Bric-A-Brac (BBC1, 1980-1982)
One children’s TV personality that I haven’t written much about on this blog who appeared on lots of shows throughout the years is Brian Cant. He became popular with lots of viewers for hosting various shows including Play Away and Dappledown Farm in a career that spanned decades, but this is just about the only show that I remember watching that he featured in, so I thought it was worth reviewing this one.
This is a show that was part of the See-Saw strand, I’m fairly sure it was never shown during the main CBBC afternoon strand. Now one of the things that was notable about See-Saw was that shows would introduced with a picture of the various characters that featured in them on an actual see-saw. But because Bric-A-Brac (not to be confused with the similarly-titled Chockablock that I reviewed recently) was just about the only show in this strand that didn’t contain animation or puppetry, it was represented by a black-and-white picture of Brian usually alongside a figure like King Rollo which always looked rather odd.
The idea behind Bric-A-Brac is that it was set in a tatty old junk shop, which contained items that even Steptoe And Son would probably reject for being too shoddy. Then flatcap-wearing shopkeeper Brian would enter. Every edition was themed around one letter of the alphabet, and the challenge for Brian was to look for everything in the shop which began with that letter. It wasn’t a very busy shop, clearly.
So, for example, if the letter was G, Brian would point to various things he could see from globes to gloves. He’d also use as many words that began with that letter as he could for some alliterative fun. When time was up, Bric-A-Brac would often end with Brian showing off a rather old clockwork toy over the credits (that consisted of about three people) before leaving the shop (and the sign on the shop’s door said “back soon!”).
There were two series of Bric-A-Brac, and there were 13 editions made which isn’t a huge amount, but there are only so many letters in the alphabet of course, and every edition was about ten minutes long. They were originally shown on BBC1 in the early-80s, long before I came along, but like most other See-Saw shows they were repeated rather frequently, and I saw some of them during a repeat run in the late-80s, almost a decade after they were made.