More TV Memories – Chockablock.

Chockablock (BBC1, 1981)

Just like there was a strand on ITV for shows aimed at younger viewers earlier in the day separate from the main CITV afternoon strand, there was also the equivalent on the BBC, and in the 80s this strand was known as See-Saw. One of the most memorable shows in this strand that aimed to make learning fun was Chockablock, which was originally shown in 1981.

One notable thing about Chockablock was that it had two hosts who alternated, Fred Harris (Chockabloke) and Carol Leader (Chockagirl) who both had plenty of experience in children’s TV. Harris also hosted other shows including Play School along with plenty of shows about computing, and he even turned up in ITV’s comedy sketch show End Of Part One. Remember that Fred is an artist who doesn’t like to work with amateurs. vlcsnap-00999

Every edition would begin with the host arriving in the buggy accompanied by the funky electronic theme music and then checking in. Chockablock featured a big machine that had plenty of flashing lights, big buttons, a TV screen, a non-working clock and a tape recorder. It looks like it had about one byte of memory which was a lot in those days. The host would then insert a block from the block stock (trying not to knock them all over). vlcsnap-00998

There would then be a sequence where various pictures would appear on the screen and the host would have to determine if they rhymed, along with some strange noises to indicate if they were right or not. They would also sing a nursery rhyme (accompanied by some illustrations) and viewers were asked to fill in the gaps with the words that rhymed as the tape recorder was rather unreliable. vlcsnap-01002

Another feature was Rockablock, which consisted of two segments that the host spun round until they could find the pictures that were words that rhymed. As this was a show that was presumably fairly short on money and time, the “make do and mend” attitude that had to be applied in those days came in useful when in one edition the wheel started to squeak loudly and Fred just carried on by saying (presumably an ad-lib) “er… I think the wheel needs some oil”. That’s the spirit! vlcsnap-01000

There were then be another song which would contain a lot of the words that had been featured in that edition, and it was a real chance for the host to show off their singing skills. Then that would be it, the host would check out, put their hardhat on, get back in their buggy and drive off. The show would then end with a shot of all the lights still flashing in the now empty studio which I always found a little eerie. Come back! vlcsnap-01004

Every edition of Chockablock was 15 minutes long, it was repeated regularly in the See-Saw slot on BBC1 and BBC2 until as late as 1989, and I’m fairly sure that I saw some of the editions in the latter repeat runs which entertained me in my younger days. Unfortunately, it is rumoured that not long after the repeat run ended some of the editions were wiped. That’s not nice is it.


CBBC Memories – Green Claws.

Green Claws (CBBC, 1989-1990)

It’s time for another CBBC show review, and this is one of those shows that when you look back it at as an adult makes you realise just what a bizarre idea it was, although it was definitely good fun. The main character in Green Claws was a rather odd-looking hairy old large green thing that wore glasses. I wonder if he was a distant relative of Fungus The Bogeyman?

He lived in a tatty old greenhouse, and as we’ll soon discover, he was fond of growing some rather unusual plants, he wasn’t good at much else. His best friend was a young woman called Iris who seemed to be fine with befriending such an unusual character, and she often called him “Claws”. He also owned a parrot called Percy. Every edition of Green Claws roughly followed the same format. vlcsnap-00911

A rather colourful seed would be chosen from a selection, and then this would be planted and watered, and then the pot would be placed in the secret growing place of the riddle tree. When it is fully grown, it will be announced by the owl called Owmla that sits in the tree. Fortunately, unlike Claws, Iris (whose catchphrase seemed to be “flying ambulances!”) is able to understand what the owl is saying and passes the message on. vlcsnap-00905

Also featuring was a part where Claws would tell an unusual story about one of his many relatives, and this would be accompanied by various illustrations. There would also be a part that was made on location featuring only Iris usually on her bike where a song would be performed. At the end of the edition, Owlma would announce that the plant was ready. vlcsnap-00902

Owlma would then ask three cryptic questions, and if Claws and Iris got them right (which they always did of course), the plant would finally be revealed. I remember this being one of my favourite parts of the show as the plants were always very creative, including things such as having multicoloured leaves, or leaves with various food such as cakes or ice creams that would soon be eaten. vlcsnap-00908

Every edition of Green Claws was 15 minutes long, and I do remember enjoying it first time round, although it seems that none were ever released on VHS. As well as being shown on CBBC, it was also regularly repeated on BBC2 well into the mid-90s. And it was yet another one of those shows that was repeated on the CBBC On Choice strand around 2000, which as you should know by now I used to be very fond of as it mostly consisted of repeats of CBBC shows from the late-80s/early-90s. vlcsnap-00948

I was pleased that Green Claws was among the shows that was repeated, and not only did I enjoy seeing it about a decade on from its original run, watching it again now about three decades after it was first shown on CBBC was still an enjoyable experience. It was clearly a show that had a lot of imagination put into it, and I’m still a little disappointed that plants don’t really grow cakes on their leaves.

