Since this week's show is about kids' TV, and since we had such a great response with entries you may be unfamiliar with, we thought we'd throw together a rough guide to some of the shows we all held dear.
But first, I'm sure you're all wondering just how cheezy "Mega Force" is. Well, I'll tell you. Bloody. That's how cheezy.
Rightwell, on to the details of the show proper, starting with the shows that got the most entries.
Plenty of mentions for the Street, rather predictably. @JLo83 includes it because "it's just iconic. ...it was tackling subjects well before they were mainstreamed. Even as a 4 year-old I could tell I wasn't being talked down to, and I always loved that." @pumpkinspider agrees, adding, "Sesame Street for showing that TV could be educational while remaining fun and unpatronising, and for continuing to do so to this day (like having culturally relevant characters for each region)". Heather C, however, threw it into her vat of acid: "Hated sesame street, really hated it, it had absolutely nothing to do with the life I led, it was so earnest, thankfully my kids also hate it so not forced to sit through it." So now, let's split the difference, and celebrate the Street by enjoying a clip they can't show anymore.
MR ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD
Paul and I both rate Mr Rogers very highly, and who better to explain why than the man himself, accepting a lifetime achievement Emmy in 1997.
Although not regarded by anyone as culturally important, the lunchtime talking animal puppet show was remembered fondly by several emailers, including @thisisrjg: "very camp talking hare (Hartley) and his array of strange puppet friends (a monkey and a tortoise, I seem to recall). It ended, with ATV, when I was 6 and a half, but I adored it. I'm not, in retrospect, exactly sure why: tapes show that it was made for about fourpence and was deeply, deeply odd."
Socially-aware BBC teen drama Grange Hill gets some love from @WeeDief, "It taught us just say no, how to deal with bullies, how to deal with bully teachers, how to annoy teachers, teenage pregnancy, drugs, everything." Fraser concurs, calling it "refreshingly different to any other school show (The Wire of kids tv?)." @pumpkinspider called it important, "for being one of the first that I can remember that depicted non-white, non-middle class kids in recognisable situations without always kow-towing to the authority figures" Here's a clip that demonstrates its dedication to those thorny issues, using language that would never be allowed on regular TV these days, let alone kids' TV.
BLUE PETER / MAGPIE
Blue Peter, the BBC's flagship childrens' programme, taking on a magazine format covering items of interest for kids. Skateboarding, knitting, pets, skydiving... that sort of caper. Magpie, rival station ITV's equivalent is described far more eloquently by Wikipedia: " It... attempted to be more "hip", focusing more on popular culture. The show's creators Sue Turner & Lewis Rudd named the programme Magpie as a reference to the magpie's habit of collecting small items, and because of "mag" being evocative of "magazine", and "pie" being evocative of a collection of ingredients."
Of Blue Peter, @transdiffusion said "Very middle class, but ultimately of amazing influence on 3 or more generations of well-spoken children." and provides a beautifully detailed and personal account of the show via the Trasdiffusion site. All Click also has a personal connection to Blue Peter, "I have to agree with Transdiffusion and say that looking back, Blue Peter was a great show. I still remember now the recycling stories they would do and the yearly trip to the bloody (literally!) yorkvic Viking center. I rolled my eyes as a lad at the time but now realise I still tuned in all the time. Did I mention I was actually on Blue Peter? True story." We need clips, damnit! We join the Blue Peter team of the year 2000, as they dig up the time capsules buried by the 1971 and 1984 Blue Peter teams....
Magpie, on the other hand, gets a sound drubbing as @ACELCT throws it into the vat of acid, saying, "I always remember when during a Christmas appeal, some little kid sent in his 5p week's pocket-money... Mick only said, we're looking for more than 5p... miserable bastard (in hindsight, Jenny was pretty hot!)"
A few votes for the anarchic Tiswas from Brits of a certain age, and guess what? Here's the famous clip mentioned on the show! This is what they want!!
Wherever there is danger he'll be theeeeere! Danger Mouse is spoken of in glowing terms by Mrs. Old Spike, "How could you not love Danger Mouse? A mouse. With an eye patch. A sidekick whose vision is not all it's cracked up to be. They're MI something-or-other secret agents who battle the forces of evil on a regular basis. Loved it! David Jason was positively suave as DM and, I'm convinced, gave lessons to James Bond."
Honourable mentions go to The Mr Men:
Mr Wizard's World:
and Camberwick Green / Trumpton / Chigley:
....well, OK. One more. I know you're just itching to hear the proper version of the "Chorlton And The Wheelies" theme tune.
Thanks, as always, for the excellent correspondence.