ChuckleVision (CBBC, 1987-2009)
ChuckleVision was the long-running show that featured the comedy adventures of the bungling brothers Paul and Barry Chuckle from Rotherham. After being on the scene for a long time, in 1987 they got their own show, which was usually shown on Saturday mornings, and the first edition debuted on the same day as the launch of Going Live! The first couple of series were set in the studio and featured a sketch format and a couple of regular features, as the brothers cast their eye on various subjects.
The third series featured a change with the show now having a sitcom format and the introduction of the famous title sequence, and the brothers became hapless handymen, seemingly taking on just about every job going, and not being particularly good at any of them. Of course there was always someone who turned up occasionally who hired them and warned “no slacking”, only to come back and find there was chaos. There were also a few other memorable catchphrases including “oh dear, oh dear” and “silly you!”.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about ChuckleVision was its longevity, it just came back year after year and it eventually ran for 21 series and almost 300 episodes that ran for 15 or 20 minutes, most of which were also repeated rather frequently on the CBBC Channel, and there aren’t that many other children’s shows that have been consistently popular for over two decades. In the mid-90s the Chuckles also had their own game show spin-off To Me… To You… which was good fun too, Harry Hill guest-starred in an episode, and there has also been a successful stage version of the show.
Just to pick out a couple of episodes that I remember making me laugh a lot at the time, one was “Lottery Lunacy” which was first shown in 1996. The brothers want to play the lottery, but firstly they have some difficulty choosing their numbers, and then it all turns into something of a farce as they constantly lose the pound coin that they need to play the game and chase it around everywhere. There was also another good one which was set in a circus where the big show goes all wrong.
The first two series of ChuckleVision have been released on DVD, although the packaging is a little disappointing. The episodes are spread over too many discs and are in rather flimsy cases, it seems that a filmised effect has been added to the episodes which is a real no-no, and the series seem to be being released at a rate of about one every three years, but we should be grateful that they are being released at all I suppose, with the third series coming soon. Although it seems that ChuckleVision has now ended on TV, Paul and Barry are very much still around and I’m sure they will probably be appearing in a pantomime in a town near you soon.