The story so far…

Around this time of year I like to do an update, and recently I did a list of the TV shows that I have yet to review on this blog, so here is a now rather long list of the shows that I have reviewed already. If you like the look of anything that you might find interesting or think will bring back memories, why not take a look at the piece, it’d be great to know what you think!

Ad Fab
The Adam And Joe Show
The Adventure Game
The Adventures Of Captain Zeelig
The Adventures Of Sam And Max: Freelance
After You’ve Gone
All Clued Up
All Over The Shop
The Alphabet Game
Ant And Dec Unzipped
The Armstrong And Miller Show
Art Attack
As If
Ask The Family
Atlantis High
Auntie’s Bloomers
Babes In The Wood
Bad Influence
Bang Bang It’s Reeves And Mortimer
Bargain Hunt
Beat The Teacher
Bid TV
Big Break
The Big Breakfast
Big Brother
Big Train
The Biggest Game In Town
A Bit Of Fry And Laurie
Blankety Blank
Blind Date
Bob And Margaret
Bob Martin
Bob Monkhouse On Game Shows
Bob Says Opportunity Knocks
Bob’s Fab Ads
Bob’s Full House
Bob’s Your Uncle
Bodger And Badger
The Brittas Empire
Busman’s Holiday
Call My Bluff
Caught In The Act
Celebrity Squares
Chain Letters
The Chart Show
The Chase
Cheap Cheap Cheap
Chewin’ The Fat
Child’s Play
The Common Denominator
Coogan’s Run
Cone Zone
Count Arthur Strong
Cow And Chicken
Crazy Cottage
Cross Wits
The Crystal Maze
Cult Toons
The Dance Years
Danger – Marmalade At Work
Danger Mouse
Danny Baker After All
Dare To Believe
Dark Angel
The Day Today
Dead Man Weds
Deal Or No Deal
The Dennis The Menace And Gnasher Show
Dick And Dom In Da Bungalow
Dizzy Heights
Do The Right Thing
Don’t Blow The Inheritance
Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush
Double Dare
Dr Terrible’s House Of Horrible
Dr Zitbag’s Transylvania Pet Shop
Ed, Edd ‘N’ Eddy
Educating Marmalade
The End Of Thames
End Of Part One
Every Second Counts
Everybody’s Equal
The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin
Family Affairs
Family Fortunes
Family Guy
Fantasy Football League
Fast Friends
The Fast Show
Father Ted
Finders Keepers
First Class
Football League Extra
Four Square
The Friday Zone
Full Swing
Fully Booked
Fun House
Garfield And Friends
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace
The Generation Game
Get Fresh
Get Stuffed!!
Get Your Own Back
Ghost Train
Give Us A Clue
Glam Metal Detectives
Going For Gold
Going Live!
Goodbye To All That
Goodnight Sweetheart
The Great Bong
Green Wing
Hangar 17
Happy Families
Harry And Cosh
Harry Enfield’s Brand Spanking New Show
Harry Hill
Harry Hill’s Shark-Infested Custard
Harry Hill’s TV Burp
Harry’s Mad
Have I Got News For You
Having A Pop
Hey Arnold!
The High Life
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
Hot Metal
How 2
I’m Alan Partridge
In The Grid
Incredible Games
Is It Legal?
The IT Crowd
It’ll Be Alright On The Night
It’s A Mad World World World World
It’s Not!
ITV Results Service
The Jack Docherty Show
The Joke Machine
Just A Gigolo
Just A Minute
Knowing Me Knowing You
The Krypton Factor
Last Chance Lottery
The Last Salute
Late Lunch
Let’s Get Quizzical
Light Lunch
Live & Kicking
Live With Chris Moyles
Look And Read
Look Around You
Lose A Million
