TV Cream

Radio 4: The Programmes

Trumpton Riots

SUBLIME filling of the popular-cultural no-man’s-land between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day with a set of short but charming mini-documentaries on a handful of erstwhile childrens’ TV favourites too old to still be ‘on’ but too recent to be properly nostalgised over yet: Tiswas, Play School, Vision On, the Smallfilms ouvre, Crackerjack, an odds-and-ends collection taking in Bill & Ben/Trumptonshire/Fingerbobs/Captain Pugwash/Mr Benn, and most infamously of all, a startling look back at the rivalry between Blue Peter and Magpie, peppered with guarded inter-presenter verbal barbs and hinting at all manner of shadowy The Fourth K-esque management power struggles behind the scenes. No wonder Noakes and Shep were so keen to ‘Go’! Packed to the ‘white void’ studio rafters with original contributors and bizarre anecdotes about stolen Teds, incinerated Mintons, foul-mouthed Clangers, New York taxi drivers shouting ‘COMPOST CORNER!’, ‘baby bump’-concealing scenery, Hamble-torture, Gilliam/Yellow Sumbarine-emulation, Leo Sayer fuming at theft of trademark ‘perm’, hypothermia-afflicted future Doctor Whos, backstage Play School joint-toking, and sticking two fingers up at Noel Edmonds, and with nary a second-rate standup doing that counting an imaginary ‘witty’ list off on their fingers thing in sight, this was – in a very real sense – what they want. Not to mention inspiring someone, somewhere to upload a handful of Fred Harris JPEGs…



  1. Applemask

    December 26, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Named in honour of Half Man Half Biscuit, so it must have ruled.

  2. Brian Rowland

    January 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Discovering that Gordon Murray voluntarily burnt Trumptonshire ruined that Christmas. Fab series though, and I always rather the liked the ‘What-am-I-doing-here?’-style narration. Jenny Hanley sounded particularly bemused reading her Crackerjack script. As if she was trying in vain to remember that she was its presenter at some point, only to find that she hadn’t been.

  3. Applemask

    January 2, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    It’s not even my era and I want Gordon Murray to face some kind of reckoning.

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