Superted (CBBC, 1983-1986)
This is yet another show that was a hit with many viewers including myself in the 80s and beyond. Superted began as a series of books (although I don’t remember having any of these). In the early-80s it transferred to TV as a cartoon, and just like Fireman Sam, as well as the CBBC show, there was also a version that was in Welsh and shown on S4C.
As the opening sequence explained, at a toy factory one day where teddy bears are manufactured, one reject is thrown away as it is considered to be rubbish. While he is lying there, a rocket spaceship lands, and an alien takes pity upon the poor bear, who takes him away. He is then given some cosmic dust which transforms him. Now this might sound a rather ridiculous idea for a show, but it’s really no more far-fetched than the similar superhero cartoon Bananaman that was shown on CBBC around the same time.
Superted’s rescuer Spotty (not to be confused with the one in the Bash Street Kids) was a yellow alien who came from the planet Spot, and he would also become his good friend. We also got to meet Spotty’s family on his home planet. Whenever he says the magical secret word, he transforms in Superted, and then along with Spotty (with his jetpack) he often flies around the world and beyond to help out people in need because they had usually ran into a group of enemies.
The main one of these was Texas Pete, along with his team that also included a rather dozy skeleton, and the even dozier Bulk, but they would always be defeated, whatever it took. Superted also had the great catchphrase “pulsating prunes!”. There was a lot of talent providing the voices, including Derek Griffiths, Jon Pertwee, and Roy Kinnear. There were 36 episodes made of Superted, and most of them ran for about eight minutes. The closing theme song was also very memorable.
Superted was another success, and following on from the books, many episodes were released on VHS, along with a computer game. There was also for a short while a comic strip on the children’s page in Radio Times (just like there was for the CBBC cartoon Jimbo And The Jet Set). In 1986, Superted appeared in a public information film that taught youngsters about road safety. This has also been shown on TV and he briefly became a mascot for the Green Cross Code.
Now when I recorded some shows during a Saturday morning on GMTV in 1997, I remember that this PIF turned up during one of the advert breaks. I thought that it was a little odd that it was still being shown as the show had ended for over a decade by this point, and I’m not sure how many viewers would’ve remembered Superted. Having said that though, the show was still being repeated on BBC2 as late as 1996, so maybe they did. But either way, it was nice to know that he cared about us.