Sunday, 6 January 2013

30 Years of CITV!

On the 3rd January 1983 CITV hit British television screens for the first time hosted by Matthew Kelly in a strange spaceship set. This means this week it is celebrating 30 years! To mark the occasion this weekend Freeview channel CITV have been hosting an Old Skool Weekend where they have screened a variety of classic children's shows from the last 30 years. These have included Dangermouse, Count Duckula, Button Moon, Funhouse, Knightmare, Press Gang, Children's Ward, Woof, Puddle Lane, How 2, The Tomorrow People and Fraggle Rock! I have been watching quite a lot of these, and have loved reliving my childhood and childhood memories.

 It did make me feel slightly old and some of the shows like Woof! and Press Gang looked so dated. It really demonstrates how the quality of filming has improved, as well as reminding how quickly fashion dates!

The cartoons however still seemed to have their charm, and it was lovely to see hand drawn cartoons again instead of the computer generated digital cartoons children get shown today. Don't get me wrong I think some of the modern cartoons are very good and well done, but there is just something beautiful about the hand drawn cartoons of my childhood. As I was watching them I also noticed a lot of double-entendre in the humour which I had never noticed as a child. I do wonder if its just my now adult brain taking phrases and comments the wrong way, or whether the cartoonist and writers really did mean these shows to have moments which adults would find amusing too? There are also a lot of details especially in the backgrounds of Dangermouse which would surely be lost on a child but yet appreciated by the parents who were watching with their kids. I would even go as far as to say some of these programmes are wasted on kids! Tee hee!

Those of you who know me well, will remember I did my undergraduate dissertation on old children's television programmes, looking in particular at nostalgia and childhood. I chose The Clangers, Bagpuss, Rainbow and Dangermouse as my four examples to look at and to apply the various theories to. It was very enjoyable getting to watch these old shows and some of the theories were quite fascinating. However I do still feel it was a bit light for a dissertation topic, yet then again as I went on to work in museums with social history and popular culture as my specialist areas, not to mention working in a toy museum and then at another museum producing a childhood and toys exhibition, my dissertation did prove helpful! What did come through loud and clear when I was doing this study was the level of sentiment and importance adults still put on their childhood and programmes they watched, whatever generation they were and however good or bad their childhoods had actually been. They even still remembered the theme tunes word for word. But then again I surprised myself with how many I knew and could remember this weekend! There are some you just never forget like "He's the greatest, He's Fantastic, Wherever there is danger he'll be there"... or "Up above the streets and houses, Rainbow climbing high" and "In the heart of Transylvan-ia, In the Vampire Hall of Fame-yeah, There's not a vampire zanier than, Duckula!". It's amazing how much love we have for these sort of things!

I had lots of television shows that I liked as a child and quite a few of them have been on this weekend. My absolute favourites were Dangermouse, Count Duckula and Fraggle Rock. I also had a thing for Raggy Dolls and I can remember really enjoying The Tomorrow People but that could be because I had a crush on Kristian Schmid (Todd from Neighbours) who starred in it! I also remember enjoying others such as Postman Pat, Paddington and embarrassingly My Little Pony and Carebears!! Oh dear! Although my childhood was not always the happiest or easiest, and school life which I enjoyed and excelled at was also punctuated with bullying, I can still look back on certain things in my childhood with love and sentiment. These programmes are one of those things.

This weekend has been very enjoyable reliving my childhood. I also found myself remembering some of the innocence and naivety that I had as a child, and the thoughts I use to have when watching some of these shows. The way I use to look at the world or understand what was going on around me is so totally different to now. I look back on that time now with adult understanding, as well as the benefit of hindsight (as I am sure everyone does), and its easy to forget that you didn't always see things the same.  The hopes I had for the future seem so childish now and so naive! I really didn't have a clue! I also remember thinking my life would be so together by the time I was 30. I envisaged I would be married, with children of my own, in my own home with a job I enjoyed. How was I to know that by the time I was 30 I wouldn't have achieved any of this! Plus 30 seemed so old! But I am not going to get bogged down in the things that didn't work out as my childhood-self expected. Instead I am going to enjoy the rest of the 30 years celebrations and the television programmes I loved as a child! Happy 30th Birthday CITV!

Better be off, Fraggle Rock starts soon!

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