During COVID lockdown, new programmes were not made, so TV schedules were filled with repeats of much loved programmes. Meanwhile the numerous streaming services and multiple Freeview channels have vast back catalogues of programmes of yesteryear. There's never been a better time to look back..
Given that many films are also seen on TV, the Movies and Couples Themes may also be worth a look....
The TV Nostalgia
section is currently being rebuilt - apologies for oddities!
Everybody’s favourite Great Dane, debuted on American TV Sept 12th 1969. Scooby Doo is probably the most long-lasting of the multitude of Hanna & Barbera cartoons which have entertained children over the years. Others, such as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Secret Squirrel and Snagglepuss have come and gone but the scaredy Great Dane and his friends in the Mystery Machine van endure.
Originally to be called 'The Flagstones', The Flintstones were probably the first family-based sitcom cartoon series in colour, a tradition now carried on by The Simpsons, Family Guy etc. The 'modern stone-age family' had futuristic counterparts – The Jetsons – but they were not so successful.
Wacky Races was a cartoon idea inspired by the Tony Curtis/Jack Lemmon film 'The Great Race' (incidentally featuring one of the greatest pie-fights in cinema history).
The concept of a Good v Evil car race was expanded to feature a wide range of odd automobiles and their drivers, one of whom was Penelope Pitstop and her Pink Compact convertible. The anti-hero(s) of the piece were Dick Dastardly, and his sniggering dog side-kick Muttley, whose fiendish attempts to win were always thwarted, yet the series' characters were so popular they spawned spin-offs for both Penelope (with the Ant Hill Mob) and Dick and his dog who took to the air chasing pigeons and others
Dennis the Menace is best known as a comic character from the Beano but he has successfully transferred to the small screen for several cartoon series.
(The 1960s did see an American TV series called Dennis the Menace, but this was unrelated to the British comic character
Animated versions of popular children's stories have always been popular and amongst those of the more recent era, The Gruffalo is amongst the most popular
Watch With Mother was a daily TV programme around lunchtime. Different days had a different show – Rag, Tag & Bobtail was one, the Woodentops was another but probably best known were Andy Pandy and friends Looby-Loo & Teddy. They originally lived in a laundry basket!
Rarely seen with legs (because he was ventriloquist Keith Harris' puppet) Orville was a popular star of several children's programmes and also had a hit record!
The Pink Panther was originally the name of a diamond in a Peter Sellars movie, but the titles featured a cartoon panther who took on a life of his own and became the star of a successful cartoon series which lasted many years
Wheras Disney had ‘Merry Melodies’ for its series of cartoon shorts, Warner Bros. had the more anarchic ‘Looney Tunes, featuring, Bugs Bunny, Taz, Sylvester & Tweety
Postman Pat and his black and white cat (Jess) were a staple of children's TV and, proved as popular as other 'profession' series such as Fireman Sam and Trumpton.
Thunderbirds saw the culmination of Gerry Anderson's expertise with puppetry and special effects. Twizzle, Four-feather Falls, Supercar, Fireball XL5 and Stingray were all innovative but the one-hour episodes of the adventures of International Rescue took things to a whole new level.
Bob the Builder was one of those rare animated children's TV stars who not only had a loyal following (and probably sparked many an early interest in DIY and engineering) but also managed not one but two chart hits!
Drama & Comedy
Although Batman has had many movie incarnations, the late 1960s saw Batman & Robin bought to the small screen. The series had a cartoonish quality – bright colours, odd camera angles and 'graphic' captions during fight scenes. Many celebs of the day - Vincent Price, Eartha Kitt, Liberace – sought to play guest villains and the success generated the first Batman movie.
Back in the day(1950s), Zorro was one of the first TV maked heroes. This sword-savvy avenger of old Spanish California, was a popular hero with youngsters (his practise of creating 'z's' with his sword as his 'calling card' was especially impressive). He had a secret identity (hence the mask) and he, along with a cowboy series featuring another masked man, The Lone Ranger, could be said to be the forerunner to the likes of Batman and other superheroes
A major fixture of late 1950s Saturday TV, the Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Richard Greene, with its stirring theme 'Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Riding Through The Glen, Robin Hood, Robin Hood, With His Band of Men...' inspired many a child. There were other historical heroes – William Tell, Ivanhoe (featuring Roger Moore) but none matched the popularity of Robin, and he has had many other TV incarnations since.
Adventures in Space and on other worlds have long proved a fruitful background to TV shows: Many fondly remember the likes of Fireball XL5, Space Patrol and Lost in Space but setting a whole new standard in the genre was Star Trek.
The voyages of the Starship Enterprise (and her successors) boldly went where others would follow.
The Addams family were originally unnamed an featured in New Yorker magazine cartoons but the 60s saw them brought to the TV screen. The name proposed for the Addams' son, Pubert was changed to Pugsley for some reason.
Ali G was a character designed for an adult audience who, through his street-wise look and manner filtered down to achieve an addition junior following
Dr Who originally started in 1963 on the same night as Kennedy was assassinated. Since then (aside from a break in the 90s) this innovative Time Travel series has entertained generations. The Doctor has 'regenerated ' several times, the Tom Baker incarnation being one of the best remembered.
Long before the Marvel Universe existed The Avengers was an innovatative series of the 60s onward, originally featuring the sartorially dressed John Steed, and his all-action partner Cathy Gale, later succeeded by Emma Peel
At a time when female action heroes were in short supply on the TV, the 1970s saw the DC comic character Wonder Woman brought to the screen. Of Amazonian origin, with her lasso of truth and an invisible aeroplane, Wonder Woman, played by Linda Carter, fought for Right and gained many fans of all ages.
The Blackadder TV series' featured the fortunes of one Edmund Blackadder in four times - Medieval, Tudor, Georgian and the First World War. Aside from a core cast of
Whereas The Addams Family were based on spooky characters created by Charles Addams, The Munsters were a family consisting of recognisable horror stereotypes – a Frankenstein, a Vampiress, A Vampire and a Werewolf, plus a normal human cousin.