Lucky Feller
Lucky Ladders
Lucky Numbers
The Machine
The Magic Comedy Strip
Man Stroke Woman
Married For Life
Married… With Children
Me, You And Him
Mega Mania
Men Behaving Badly
Midas Touch
The Mighty Boosh
Mike And Angelo
Mind The Gap
The Mitchell And Webb Situation
Monkey Trousers
Monster Cafe
Mouse Trap
Move On Up
The Movie Game
Mr Bean
Mr Don And Mr George
The Music Game
My Wonderful Life
Name That Tune
Nathan Barley
Ned’s Newt
The Nelly Nut Show
Never Mind The Buzzcocks
NHS Loto
Night And Day
Night Fever
No Win No Fee
Noel’s House Party
The Noise
Not Going Out
Not With A Bang
The O Zone
Odd One Out
The Office (ITV)
One Foot In The Grave
The 100 Greatest TV Adverts
One To Win (BBC1)
One To Win (Channel 5)
Only Connect
Only Fools And Horses
Our Hero
Ox Tales
Parallel 9
Parallel Playback
Pass The Buck
Peep Show
The Pepsi Chart
Perfect Recall
The Peter Serafinowicz Show
Pets Win Prizes
Phoenix Nights
Pinky And The Brain
Play Your Cards Right
Playing For Time
Police Squad!
Pop Upstairs Downstairs
Potsworth And Co.
Press Your Luck
The Preventers
Price-Drop TV
The Price Is Right
A Prince Among Men
Punt And Dennis
The Pyramid Game
A Question Of Pop
A Question Of Sport
Quiz Call
Radio Roo
Raise The Roof
Ready Steady Cook
The Real Ghostbusters
Remote Control
The Ren And Stimpy Show
Robot Wars
Rock Profile
Rocko’s Modern Life
Room 101
Round The Bend
The Roxy
The Royle Family
Run The Risk
Sale Of The Century
The Saturday Roadshow
Scratchy And Co.
Sharp’s Funday
Shooting Stars
The Simpsons
The $64,000 Question
The Sketch Show
Smack The Pony
Small Talk
The Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer
Smith And Jones
The Smoking Room
So What Now?
Sometime, Never
Sooty And Co.
The Spa
Space Ghost Coast To Coast
Space Vets
SpongeBob SquarePants
Sporting Triangles
Star Test
Stars In Their Eyes
The Steam Video Company
The Strange World Of Gurney Slade
The Strangerers
Strike It Lucky
Sunnyside Farm
Supermarket Sweep
Swiss Toni
Take Your Pick
Takeover Bid
Talk About
Talking Telephone Numbers
Tarby’s Frame Game
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles
Tell The Truth
Telly Addicts
Terror Towers
The Terry And Gaby Show
TFI Friday
That Mitchell And Webb Look
That’s Life!
That’s Showbusiness
They Think It’s All Over
The Thin Blue Line
Think Tank
30 Years Of LWT
This Is 5!
This Is Your Life
Through The Keyhole
Tickle On The Tum
Time Gentlemen Please
Tiny Toon Adventures
Tipping Point
To Me… To You…
Today’s The Day
Top Banana
Top Of The Pops
Touch Me, I’m Karen Taylor
The Tribe
Trivial Pursuit
TV Heroes
TV Mayhem
TV’s Finest Failures
Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps
Two Stupid Dogs
The UK Top 40
University Challenge
Vic Reeves Big Night Out
Virtually Impossible
Wake Up London
We Know Where You Live
The Weakest Link
What’s Happening
What’s My Line?
What’s Up Doc
Wheel Of Fortune
Where’s Wally?
Who Dares Wins
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
The Wide Awake Club
Win Beadle’s Money
Win, Lose Or Draw
The Winjin’ Pom
Winner Takes All
Winning Lines
Wogan’s Web
The Wolvis Family
The World According To Smith And Jones
World Of Pub
You Bet!
You’ve Been Framed!
Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It

