TV Cream

TV: B is for...

Breakfast Serials

EARLY HANDIWORK of RUSSELL “CREATED DR WHO” T DAVIES when he was still schlepping away in BBC Manchester. Broadcast at 8 o’clock on Saturday mornings when only the most avid telly kids were up. Six different sections in all, the first being The Kitchen Crew with the puppets, who would link the others, which were, firstly, Cheapo TV: unfunny TV parodies filmed in a park in Salford (although one of GENTLE BEN was quite good), then Single Tales: basically JACKANORY. You may remember Billy Butler telling stories on CHUCKLEVISION about families in Liverpool, and this was more or less the same thing. Zounds: terrible drama school style surrealism (Woman walks past – ‘I AM ANGRY!’ Other woman – ‘I am sad!’ Crap like that). Runners: some sci-fi thing. You read comics while this was on. NiceChap: another drama thing. This was clearly so expensive to make for such a bad slot it didn’t come back. Replaced, as ever, by EGGS’N’BAKER. Cast: four people who have never worked again. Names, let it be known, were Caroline Berry, William Petrie, Lucy Jenkins and Jon Biggins.



  1. Applemask

    March 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    This would never be coimissioned now. It’s not like anything else. It’s not obvious who it’s aimed at. And yeah, the budget is lopsided.

  2. TV Cream

    March 31, 2010 at 7:32 am

    This was one of the very first things I wrote for TV Cream, at least a decade ago. The mention of Eggs’n’Baker is because I really wanted to do an entry for Eggs’n’Baker. Jon Biggins is now Jack Dee’s pissed-off neighbour in Lead Balloon.

  3. televisualcabbage

    March 31, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Hmmmm… Is one William Petrie any relation to Ed Petrie, who now does CBBC?

    Eggs’n’Baker, all I seem to remember about it is that it came from what appeared to be a bohemian 80’s flat kitchen… If things had been different then Cheryl could have been in the slot filled by Sophie Dahl…

    Now there’s a thought!

  4. Cannonball

    December 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Loved this when it was on. I enjoyed Runners and have fond memories of The Almighty Teacosy, and the Zounda classic “the sad lady”

  5. Mike James

    June 10, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Just to set the record straight, Biggins has enjoyed a successful career on TV, radio and theatre as has Caroline Berry, who has appeared in the West End. Jenkins is now a successful casting director and Petrie a successful theatrical agent.

  6. Dave

    June 4, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Another complete pile of crap… The review, that is… Jon Biggins and Caroline Berry are still active now as actors… Runners was really good… NiceChap was excellent… Cheapo TV was OK, if you view on YouTube its aged better than one might expect for a one-off show made in 1990… And it was very popular at the time and gained high viewing figures for its timeslot… The only reason it didn’t return the following year was because by then Russell T. Davies had moved on to other projects

    • Mark

      April 20, 2023 at 4:11 pm

      Hi Dave, you don’t happen to know how Runners ended? Thanks

    • Mark

      April 21, 2023 at 12:54 pm

      Does anyone remember how Runners ended? Thanks

  7. Richardpd

    October 30, 2023 at 10:23 pm

    I remember the Nicechap segment, who was a cartoon character brought to life.

    Normally I would catch this before the 8:15 From Manchester started.

  8. Glenn Aylett

    November 2, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    @ Richardpd, I was wondering when this was shown and you’ve answered this for me, must have been around 1991, when the 8.15 From Manchester was being shown. BBC Manchester’s polytechnic lookalike building certainly produced a long list of kids and teen shows during its life, from the surreal and variable Breakfast Serials to hip and happening pop shows like The Oxford Road Show.

  9. Richardpd

    November 2, 2023 at 10:37 pm

    The studios were next to the former polytechnic, now Manchester Metropolitan University.

    I’m not sure what remit BBC Manchester had for production, Cheggers Plays Pop & Rentaghost were made by them from what I remember.

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