Metal Mickey (ITV, 1980-1983)
This is a sitcom that I don’t remember from the time, but I am aware that it was successful in the early-80s and became a big part of the pop culture of that era, so I thought that I would have a look on YouTube to find out more for myself. Metal Mickey was a robot character that first appeared on TV on The Saturday Banana in 1978, and he soon became popular with viewers of all ages.
So in 1980 the decision was made to give him his own spin-off sitcom on ITV. All of the episodes were written by Colin Bostock-Smith (who contributed to every other comedy show in the 80s). Mickey is invented by Ken Wilberforce, who is aiming to create a robot that can help around the house. But one day he magically comes to life and develops a personality of his own.
Mickey lives with the Wilberforce family, the children Ken, Steve and Haley, along with their parents and granny. Their next-door neighbour Janey often features too. Mickey had red eyes, blue ears, plenty of flashing lights, and he could also rotate his head 360 degrees. He could even travel through time. He really was a metal man. His favourite food is Atomic Thunderbusters, and his catchphrase was “boogie boogie”, that was often said when he was pleased with himself.
Mickey always tries to be helpful, but ends up causing chaos. The Wilberforces do eventually became fond of him though, and he also has affectionate nicknames for the family, including “fruitbat” and “stringbean”. As the episodes pass, we see Mickey in lots of situations, such as helping out the children at school because he is very clever, and even trying to become a pop star.
Mickey became popular enough to appear on lots of other shows around at the time, including Razzmatazz, 3-2-1, and Tiswas, and you would also often find him on the cover of Lookin. Mickey was also fond of pop music, he could play songs, and even made some of his own. He released several singles between 1979-1983 on his own Mickeypops label (including “The Fruitbat Rap”), but I don’t think that any of them were big hits. There were also some annuals too.
Metal Mickey was a rather daft sitcom, but it did well for ITV in the Saturday evening slot. The show is also notable for being produced by Micky Dolenz from The Monkees, and best of all, there was a guest appearance in one of the later episodes from none other than Hazel O’Connor. There were 39 episodes in four series. The first two were released by Network, I never got round to buying them, but the last two weren’t for some reason.