Allsorts (CITV, 1986-1995)
Until 1993, as well as the weekday afternoon strand, there would also be a CITV show on ITV at around noon, which would always be described as “for younger viewers”, as it would usually be aimed at the under-fives (although I probably continued to watch many of these shows long after I was five years old). I have already reviewed a few shows that featured in this slot including Rainbow and Wizadora, and here’s another fun one that I remember watching.
Allsorts was a show that usually ran for about 10 or 15 minutes. The main characters who appeared in every series were Jiffy (moonlighting from running his pirate radio station with his friend Clive the kangaroo), and of course Bonzo and his marvellous fashion sense. There were a few other cast members who joined in, I do remember that in the early series there was a dog called Spike (who was actually someone dressed as a dog), and their look reminded me a bit of that sitcom that used to be on BBC3 at about midnight that had a talking dog and Elijah Wood in it or something, I’m fairly sure I didn’t imagine it.
The basic idea of Allsorts was that in every edition stories would be told and songs would be sung, and this would be an attempt to, gulp, make learning fun. In later series things were stirred up a little with a few new cast members joining Jiffy and Bonzo, including from the fifth series a talking box, who was called, er, Box, Mouldy the mole, and that woman off Emmerdale.
Allsorts eventually ran for just short of a decade and over 200 editions on CITV, although for some reason the final two series were renamed Gigglish Allsorts. I’m sure like lots of other people I watched plenty of them over the years. It is also noted that Russell T Davies wrote a few shows before conquering the world with Doctor Who. Other memorable shows that were in this strand include The Riddlers and Thomas The Tank Engine and they will also be reviewed soon.