Fingermouse (BBC1, 1985)
This is a show that I think was first shown as part of the main CBBC afternoon strand, but it’s yet another one that I remember seeing for the first time when it when it was shown during BBC2’s See-Saw strand for the younger viewers in the late-80s. In 1972, a children’s TV show launched called Fingerbobs which was a big success, and over a decade later, there was this spin-off series.
Fingermouse was hosted by Iain Lauchlan, who was also known for hosting Play School around the same time, who played The Music Man. The main character in the show though was Fingermouse, who wasn’t very high-tech, it really was just a piece of grey paper made into a cone, which had some eyes stuck on it, and then had some whiskers and ears added, and worn on the end of the index finger. But when you’re about five years old, it was very impressive.
Every week, Iain would introduce us to a different musical instrument, such as a piano, drum, or trumpet, and explain to us how it is played, and Fingermouse would help out with this. There was also a great opening sequence where Fingermouse played lots of instruments, and this included a great visual effect that looked like there were several of them all doing this at the same time.
There would also be some stories told as Fingermouse wandered around outside in the garden, and these would be accompanied by some finger puppets of other animals, including rats, foxes, and birds, and all of these looked like there were made out of a piece of card too. It was definitely a novel way of entertaining the youngsters, and help introduce them to various types of music.
If after all of this viewers were getting the urge to make a Fingermouse themselves, then there was some good news. Most editions would end with an address where you could send off for a factsheet that showed you how to make a Fingermouse, along with some of the other characters. Now I never did this myself, but I’m sure that lots of people did. I imagine that they will still have them.
There were 13 editions of Fingermouse, and they were all 15 minutes long. It might seem like there were a lot more than that though, and that’s because this is another one that was repeated rather frequently, being shown on BBC1 and BBC2 until as late as 1994, almost a decade after it was made. I don’t recall there ever being any episodes released on VHS though.