SALUTARY LESSON IN how to piss away the goodwill of an entire nation of kids. First came sedate desks ‘n’ buzzers 60s incarnation with a few muted sketches and the Crackerjack Pencils as prizes (you couldn’t just write in and ask for one, y’know, you had to EARN it!). The sainted EAMONN ANDREWS, PIP HINTON and LESLIE CROWTHER kept things ticking over with the right modicum of underwhelmed enthusiasm. Then came, however, invasion of music hall slapstick courtesy of troupe comprising PETER GLAZE, DON MACLEAN, JAN HUNT, LEIGH MILES, GILLIAN COMBER, BERNIE CLIFTON and hosts MICHAEL ASPEL and/or ED ‘STEWPOT’ STEWART. Stretched credibility – and viewers’ ear drums – to limit whenever gang decided, “spontaneously”, to break out of some sketch or other to reprise contemporary popular song of dizzying unsuitedness, such as Bowie’s ‘Golden Years’ or ‘Something for the Girl with Everything’, originally by Sparks, now by MacLean as he assaulted Glaze with an old boot. Programme as a whole still tolerable, though, until the 80s hoved into view and format was tweaked again to bring us – oh dear God – camp commandant STU FRANCIS. Cue gunge, shouting, irritating meaningless catchphrases (“Ooh, I could crush a grape/rip a tissue/pummel a peach”), The Fucking Krankies, The Great Soprendo (admittedly the one decent bit in it: “See this glass of milk? You see it? Right, you see it? Now it has gone, yes!”), Chas’n’Dave theme (“Lumberjack? No! Steeplejack? No! Uncle Jack? No!”) and dolly bird “assistants” who fed shit jokes to Stu for shit one-liners no kid could possibly understand/find funny (gags about Charles Aznavour for fuck’s sake). They even dropped Double Or Drop. Whole wretched noisy mess mercifully axed by Michael Grade.