Tots TV (CITV, 1993-1998)
This is another CITV show that was part of the “for younger viewers” strand. I do remember watching regularly, and I was 28 at the time, oh yes. Well although I actually was past the age to be watching shows like this even in the early-90s, I was interested in seeing it as it was part of a new wave of shows that launched on CITV in 1993, along with the likes of Wizadora, so I thought that I should give it a try.
Tots TV was another production by Ragdoll, who knew a thing or two about making children’s TV shows that stand out. As the song in the opening sequence explained, this was a show featuring three child puppets who were rather curious about discovering the world, and watched people doing activities that they wanted to try themselves. There was the blue-haired Tom, the green-haired Tiny, and the red-haired Tilly who spoke French (meaning that when the show was sold to France she spoke English).
They all lived together in a big house, and some of the stories happened there, and there were also some made on location. “What will we see?” they often wondered (no-one ever seemed to notice them though, in a similar style to Rosie And Jim). The only other regulars were their friend Donkey (who, as you might’ve guessed, was a donkey), and a small puppet dog called Furryboo that they didn’t know lived in the house with them. There was also a magic bag that played a part, but remember it’s a secret.
There were a huge amount of episodes made, but if I did have to pick out a highlight (and I do realise the absurdity of having a Tots TV highlight), I remember when the tots seemed to have a falling out with each other. It became rather tense, and the term “you’re a banana” was used rather a lot. Well it was more hot-headed then your average night in the Big Brother house!
Tots TV survived the timeslot change from 12:10pm to 3:30pm in 1993 (“when the clock says half-past three” and all that), and it was shown very regularly for a while. Tots TV became popular enough for several episodes to be released on VHS, and it also won a Bafta. Rather surprisingly, the show had a second wave of fame when it was repeated on the CBeebies Channel in the 2000s. I can’t think of many other shows that have been shown on both a CBBC and CITV channel, maybe it’s simply because so many people are fond of the characters.