Another update…

Here is a list of the classic TV shows that I still plan to review on this blog. Hopefully I will get round to doing all these one day…

Aaahh!! Real Monsters!
Absolutely Fabulous
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Alan Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters
Alvin And The Chipmunks
American Dad
Andy Capp
Angela Anaconda
Around The World With Willy Fog
Ask No Questions
The Baldy Man
Beavis And Butt-Head
Biker Mice From Mars
A Bit Of A Do
Black Books
Blue Peter
The Bob Monkhouse Show
Body Heat
Box Clever
Boyz Unlimited
Brian Conley This Way Up
Bucky O’Hare
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Bug Alert
Button Moon
Carrott’s Commercial Breakdown
Charlie Chalk
Chip ‘N’ Dale
The Cleveland Show
Colin’s Sandwich
Count Duckula
Cradle To Grave
The Creatives
The Crystal Cube
Defenders Of The Earth
Dennis The Menace
The Detectives
Dexter’s Laboratory
Didn’t They Do Well
Do It
Doc Martin
Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds
Duck Tales
Dumb And Dumber
Earthworm Jim
Ed Stone Is Dead
The Family Ness
Famous People, Famous Places
Fast Forward
Fawlty Towers
Fireman Sam
Fist Of Fun
The Flintstones
The Frank Skinner Show
French And Saunders
Gavin And Stacey
Get Fit With Brittas
Gimme Gimme Gimme
Girls On Top
Gordon T Gopher
Grange Hill
Green Claws
The Grimleys
Hale And Pace
Harry And Paul
Harry Enfield And Chums
Harry Enfield’s Television Programme
Harry Hill’s Fruit Fancies
Henry’s Cat
Holding The Baby
House Of Fools
The Hurricanes
I Am Weasel
In Bed With Medinner
The Inbetweeners
Inspector Gadget
It’s Anybody’s Guess
James Bond Jr.
Jeeves And Wooster
The Jetsons
Jimbo And The Jet Set
Johnny Ball Reveals All
Johnny Bravo
Just For The Record
The Kenny Everett Video Show
King Of The Hill
The League Of Gentlemen
Let Them Eat Cake
Little Britain
The Magic Comedy Strip
Maid Marian And Her Merry Men
The Mask
Melvin And Maureen’s Music-A-Grams
Model Millie
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Mr Majeika
Naked Video
New Girl
Nighty Night
Noel’s Comedy Luxury
Not The Nine O’Clock News
Now You See It
The Office
Open All Hours
Out Of This World
Outside Edge
Palace Hill
Paul Merton The Series
Penny Crayon
People Do The Funniest Things
Pigeon Street
The Piglet Files
The Pink Panther Show
Pob’s Programme
Pop Quiz
Postman Pat
The Powerpuff Girls
Press Gang
Puddle Lane
Pushing Up Daisies
A Question Of TV
Quiz Bowl
The Raggy Dolls
Red And Blue
Red Dwarf
The Riddlers
Rock And Chips
Roger And The Rottentrolls
Roland Rat
The Ronn Lucas Show
Rosie And Jim
Samson Superslug
Saturday Night Takeaway
Sesame Street
The Shane Richie Experience
Simon And The Witch
Sir Bernard’s Stately Homes
Sitting Pretty
The Smurfs
Sonic The Hedgehog
South Park
Spitting Image
The Spooks Of Bottle Bay
Still Game
Stop That Laughing At The Back
The Sunday Show
Super Mario Brothers
The Sylvester And Tweety Mysteries
Tale Spin
Tales From The Poop Deck
Tarrant On TV
They Came From Somewhere Else
This Morning With Richard Not Judy
Thomas The Tank Engine
Three’s A Crowd
Toast Of London
Tots TV
The Trap Door
Treasure Hunt
Tricky Business
Two Point Four Children
The Two Ronnies
Upstart Crow
The Vicar Of Dibley
Victor And Hugo
Wake Up In The Wild Room
Whoops Apocalypse
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
The World Of Lee Evans
The Worst Week Of My Life
Worzel Gummidge
Xena: Warrior Princess
You And Me
You Gotta Be Jokin’
Your Number Please
Zig And Zag’s Dirty Deeds

And along with all that, I am always on the lookout for things on YouTube, and I also plan to review more things including adverts, pop music, computer games and so on. So if anything on the list looks like something you might be interested in, why not spread the word because it’ll be great to get as many people as possible have a look at these pieces.

2018 In Review.

It’s time to take a look back at the year. It’s rather odd to think that 2018 has now happened and been consigned to history, as I still think that it’s about 25 years into the future. Four years on from starting this blog I am satisfied with what I have achieved. I feel that I have settled in and I have now done almost 700 pieces, including about 150 this year, here’s a look at some of my highlights of the year. 2018

There was plenty of excitement in pop music as the story I told about Bananarama on here that I think will always be my favourite blog piece took some further twists this year. Firstly, I found a picture on Instagram of Siobhan in a pub that I know that surprised me (and she was alongside Brix Smith who definitely had an interesting music career in the 80s too). I still honestly can’t believe that I have walked the same path in life (I don’t mean our careers of course, I mean literally the same Bethnal Green streets) as someone who fascinated me (along with many other people) with their chart-topping single back in 1992. brix1

