Tickle On The Tum (CITV, 1984-1988)
This is a show that I don’t remember seeing too much first time around, partly because I think I was still in nappies when it began on CITV, but I did rediscover it recently, and here’s how. A while ago I found some old tapes from the mid-80s. After the afternoon film that I presume was the thing that was intended to be recorded ended, the tape was left running so it also included the start of the day’s CITV, the first programme being Tickle On The Tum.
It was very interesting seeing it again all these years later. The show is set in a corner shop in the fictional town of the amusingly named Tickle and the earliest series were hosted by the folk singer Ralph McTell who is best known for his hit single “Streets Of London”. Every week he would be joined by someone who lived in the village, such as a teacher or a postman, and they would then go on to tell a short story which also featured illustrations.
All these characters were played by various celebrities such as Bill Oddie, Penelope Keith, Tim Healy, and many others. After the end of the story they would then tell some jokes that had been sent in by viewers, and they were really corny old ones such as “Why did the hedgehog cross the road? To see his flatmate” which seemed to cause a lot of embarrassed laughter.
At the end, Ralph would then whip out his guitar or maybe even sit down at the piano and finish with a short song that everyone would have a dance to. Every episode is about ten minutes long and it was good finding a couple on some old tapes, I can imagine that it must have been very popular with the CITV viewers of that era. So I decided to try and find out a little more about the show, and was surprised at the results.
Firstly, it seems that the first series of Tickle On The Tum has been released on DVD and is definitely worth a look because surprisingly little CITV material is available to buy, and it really is about time that changed. The remaining later series remain unreleased, however. Also, it seems that in the 90s the show was regularly repeated on the long-gone satellite channel Granada Plus, I don’t know why a channel like ITV3 has never repeated anything like this, I’m sure it would be well received.
Tickle On The Tum is definitely an enjoyable show, and it is best remembered now by most viewers because of an amusing outtake that turned up in an edition of It’ll Be Alright On The Night. How terrific.