The Kid (1986)
One of the reasons I set up this blog was to share memories of TV shows from years ago. These include the famous and popular shows that make a lot of people say “I remember that, it was great”. Then there are the less famous shows that there is little about online that make people say “I don’t really remember that, but it sounds interesting”. Then there are the shows that made such little impact and were so odd the only response can really be “Huh? Did that actually happen?”.
I recently found an example of a show that fits into the third category, and this is the story behind it. I’m sure you know that I like to look at old continuity clips on YouTube, and a while ago I was watching one from BBC1 in the late-80s that featured the end of a children’s show that I don’t remember watching at the time, but it seemed rather interesting, and I was curious to find out more about it.
Then recently, while I was trying to find something else, I discovered that all 13 episodes are on YouTube. They were uploaded by “R4949” (who it seems also worked on the show), so at last I can do a review. The Kid was a dialogue-free series consisting of short comedy sketches (every episode was five minutes long), and the opening sequence resembled the pages of a comic strip coming to life.
The soundtrack featured some funky mid-80s synth music, accompanied by a few groans and squeals. The Kid featured a main cast of four characters who all got caught up in various adventures. They were The Kid, who had a red streak in his hair and a moustache, and drove a small pink car (Steve Fairnie, who also co-created the show), along with The Fat Man (Mike Savage), The Blonde (Debbie Linden), and The Girl (Nikki Brooks).
All of the action happened within a square in the centre of the screen (which sometimes changed shape based on what was happening), and episodes included The Kid trying to organise a party, waiting for a train, trying to take a photograph, having a picnic, and so on. It also seems that his catchphrase (as such) was wiggling his little finger when he finally managed to do something right.
The scheduling of The Kid was also rather curious. It seems that some episodes (dated 1986) were shown on BBC1 at 8:25am on Saturday Mornings in the summer of 1988 (although they are listed as repeats, I can’t find any editions listed on the BBC Genome from earlier than that). The same YouTube account has also put Steve Fairnie being interviewed about The Kid on The Children’s Channel from the early days of satellite TV in 1987, so it seems they were shown on there too.
It could be said that The Kid was a forerunner of similar dialogue-free shows including Mr Bean, but a better comparison would be CITV’s long-running show Zzzap! which launched about seven years later (and if you’re fond of that show, I’d recommend giving this one a go). Whatever the case, it is just so odd to think that this had such a short run on TV, and unsurprisingly it has no Wikipedia entry. Someone must’ve watched it at the time though. Whatever it was all about, I’m glad they did it.