Not long after, a picture appeared of Siobhan alongside Marcella from Shakespear’s Sister, by all accounts the first time they had seen one another for 25 years which was really something unexpected. That all of this has actually happened still makes me happy. It’s good to know that she’s still out there but I haven’t looked at Siobhan’s Instagram page for a while now because as you see I usually get more than I bargained for… ss1

I also did a three-part series looking back at Bananarama’s hit singles, and I reviewed Keren and Sara’s appearance on BBC1’s Pointless Celebrities. Well five years on they appeared on the show again, and managed to maintain their unbeaten record as they reached the final and this time they won the money! They made great records in the 80s, they’ve been to Bethnal Green, they win TV game shows… what’s not to admire? And it seems that there’s a new tour and album on the way too, I don’t think Siobhan is involved in these though, but who knows maybe I’ll see her in the pub one day. banana0005

I was also surprised by just how many 80s pop stars had their 60th birthdays this year. Siobhan was one of them in September, and 13 days later another one was Danielle Dax. To celebrate this I decided to do another piece about her career because I thought that her work was fascinating and there should be more about her online, and this received a positive response. After completing it I found another article about her in Number One magazine in 1984, with a full-page colour picture and everything. I also found an interview from the same time where she said that one of her icons was Cruella de Vil and I honestly don’t know if she was being serious or not. dax1

Oh, and remember when I found a picture of Danielle from a year or two ago at a gig in Dalston where I said she had bright blue hair which I thought was odd, but I teased people by using a picture of Stormer from great 80s cartoon Jem instead? Well recently when searching online I found a picture captioned “Danielle Dax, 2018”, which is the best post-1991 picture that I have seen of her. So if you really do want to know what she looks like nowadays… dax2

I also looked back at the hits of 80s music stars Haysi Fantaysee and Hazel O’Connor. Not long after I received a tweet from the woman herself who also retweeted the link to the piece, making it become my most-viewed blog piece that I did this year, I was thrilled and it made all the work I put into it worthwhile. I didn’t tag her in the link so there’s the positive side of vanity searching I suppose, what an endorsement. Well it’s more than Kate Garner did. Hazel

I also came across two shows this year that I previously had no knowledge of that I really enjoyed. The first of these was ITV’s drama and music series Jangles which starred Hazel O’Connor (I also noticed recently that one episode features another early-80s singer who was Honey Bane of “Turn Me On Turn Me Off” fame). I must admit that I really became fond of the bizarre character Herald (“obliging those who wish to blow their minds…“) and he is now one of my unsung TV heroes. vlcsnap-00567

The other one was BBC2’s The Wolvis Family, an early-90s sitcom about a rather bizarre family that was described by the Radio Times Guide To TV Comedy as “a forgotten gem”, and that’s a statement I can’t argue with, it definitely deserves a DVD release. And the character of Mr Wolvis became another one of my favourites. Other long-forgotten comedy shows I enjoyed reviewing this year included BBC2’s It’s A Mad World World World World, ITV’s Not With A Bang and Channel 5’s Hospital! vlcsnap-00436

As for game shows, I decided to review Quizmania as Greg Scott and Chuck Thomas who were among the hosts are both following me on Twitter and I hoped that it might catch their attention. I was very flattered that they both approved of the piece, with Greg saying that he was pleased by how many people still remember the show so long after it ended and Chuck giving it a like. vlcsnap-00073

I also reviewed the revivals of The Crystal Maze and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (who knows, maybe they’ll revive Blockbusters one day…), along with some American versions of classic game shows including Cross Wits and Play Your Cards Right. Also this year we had to say goodbye to some familiar faces, including game show hosts Jim Bowen and Dale Winton, and children’s TV stars Barry Chuckle and Geoffrey Hayes. Thanks for lots of great memories. vlcsnap-00722

I also looked back at a few other interesting shows including ITV’s Wake Up London, BBC Choice’s Hotlinks, the news coverage of the death of Diana, I admitted that I did admired the ITV Weathergens, and it was also enjoyable reviewing lots of old adverts. CBBC and CITV shows that I reviewed included Radio Roo and Mega ManiaThere are plenty more reviews of classic TV memories planned to come in 2019. vlcsnap-00694

My blog has had over 41,000 views this year. All that it remains for me to say is thanks for reading wherever you may be, and special thanks to everyone who liked and commented, it is much appreciated to know that you enjoy what I do!

CBBC Memories – Bodger And Badger.

