When Bernard Cribbins, the voice of Buzby – a straggly, phone pole-dwelling cartoon canary in personalised vest – phoned his mum to tell her she was on telly, a nationalised industry dipped its toe into the heady world of merchandise. plush toys, stickers, combs, necklaces and badges sprang up. Buses and Commer vans carried his image everywhere. Buzby’s adventures appeared in TV Comic and picture books detailing his laddish antics (‘Buzby’s Rock Group‘, ‘Buzby’s Girlfriend’). There was even an abortive attempt to privatise the company with the issue of ‘Buzby Bonds’. It all got a bit much, and he was eventually replaced with the less omnipresent (though more annoying) ‘It’s for you-hoo!’ campaign.
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Wow! Another intriguing episode here that we’re delighted to have reached. There was a substantial amount of industrial action at the Beeb in November 1979, the strike that put paid to the Doctor Who story Shada as well as many other shows, the only programme emerging unscathed during the fortnight or so being an episode of Blue Peter the union were prepared to let go ahead as they were launching the appeal. They did manage to put out Pops but in extremely diminished form, and this episode – one of two, but we won’t see the other – is therefore made up entirely of repeats and videos and Peter Powell links it all out of vision. Not much we won’t have seen before, then, but absolutely fascinating for all that.
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