NO-NONSENSE BRAN TUB of films from around the world selected to “stimulate the creative imagination of children” initially produced by BRIAN COSGROVE and presented by DOROTHY SMITH (first outing: “A Calm Country River in Holland”). In 1969, the friendly-but-dull ALAN ROTHWELL (catchphrase: “Hello!”) took over, kicking off with hardy perennial THE RED BALLOON, and remained in the driving seat for the duration. Shortly after that, the trademark opening blurred footage of a rotating jewelled casket was installed, accompanied by those timeless off-kilter strains of ‘Manege’ by Structures Sonores’ Lasry-Baschet. The Little Match Girl, The Forth Road Bridge, Amelia and the Angel and Czech animator Karel Zeman’s Mr Prokouk films (a sort of sub-Prof off of VISION ON pork pie hatted inventor) were regular visitors to the hypnotic world of Rothers. Alan took a breather in the spring of ’72 as BARRY SMITH and his theatre of puppets – then also doing sterling work with Al’s other kids’ show, HICKORY HOUSE – took over. In ’74 came activity pack back-up and programme advisers, as the education got serious. Marcel Marceau cropped up a lot, as did cartoon opera The Bricklayers Built a Crooked Chimney, Niko: Boy of Greece, that Canadian cartoon wherein one Dr. Philip Square tunnelling into the Earth’s core and propelling himself back again via the evaporated piss of his pet dog, and “a close, unusual look at the cow”. Survived into the late ’80s, though the move to Channel Four with the rest of the ITV schools’ output brought a new, brasher title sequence and a significant reduction in that queasy wonder quotient.
Creamguide's Pick of the Day
It always amuses us when we see clips of Double Your Money and notice the category board includes both “jazz (traditional)” and “jazz (modern)”, though it is true that at that point trad really was big news, the nascent Pick of the Pops spinning off from Trad Tavern being just one example of its hold on the nation’s teens in the early sixties, despite it being influenced by music some forty years old at the time.
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Points of View
- In 'Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club, The', Droogie says: "Am I alone in thinking Colin Crompton bore an uncanny resemblance to Frank Skinner?"
- In 'Wacky Races', Des E says: "Did Will and Joe intend to make more than 17 episodes (and hence more than 34 races), or is it possible that they *deliberately* left it to the viewers to..."
- In 'Who Pays the Ferryman?', Applemask says: "DON’T EVEN FIX A PRICE"
- In 'Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club, The', Applemask says: "Clarification: Manning wasn’t deceased at the time"
- In 'Walter', Applemask says: "Made a great statement of intent for launch night. Had a sequel a year later in which Sabrina absconds with Sarah Miles, tries to exist in real world,..."