The Telebugs (CITV, 1986-1987)
This is another CITV show from the 80s, and it’s a cartoon. Again, I only vaguely remember watching this at the time, but there are more than enough episodes online that brought the memories back. The Telebugs was all about the adventures of three robots, and I usually try to stay away from the comments like “the theme music was great!”, but I really am fond of this show’s theme, featuring lots of electronic and beeping noises.
The Telebugs were invented by Professor Brainstrain (along with his cat Grumble) to help people in trouble, and their names were rather awkward acronyms. There was the white Chip (Coordinated Hexadecimal Information Processor), the yellow Samantha (Solar Activated Micro Automated Non-inTerference Hearing Apparatus), and the red Bug (Binary Unmanned Gamma), accompanied by MIC (Mobile Independent Camera).
They are hired by Mr McStarch who works at a television company. Along the way they have to deal with a lot of enemies, including Baron Bullybyte and Angel Brain, Arcadia the orange-haired punk who is a computer games fan, and Zudo (Zero-failure Universal Data Optimizer), a bad version of a Telebug, but despite the occasional cliffhanger, of course they always save the day. Their escapades are often breathlessly reported by the news presenter Freda.
One of the things that I liked about The Telebugs was that their faces appeared on TV screens, and they would often change to show other images, accompanied by the suitable 80s computer noises. When they had to come into action, Chip would say “all systems – go telesonic!” (which was the show’s catchphrase), and then they would fly through the air to their destination. Also, the majority of the voices were provided by Ron Moody.
The Telebugs ran for 86 five-minute long episodes that were shown on CITV over a year or two, then they were repeated rather frequently for a while, and it was also shown it lots of other countries. There was also some merchandise, a lot of episodes from the first series were released on VHS, along with some books featuring some more stories, but I don’t remember ever having any of those. It seems that there were some toys made of the characters too, I do wish I’d had some of those to play with when I was younger.
Although it didn’t really become as popular with viewers as other CITV cartoons from around the same time including the classic Danger Mouse, I did enjoy The Telebugs. I think that there were some entertaining ideas, and if there ever is a DVD release, I would definitely consider buying it. I wonder if Chip is able to calculate the chances of that happening any time soon.