The Great Bong (ITV/Channel 4, 1993-1994-ish)
Recently I bought some old editions of TV Times online, hoping to bring back some memories of various shows that I watched. One of them was from 1994 and covered the HTV region. Even though I’ve never been there myself, I still thought that it would be interesting to look at. I started by looking at Saturday’s schedule on ITV which reminded me of when I used to watch the CITV Saturday Morning show, which was followed by another favourite of mine The Chart Show.
Then following this was the 12:30pm timeslot where I remember various shows were tried out including Movies Games And Videos, rotten sitcom The Munsters Today, some game show that was hosted by Dominik Diamond, and many others. On this day I noticed that in this slot there was a show called The Great Bong. I don’t ever remember seeing this myself, I don’t think that it was ever shown on CITV or in my region LWT, and the description made me rather curious as to what the show was all about, so I asked on Twitter if anyone knew anything more about it.
I was told that it was a children’s show which contained puppets, and after seeing a picture I thought that they looked a little like the cast of The Winjin’ Pom, a show that I really enjoyed in the early-90s and it was one of the first that I wrote about on here, but I don’t think that it’s made by the same people. I was also told that the voices were provided by Stanley Unwin (who voiced Bong), Michael Bentine (Spudley), Spike Milligan (Ogmore) and Barbara Windsor (Mabel), which is a rather impressive cast. So I began to think to myself, this sounds good, I would like to see some of this, is there any on YouTube?
So I had a look and discovered that there was, although it comes to about two minutes worth, only the opening and closing sequences. It seems that the main character was a magician called Bong who lived in an old oak tree who was always creating crazy spells and they all have various adventures. It also seems that 26 episodes were made and they were shown on Channel 4 on early Sunday mornings, and also on HTV as well because they co-produced the show.
The Great Bong seems to be a rather odd show, I probably would have become a fan and watched it regularly if I had ever seen it in the early-90s. However, there isn’t a huge amount about the show online and it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry, but it is always good to track down something curious almost 25 years after it first appeared on TV because just when I think I’ve come across them all I still get surprised.