TV Cream

TV: J is for...

Joke Machine, The

A MACHINE that told jokes. Old jokes. For kids. As if real people didn’t have enough trouble doing this and doing it fucking well. Said machine was called Fearless Fred for a bit, then (with no explanation as to the change) Charles. “In charge” of him were, respectively, THE KRANKIES, ANDREW O’CONNOR and JIMMY CRICKET. PAT COOMBS and JIM BOWEN cranked the handle from time to time. And told a few jokes to boot.



  1. gman

    April 17, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Now all I can think about is Jimmy Cricket wearing a Pringle jumper and singing “Don’t Be Mean Turn on the Joke Machine”.

  2. Joanne Gray

    February 18, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Didn’t Basil Brush also serve a period of pennance operating the “Joke” Machine? I’d have preferred to be chased down and ripped apart by the local hunt’s beagles.

    • Chris Stobart

      June 19, 2023 at 7:11 am

      Yes indeed – it was called Basil’s Joke Machine and had an irritating theme tune

  3. Applemask

    May 26, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Not to be confused with CBBC show of the same name from thirty years later with a marginally more sensical premise

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