1. “Boy from Space” – “Look and Read” : This was a popular TV show in the 80’s that kids would watch at about 11 am each day as a break from class. The host Wordey was a legless red faced little man who would fly around chanting “Magic Magic E”. Nobody realised at the time that he was a pioneering drug pusher getting ready for the era of raves. “Boy From Space” was one of the stories featured in the show and it revolved around a couple of alien kids who looked like the children of the damned but with blue suits that appeared to be made from tissue paper and a language that only the teacher from Charlie Brown could imitate. The actual episodes were all of 5 minutes long at the end of each “Look and read” segment and sci-fi obsessed kids all over Britain waited with baited breath each week for the latest fun installment. The “Dark Towers” story was also a classic but the little lad from the stars was the pick of the bunch.
2.”Newsround”: with John Craven: It may seem odd to highlight a kids news show as being a cult TV classic but the sad reality is that Craven and his sidekicks produced a 10 minute show containing more real news items than you’d see after a year of watching Fox and or MSNBC today. I particularly liked the endless reports on giant Panda’s and space shuttle launches.
3.”The Flumps”: Long before that northern bloke was winning Oscars for dull films about Wallace and his dog the BBC had set the standard for animation with “The Flumps” This was easily the best show of its genre and one of the all time classic moments of television was when Grandpa flump got stuck in his Flumpaphone.
4.”Mr Benn” : This guy was the ultimate master of disguise. Every week he went to some kind of fancy dress shop and disappeared through the dressing room into many weird and wonderful places. He tried his hand at being everything from a cowboy to a clown but his real brilliance was in his ability to persuade the shopkeeper to let him keep trying on costumes all the time without ever buying a single item from the store.
5.”The A-Team”: In this era of cheesy remakes I am surprised that no one has decided to make a big screen version of the greatest US TV show of all time : The A-Team. I bet George Clooney would like a stint as Hannibal alongside Jim Carey as Murdoch and perhaps Di Caprio as Face. BA would be harder to cast but perhaps DMX would be the man for the job and it would be the kind of thing that could lead to at least 3 or 4 sequels which is right up Clooneys alley.
6. “Tim Tyler “(aka Timm Thaler) : This was a German classic about a kid whose laugh was stolen by an evil Baron in 1970’s Berlin (?) The show was great because the worst sound editors in the history of television hired some drunk B movie actors to dub it into English and during the whole series not one word was uttered by a character in English at the same time his mouth was in motion. Aside from the cheap production this show was also memorable for the flairs and hippie hairstyles that defined an otherwise forgettable era.
7. “Degrassi Junior High” : This was Canada’s answer to Grange Hill and was so terrible that it was actually good for its utter patheticness. I remember that one episode caused a stir as it featured the revelation that one of the teachers was a lesbian before the old BBC watershed. Oddly enough the BBC didn’t buy a lot of shows from the land where people say “aye” after the ratings for this one were compiled but I still have a soft spot for it.
8.”Silas”: The people who dubbed this Polish gem into English did a marginally better job than their counterparts had done with Tim Tyler but the real issue was the fact that phrases that take about two syllables to say in English take 5 minutes to say in Polish and vice versa. I remember that Silas was harrased by an nefarious harridan who was known simply as “The Old Shrew”. I can’t remember the plot of the show but basically it involved around a kid riding around on a horse and every week it had the same cliffhanger ending as he crossed paths with his nemesis and he exclaimed “the shrew” Brilliant !
9. “Airwolf”: Some people may remember Ernest Borgnine as the Roman soldier at the foot of the cross or as the cop who married a hooker in “The Poseidon Adventure” but I remember him most fondly as the pilot of the best helicopter ever built, Airwolf. This show had a simple message: Criminals beware of copters loaded to the brim with machine guns because no matter where you run Ernie will blow your head off. This was much better than anything you’ll see on CSI, eat your heart out David Caruso.
10. “Neighbours”: Not technically a kids show but try telling that to anyone who grew up in the UK in the late eighties. So many kids were skipping school to watch this Aussie classic that the BBC moved it to the 5.30 spot after “Blue Peter” which had usually been reserved for shows like “Doctor Who” or “Friday film: The Glitterball.” I was skiving off school in 1987 when the first episode was broadcast and after I saw Max Ramsey lose his temper, Des fall for stripper Daphne and Shane introduce the southern hemisphere to the mullet there was no looking back.