TV Cream

TV: W is for...

Why Don’t You?

FULL TITLE was, as everyone knows, the unfortunately ironic “Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set And Go Out And Do Something Less Boring Instead?” Hit and miss affair wherein a regional gang of stage school brats offered up Things To Do during the summer holidays. The Belfast Gang, The Cardiff Gang, The Geordie Gang…all became legends in their own lunchbreak. Recipe section (e.g. digestive biscuits crumbled up in milk) often an unfortunate metaphor for show as a whole. Tennis-ball-puppet-pops-out-of-box-held-by-hand joke slots jostle in the memory with that of the Dorris, an invisible creature who’d spook the kids at a whirlwind pace. RUSSELL T DAVIES was involved for a while. Can’t you tell?



  1. Great Bustard

    October 29, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    There were a couple of girls on this who suggested ghost hunting as a hobby, and got a short piece made about them where they went to an old church and sat there in the dark waiting for something spooky to happen. After they emerged one claimed something might have pulled her leg, and the team set up a little “ghost” special effect by showing a woman pushing a pram in the distance disappearing (they turned the camera on and off).

    It was the most frightening thing I’d ever seen – erm, no, not really, the real scary thing on Why Don’t You was The Dorris. One series ended with the whole gang lured into its dark trapdoor lair, never to be seen again. Strangely disturbing for a young ‘un.

  2. Ste

    October 30, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Two specific features etched into my brain:

    Three girls who would meet up after school and in the holidays to become “The Acorn Trio” – a three-piece classical string ensemble. Way too poncey for my liking.

    Some kid who collected stones and polished them in a special stone-polishing machine. Dull dull dull.

    I also recall a feature on collections – one of the gang brought in his “collection” of coloured vinyl – he only had about six! – one of them was a Matchbox single if I remember correctly.

  3. Dan Bidewell

    November 2, 2010 at 10:10 am

    I loved this programme! I am sure there was some sort of club viewers could also join, because somehow I got my hands on a “Why Don’t You” badge, which was of a face except it looked more like some washing hanging on a line. My favourite gang was one lot who seemed to live near the sea. I was convinced this programme was real, and longed ardently to find a “Why Don’t You” gang in south-east London that I could join;

  4. Andy

    May 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Best thing about this programme (like so many 80s TV programmes) was its theme tune! In fact that was often the only reason I watched it.

  5. Mike Bailey

    July 10, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    There was some stage-school drop-out called Ben (he was Welsh iirc) who seemed to have illusions of grandeur and pseudo-megalomania towards the end of WDY’s run. Used to wear a flat cap – presumably doomed to failure.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    January 14, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    Well if you did switch off your television set, there would be no point in watching the programme, but fair play to the show for encouraging kids to take up different hobbies and for people in places like Carmarthen to show off whatever off beat sporting activity they were interested in. Also later versions had a rock and roll type theme tune that was quite good.

  7. Tom Ronson

    October 25, 2022 at 6:20 pm

    There was a surprisingly durable urban myth that the original theme tune was the work of an uncredited Pete Townshend, presumably with an equally uncredited (and somehow still alive) Janis Joplin on lead vocals.

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