OMNIPOTENT CHILDREN’S odds-and-sods odyssey delivered by three-quarters avuncular quartet of friendly faces, in a split-level-desks-and-shelves-of-stuff format which survived two generations largely unchanged. “The home encyclopaedia delivered to your fireside”, they said. They also said: “Facts become fun as the team lark their way through another fascinating show.” Or better yet: “Facts, fun and mystery in television’s fastest free-for-all of fact!” And fact you certainly got; the sheer conviction with which the original delivered its often charismatically dull factoids (HOW d’ya get a ship in a bottle? HOW d’ya balance an egg on the rim of a milkbottle with only a cork, four forks, twelve feet of cotton and a tampon? etc.) and the sweltering AmerIndian theme plus unseen chief “How” “How!” marked this out for greatness. Participants started off as: FRED “GAMBIT” DINENAGE, of course – the eager but slightly goofy manchild of the bunch; JACK “GNOMIC” HARGREAVES – knowledgable but cosy ruralist pipe man; JON MILLER – science a speciality; and BUNTY JAMES – a lady, therefore craft and cookery were on the cards, plus the token non-stereotypical How for balance. Bunty was replaced by JILL GRAHAM (who was “a player with the Salisbury repertory theatre”) in ’69, and JIM KELWAY and hapless DIY expert BARRY BUCKNELL even did the odd stint replacing Hargreaves. Come 1970, and Bunty was welcomed back into the fold, cementing the “golden age” line-up that would be most strongly identified with the programme. In ’77 MARIAN DAVIES replaced her, for such delights as “How can Fred get rid of his warts? Ideas from Jon, Jack and Marian don’t help – until Fred finds a magical cure.” Behind-the-scenes fact: the final series was produced by NIGEL PICKARD. Later revived by TVS, then Meridian, then Scottish, with the likes of CAROL VORDERMAN and GAZ TOP playing jesters to the court of the evermore regal Fred.
New! From K-Tel!
TVC on Twitter
Creamguide's Pick of the Day
Last week’s episode seemed to put the “fun” into perfunctory and didn’t to our mind offer much we hadn’t seen before, though the casting did inspire an item on See Hear which surely now makes it a clean sweep of BBC programmes to have gone behind the scenes of it. The second half might be a bit more interesting, though, not least because it’s a kind-of historical in that it’s set in 1980.
Subscribe to Creamguide!
Points of View
- In 'Creamvote play-offs! Rainbow vs Weekend World', Des E says: "So, probably the most ridiculous Creamvote thus far turns out to be arguably the most dramatic and exciting thus far as..."
- In 'Flaxton Boys, The', Scott McPhee says: "1969 to 1973. I had no idea. This show still aired on Australia’s ABC in the early 1980s."
- In 'Fast Forward', Scott McPhee says: "Dear Admins, in Australia, there was a long running sketch comedy show, also called Fast Forward. So, TV Cream could say; “No relation to the..."
- In 'Robin’s Nest', Scott McPhee says: "The first episode featured a gag which is a staple comic misunderstanding. Robin is preparing to open his restaurant. He employs a sign..."
- In 'Rings on Their Fingers', Scott McPhee says: "I remember this show from it’s airing on Australia’s ABC."