Bodger And Badger (CBBC, 1989-1999)

Here’s a look back at yet another CBBC sitcom, and this one endured more than most. Bodger And Badger centred around a rather unusual double-act. There was the odd-job man Simon Bodger (Andy Cunningham, who also created the show and wrote the majority of the episodes) who was accompanied by a puppet badger (voiced by Cunningham thanks to some ventriloquism). They first appeared on CBBC’s Saturday Morning show On The Waterfront in 1988 before the got their own series in 1989.

And as always happens in these shows of course, there are some very odd situations. But for some reason, Badger was really rather fond of mashed potato, and it would often go everywhere. Bodger And Badger and for nine series, and the situation often changed. In the first series, Bodger worked in a restaurant, and from the second series, in a school, and he often had to hide the fact that he had a talking badger along with him, as he could have found that rather difficult to explain to people. vlcsnap-00690

By the fifth series a new regular character was introduced, a small puppet mouse called Mousey who would often interact with Badger. By the ninth and final series, Bodger was running a B & B by the seaside, and most episodes seemed to climax with Bodger getting covered in mashed potato, but it still seemed to be funny every time. Other regular characters who got caught up in all of this throughout the years included Mr Troff, Mrs Trout and Mrs Bobbins. vlcsnap-00691

Bodger And Badger eventually ran for 125 episodes that were 15 minutes long over almost a decade (the only sitcom to run for longer on CBBC was ChuckleVision), and it became one of the more popular CBBC comedy shows of its era. The show gained a lot of fans of all ages but there are still no plans for a DVD release, many people still hope that there will be one eventually. I’d definitely buy it. vlcsnap-00694

Bodger And Badger was also frequently repeated, including being shown as part of the CBBC On Choice strand (which I always enjoyed watching), and it was also on repeated on BBC2, the CBBC Channel and CBeebies for many years after the final episode in 1999. Indeed, after the show left the screen the characters still had a big enough following for the show to be toured across the country (and one of these shows has been released on DVD), and Cunningham continued to perform at various events up until his death a couple of years ago. vlcsnap-00697

CBBC Memories – Monster Cafe.

Monster Cafe (CBBC, 1994-1995)

Following on from Space Vets that I reviewed on here recently, this is another enjoyably quirky CBBC sitcom from the 90s that I remember watching, although rather than dealing with science fiction, it is closer to the horror genre. Monster Cafe was set in a old castle and centred around a cafe that was run by three very odd people… well I say people, they were more monsters really.

They were the Frankenstein’s monster-style Frankie, who was rather outrageous. There was also Mummy, who was someone wrapped in bandages and mumbled everything that they said. And then there was Igor, who was a rather large odd-job man who had a pet bin called Vinny. The other main character was the Baroness, who owned the castle and often turned up to make sure that everything hadn’t descended into chaos, but of course, this being a CBBC sitcom, it usually had. vlcsnap-00687

Also occasionally appearing were some rather spooky-looking customers (this was another show that had some rather creative costume design), and often vampires and the like would turn up to try the rather horrible-looking slimy food that made steam come out of people’s ears, along with the main characters getting themselves caught in some very bizarre situations. “TV cook Kylie has been turned into a jar of pickled gherkins. Who can replace her?” was a typical episode description. Well it made me laugh… vlcsnap-00677

Every episode of Monster Cafe was 15 minutes long and there were a couple of series. Once again, I’m fairly sure that there has been no VHS or DVD release, but there are a couple of other interesting things about the show. Firstly, all 30 episodes were written by Simon Davies who contributed to a few other CBBC shows around this time including the crossword puzzle game Sick As A Parrotvlcsnap-00678

I’m fairly sure that Davies also voiced some of the regular puppet characters including a skull that often commented on what was happening. In more recent years I think he was also a presenter on the award-winning Bid TV, and seemed to think nothing of doing five hours straight of warehouse clearances and technical faults, and I know I’ve done this joke before but I wouldn’t be surprised if “voiced a puppet skull” ranks much higher than “hosted on Bid TV” on his CV. vlcsnap-00681

Also, Monster Cafe was repeated a few times on CBBC after it ended, it also featured in the CBBC On Choice strand, the early days of the CBBC Channel, and on BBC2. The show also unexpectedly hit the headlines in 2007 when there was a repeat run (over a decade after it had ended) on CBeebies, the BBC’s channel featuring programmes for the under-sixes, when it was abruptly pulled from the schedule when parents started to complain that it was too frightening for their children. Monster me!