville, the Captain of the Muskehounds, to join up as a cadet. As the protagonist of the series, Dogtanian works really well. Not only is he brave and loyal and skilful and everything else a hero should be, he is also sweet and vulnerable and a bit clumsy and awkward, which makes him very easy to like and to laugh at.
Dogtanian's journey to Paris and the adventures he experiences there before becoming a f
Count DuckulaOriginal Broadcast Run: September 1988 February 1993
UK TV Channel: ITV1
Count Duckula is one of several highly entertaining cartoons produced by Cosgrove-Hall during the '80s and '90s. It was a spin-off from the company's most widely known and popular show, Danger Mouse, which I do not seem to remember with the same clarity and fondness as many other children of the '80s. I remember watching DM (which ran from 1981 to 1992) as a small child, but I never enjoyed it as much as Count Duckula. After some serious thought, I have deduced that there are two plausible reasons for this the first is that I was probably a little too young to appreciate Danger Mouse in its absolute heyday, and the second is that I definitely prefer the vampire genre over that of secret agents and spies.
Yes, as its title suggests, this show was something of a parody of Bram Stoker's Dracula or at the very least, it was loosely based on said novel. Deep in the Carpathian Mountain
He-Man and She-RaOriginal Broadcast Run: September 1983 December 1987
UK TV Channel: ITV1
On the planet Eternia, a never-ending battle between good and evil is being played out. The ancient and mysterious Castle Grayskull holds the secrets and the power to control the universe, and the evil Skeletor will stop at nothing to procure them. The Sorceress of Grayskull enlists the aid of Eternia's young prince, Adam, in the eternal battle against the forces of evil. By holding aloft the Sword of Power, Prince Adam transforms into He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe, while his cowardly pet tiger, Cringer, becomes the brave and mighty Battle Cat.
That's the premise of the show in a nutshell. As you can imagine, over two seasons of sixty-five episodes each (that's one hundred and thirty episodes in all) there turned out to be quite a bit more to it. The cartoon version of He-Man was originally made with the sole purpose of selling Mattel's Masters of the Universe toy
The Mysterious Cities of GoldOriginal Broadcast Run: May 1982 February 1983 (Japan); September 1986 June 1987 (UK)
UK TV Channel: BBC1
The Mysterious Cities of Gold is a thirty-nine part animated series that was co-produced by two television companies; one in Japan, the other in France. After the original Japanese and French language versions of the cartoon became immensely popular, it was dubbed into English by a Canadian company in the hopes that it would prove just as popular in the USA and the United Kingdom and boy, did it prove just as popular!
Ever since I first ventured into the extensive world of Internet TV nostalgia, The Mysterious Cities of Gold is a programme that I have seen mentioned again and again as a televisual masterpiece without equal. I used to have very vague memories of watching the show when I was about six years old, and I remembered that I had enjoyed it a lot, despite the fact that it had seemed somewhat protracted to me back then. Some t
Grange HillOriginal Broadcast Run: February 1978 September 2008
UK TV Channels: BBC1, BBC2, CBBC
Grange Hill was a Children's BBC drama series about everyday life in a North London secondary school, which was located (for the most part, at least) in the fictional London Borough of Northam. Because the show ran for thirty years, I could write about it for hours and still only scratch the surface, yet I shall strive to give you the flavour of an iconic show that really has become part of our national consciousness.
I say that Grange Hill was a drama series because I think this is the genre it generally fits into best, but there were also plenty of comedic moments from the outset. Grange Hill delivered genuinely amusing scenes just as well as it delivered hard-hitting, dramatic scenes, which I'm sure is partly why it was such a successful show. The best storylines were the ones that we at home could imagine - or even remember - going on in our own schools, although
The Book of Love: EpilogueEPILOGUE: THE REWARDS OF SUCCESS
The engine of the yellow, open-topped double-decker bus roared and strained as it struggled to pull the large, well loaded vehicle up one of the steepest roads in Whitby.
"He's pretty good, that tour guide, isn't he?" Beast Boy yelled over the din. "I wish we'd done this the last time we were here."
"I'd cut out a few of the deliberately awful jokes if I were him," Raven replied, "but I have to admit, I'm enjoying myself immensely. I certainly can't think of a better place than Whitby to spend a hundred and eighty-seven pounds."
"I reckon we can afford to spend another night here," said Beast Boy. "That's if they'll have us back in the hotel, of course, after you molested their cat this morning."
"Do you have to keep bringing that up?" Raven scowled. "I keep telling you, I only kissed the hotel cat because I thought it was you! It was only just dawn, the curtains were drawn, the stupid animal got into bed