The 100 Greatest Children’s TV Shows (Channel 4, 2001)
A while ago, Channel 4 seemed to be rather fond of Top 100 lists shows. I have already looked back at The 100 Greatest TV Adverts, but I thought that this one was worth a review too, partly because the day that I publish this piece is the 20th anniversary of when this was first shown. One reason that these shows did fairly well is because they managed to fill three or four hours on a Bank Holiday evening.
And it was also because people could debate what shows they felt were worthy of being on the list. As this one was all about children’s TV, there was a chance that this could be the ultimate nostalgia trip, because just about everyone has fond memories of what they watched in their youngest years. The host was Jamie Theakston, who by this point had left CBBC’s Live & Kicking, and was moving into TV for the grown-ups.
Jamie would also be joined by some of the most enduring children’s favourites, including Sooty and Sweep, although neither of them had to much to say for themselves. It’s always a difficult decision to decide what you think should be featured, and comparing different decades and shows in different genres, such as cartoons, drama, and puppetry, is an almost impossible thing to do really.
By this point, we knew what we were going to get with this type of show. As always, there were lots of moments from these shows taken from the archive, some not being shown for the first (or even the tenth) time. The contributions from people who worked on the shows:sarcastic comedians who watched them ratio was just about the average. Do you remember HR Pufnstuf? No? And we also got some rather useless on-screen facts. But look, there’s Fred Dinenage!
What would turn out to be the winner of all this? Well beating everything else, including Danger Mouse, and Grange Hill, and even good old Rainbow would you believe, who all put up a good challenge but just missed out, was The Simpsons. This was a rather odd choice as although it is a TV classic, it has never been a show intended for only a younger audience. I can only wonder where this would feature on a list complied today.