Bug Alert (GMTV, 1996-1997, Channel 4, 2000)
You might remember when I said that I used to enjoy the programming for younger viewers at the weekend during TV-am. Well in the mid-90s, even though I was a little older and almost past the point where I would watch children’s TV regularly, I wondered what the equivalent was that was offered by TV-am’s successor GMTV. So for a while I set the video for Saturday mornings, to determine what would be my favourites from their mixture of puppets, cartoons, and so on.
One that I did enjoy was Bug Alert. This was a show that was set in a kitchen and featured puppets who were various types of creepy crawlies, and we would see what they would get up to while there were no humans around. There was a rather enjoyable mix of odd characters and among those providing the voices was Francis Wright who also voiced The Head on CITV’s Art Attack for many years.
These included Grub Bug, who liked his food and was rather moody, Mystic Mug, a green creature with a crystal ball, Doodle Bug, who looked like they had been made out of a dirty old cloth, Plug Bug, who was silver and had a rather large nose, Buggin the worm, Grunge and Slopp, who were both green, seemed to have old mops on their head and spoke in that American “totally bogus, dude”-type voice, and Gorgon and Zola, who often told terrible jokes.
There were also some features on Bug Alert, including creative ideas in Raid The Fridge where Grub Bug would make a meal, In The Bin, where Doodle Bug would make things out of pieces of paper, and Through The Cat Flap, where something would be observed from a cat’s point of view. There would also be a Teletubbies-style interlude showing people doing everyday activities.
As far as I know, Bug Alert was never known on CITV, and after a gap of a few years the third and final series was shown on Channel 4 in their early-morning weekend children’s slot. There was also a slight format change, as the show was now set in a restaurant called Bug Bites which only ever seemed to have one customer. There was the usual amount of chaos though along with the regular characters and features.
A lot of the 78 of episodes of Bug Alert have been released on VHS and DVD, and it seems that it was repeated for a few years after it ended. I must admit that I did enjoy it, although I’m not sure how many people ever saw it as it only ever seemed to be shown on the TV at around 7am. I can’t be the only one who remembers this show though I’m sure.