TV Cream

TV: O is for...

Our Backyard

LUGBURIOUS LUNCHTIME fare for kids fronted by a cartoon seagull, whose chief job was to fill in the wearied viewer on the show’s never-changing location. “At the back! You know! The back! Not the front! But the back!” Cheers. The song went on to reassure: “It’s safe to play in our backyard,” a hint at the darkening times ahead. Three inhabitants populated the eponymous locale: Jean, a fully-grown woman, Laura, who was Jean’s offspring, and about five years old, and Peter, a fully-grown man in body but a gooning ape in mind and sense of so-called humour. His role in the household was somewhat undefined since he definitely wasn’t Laura’s father (this, in the days before the Child Support Agency, so possibly Jean had resorted to sponging off whatever gullible loser she could find as a last alternative to the game). The show then unfolded with various dull songs, stories, and activities, whose raison d’etre was ostensibly to give the uncharismatic, and resolutely difficult-to-please child Laura something to do to keep her off the streets, but was in reality to give the uncharismatic, and resolutely difficult-to-please child-man Peter something to do to keep him off the streets. Jean was aided/hindered in her efforts by the Band Next Door, a sub-Rod, Jane and Freddy three-piece, whose singer bore some physical resemblance to Carol Leader but who was not actually fit to tie the shoelaces of the PLAY SCHOOL loveangel. One of their songs, designed to coincide with a simple cookery feature on making Coconut Ice, went “Pink and nice, coconut ice”. Repeat, ad nauseum.



  1. gman

    June 16, 2010 at 10:50 pm


    • Tom Ronson

      October 24, 2022 at 4:58 am

      Yep, that just about sums it up for me as well. I’ve just watched the title sequence on YouTube and it triggered a Proustian rush of memories of school holiday bleakness. It’s lunchtime, pissing down outside, and the only thing on telly is this.

  2. Chris Stobart

    February 17, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Don’t forget the foreign stereotype puppets living the other side – Boris and Doris Macaroni. I still remember one time when he thought he’d wet his bed and then they found it was just his hot water bottle had burst.

  3. Tom Ronson

    March 31, 2022 at 2:17 am

    This and Let’s Pretend were the nadir of mid-eighties Children’s ITV. What was the fucking point?

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