Playbus (CBBC, 1988-1989)/Playdays (CBBC, 1989-1997)
This a CBBC show that was aimed at the youngest TV viewers. Play School had been running for almost 25 years, and I do just about remember watching it. But in 1988 it was replaced by a new show called Playbus. It was shown on weekday mornings, and every day the bus would arrive at a different stop. Over the years it featured lots of memorable characters, let’s take a look a what was on offer.
Monday: The Why Bird Stop. A puppet bird would ask questions, accompanied by a bus driver, who seemed to change every other week. There was also a computer with big buttons, which when pressed would reveal various things.
Tuesday: The Playground Stop. There were lots of fun and games. One of the characters was a puppet called Lizzie who would sing various songs, along with lots of stories, along with a furry blue thing called Chester who also appeared on CBBC game show Get Your Own Back.
Wednesday: The Dot Stop. One of my favourites, mostly because it was rather odd. A mute woman called Dot who wore a polka-dot outfit was very excited by numbers and shapes. Again, Dot was played by lots of different people, including one who liked to play the violin. There would also be songs and things made. This was dropped in 1992 though for…
Wednesday: The Roundabout Stop. This was where Mr Jolly (who again was played by about four people, there was a rather alarming turnover of cast on this show) along with others would look for clues, and when they put them all together they revealed a nursery rhyme that they then would all sing (and you can all sing along at home too). The highlight for me though was Morris And Millie’s Numerical Melodies, where two very tatty-looking puppets sang about why they liked numbers.
Thursday: The Patch Stop. A small doll called Peggy Patch toured around the country along with various human co-hosts to discover more about the world.
Friday: The Tent Stop. Another one of my favourites, this was where a cast would perform a story, by grabbing various props and costumes. They would be accompanied by Humphrey (who had a moustache that twirled around), and Wobble the clown. This lasted until 1995, when it was replaced by…
Friday: The Poppy Stop. Adventures with an annoying cat puppet, usually accompanied by Why Bird and Peggy Patch. When the bell rang it was time to go. There would also be the occasional special at the end of the year at The Christmas Tree Stop.
Playbus changed its name to Playdays in December 1989, but it carried on in the same style. There were also some editions released on VHS, along with a magazine, and even a tour. Playdays was also shown in an afternoon slot. Over 1,000 editions had been made by the time it ended in 1997, when it was replaced by Teletubbies, which didn’t do too badly. There were also repeat runs on the CBBC On Choice strand in 2000 (which were a real flashback), and on CBeebies until as late as 2004.