TV Cream

TV: H is for...

Helping Henry

BAFFLING EARLY C4 kids show (weren’t they all?) which featured a dining chair animated by Fluck and Law and voiced by JEREMY HARDY. Said furniture was actually an alien being (called N-3) who had somehow decided that dining chairs were the most intelligent form of life on Earth and so spent its time trying to communicate with the other dining chairs and failing, until it found a small boy and talked to him instead. It also talked to some glowing lights, one of whom may have been Richard Vernon.



  1. THX 1139

    February 3, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    I note this wasn’t mentioned in any Jeremy Hardy obits I read. There’s a compilation reel on YouTube and it’s beyond bizarre. Seems to be quasi-educational.

  2. George White

    July 6, 2022 at 9:22 am

    Created by Tom Hardy’s dad too.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    July 8, 2022 at 10:42 am

    Channel 4 really was offbeat in its early days and Helping Henry was typical of what they would show. I also recall the surreal cartoon Murun Buchstangar, which hasn’t been shown for decades.

    • Sidney Balmoral James

      July 9, 2022 at 9:41 am

      It was Buchstansangur, rather than Buchstangar. Buchstangar would be a ridiculous name. A staggering FIFTY-TWO episodes of this were made. One of the irritating / charming features depending on your taste was the strange, flat narration by the creator, Timothy Forder which had all the zest of someone announcing a platform change at Clapham Junction.

  4. Richardpd

    July 8, 2022 at 10:46 pm

    I presume Channel 4 felt they had to cater for a more niche audience in their early days. There were plenty of odd & special interest shows, along with oldies & imports to make it an interesting mix for offbeat viewing.

    Channel 5 seemed to be even more eccentric at times when it first started up.

  5. Droogie

    July 8, 2022 at 11:17 pm

    Channel 4 was bonkers to watch when it began. You’d have worthy original movies like Ptyang Yang Kipperbang and Walter starring Ian McKellen. But you’d also have weird imported stuff like the Paul Hogan Show ( Australian Benny Hill but with none of the subtlety ) and re-runs of a rotten Canadian double act called Wayne & Shuster who were the Canuck Two Ronnies or something. I’m guessing these imports were cheap and the only reason they were included.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    July 9, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    @ Droogie, Channel 4 was definitely like BBC Two on acid in its early days, it was like the independent companies that supplied the programming could do anything so long as it was different to what the other channels were doing and damn the ratings. Murun Buchstansangar and Helping Henry were typical madcap programmes mentioned here, but the whole station under Jeremy Isaacs would try anything. I can also recall them promoting chess as a major sport and covering tournaments like they were covering the World Cup.
    Then the accountants moved in, Channel 4 decided to become more mainstream and now it’s dominated by dinner parties, game shows, house buying and cookery.

    • Droogie

      July 11, 2022 at 2:19 am

      @Glenn Aylett. Blimey. I now remember the chess coverage. Rory Bremner had a show on Ch4 around the same time and did a Nigel Short impression during his 15 minutes of fame. Who can forget Brian Blessed commentating on Sumo matches too? Didn’t Ch4 also get an exclusive screening the Tour De France too? I recall the Kraftwerk song being used heavily.

  7. Richardpd

    July 10, 2022 at 11:55 am

    I can remember C4 giving a lot of coverage to Nigel Short’s chess match with Gary Kasparov in the early 1990s.

    In the early 1990s Channel 4 stopped being an ITV2 of sorts & expected to be a stand alone channel, which is when they started to chase a mainstream audience.

  8. Glenn Aylett

    July 11, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    @ Richardpd, when ITV 2 would have meant something closer to the PSB era BBC 2, not the home of Love Island and other reality trash that people associate with the name ITV 2 these days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top