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Once Upon A Time… Man

The Reformation? Check! Old Beardy cracks a howler about Hegelian dualism

WELL-REMEMBERED if pretentiously-titled Gallic cartoonery, aiming to encapsulate all of human history in now-serious, now-jokey cartoon form. Educational value somewhat in doubt, as regular characters throughout time, according to this show, included a hyperactive monkey, an old bloke with a white beard that covered his entire body, and a calendar with limbs and eyes. Boasted officially the scariest title sequence of all children’s television, as, to the cheery sounds of Bach’s doom-laden Toccata and Fugue, the evolution of life was squeezed into 60 terrifying seconds beginning with amoebas in the dust and ending with – aaaargh! – a man running for his life to climb into a space rocket and escape the full-blown fuck-off total destruction of earth.

What's Barnaby doing here, then?The long march beginsLeg it!Too late!



  1. Applemask

    August 10, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    What’s so pretentious about the title, apart from the fact that it’s French?

    “Man” I don’t remember. It was always “Space” and “Life” on Channel 4 mornings as a kid.

  2. JackHargreavesLives

    August 11, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Did the titles include the violin players with the oval, blank metal faces? Not that was scary.

  3. Ste1bro

    August 11, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    …’Man’ was the one I remember.

    I vividly recall an episode about stone age man, mainly because the female characters were drawn completely topless for the entire episode, nipples and everything. At 10 o’clock in the morning!

    Oooh, the scandal!

  4. Applemask

    May 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Yeah, well, that’s the French for you.

  5. Lee James Turnock

    May 26, 2010 at 3:37 pm
    I like the way the rapidly evolving man suddenly acquires a loincloth…

  6. Danforth

    May 27, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Violin players with oval metal faces? That would be Rondo Venezziano:

    I didn’t discover “Space” until I was a teenager. I remember being unimpressed at the amount of speculative science fiction it contained – I’d hoped for more fact-based larks along the lines of the other series.

    I keep meaning to learn French, so I can buy the DVD boxed sets!

  7. richardpd

    October 9, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Yes that’s Barnaby The Bear (aka Coragol, Jeremy, never Jack or James!) as the Procidis logo.

    Quite a bit of violence was featured along the way, with whippings, beheadings & other gore.

    Most of the characters were “played” by a standard set of “players”, including the above mentioned old man with overgrown hair & beard.

    The later series expanded the cast of players.

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