Inspired by the triumphant and long-overdue returns of The Clangers and Thunderbirds – and excited at the imminent comeback of the amazing, the fantastic, the greatest secret agent in the world (Danger Mouse) – we’ve put our minds to the question…
Which other classic kids’ TV shows could be on the list for a 21st Century revival?
Here’s our five rose-tinted suggestions:
This show ran for nearly nine years, becoming more blatantly pantomime as it went on (particularly when Dobbin the Pantomime Horse became a regular).
But its premise is both simple and brilliant – in fact it would be easy to believe that it might have been commissioned on the basis of the title alone. Probably the only effects-heavy show of the 1970s that could lay claim to having had even less money than Doctor Who, its visuals have unquestionably dated.
However, its often-slapstick style is still child-friendly, and with the quality of effects work available to television today it’s no wonder that rumours of a revival have been circulating on and off for years.
So there’s still plenty of time for Rentaghost to return from the dead. Let’s just hope the theme tune is retained – I’m sure you’re humming it right now. Gadzooks!
Alongside Doctor Who and Quantum Leap, Mr Benn is one of the few shows in the entire history of TV where the format allows the lead character to have a totally different style of adventure each week.
As long as the enigmatic shopkeeper (he wears a fez – I’m just saying!) has an appropriate costume then Mr Benn (something of an enigma himself – surely his first name can’t actually be Mister?) can be transformed and transported… anywhere.
Looking at it now, as an adult in his 40s, part of the beauty is the simplistic, childish animation – but to a child in the 1970s that didn’t even register, it was the excitement of the journey into the unknown that was the main appeal.
And that’s before we even consider that, with his suit and bowler, Mr Benn looks to be a cog in the corporate machine. With his rebellious sidesteps into the costume shop, is he in fact the Reggie Perrin of the pre-schooler?
It would be hyperbole and hype (and h-inaccurate) to describe this as ‘like Broadchurch for school kids’ but the essence of Puzzle Trail was a mystery (although to be honest, more of the ‘buried treasure’ than the ‘gruesome murder’ variety) to which the audience would get various clues from different characters over the season.
It endeavoured to put a different spin on the show each year, with a range of different hosts from Davy Jones of the Monkees to Tommy Boyd (now there’s a name from the past – whatever happened to him?)
A modern revamp of Puzzle Trail could really ramp up the ‘guest characters’ in the wake of the success of programmes like Little Britain and The Fast Show. And in this modern technological age the clunky old vehicle of telephoning (01 if you’re outside London) or heaven help us writing in (Wood Lane, W12 8QT of course) would be done away with, allowing the mystery-solving viewers to interact live via text or twitter or t’email.
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