CITV Memories – Let’s Pretend.

Let’s Pretend (CITV, 1982-1988)

This is another CITV show from the 80s that always appeared in the strand that was described as “for younger viewers” (others included Allsorts and Rainbow that I both reviewed a while ago), and this one was usually shown on Mondays around midday. As I was one of those younger viewers at the time, this is possibly among the earliest TV shows that I ever watched.

Of course, the first thing that has to be referenced about Let’s Pretend is the rather bizarre opening sequence. This consisted of a puppet thing (probably a caterpillar) that made some strange noises and wiggled up and down rather unconvincingly while a picture of a house appeared, presumably the one that the show took place in (the show’s title doesn’t appear on screen, but it is referenced in the opening song). vlcsnap-00908

Let’s Pretend would feature a cast of three (that changed for every edition and were credited as “pretenders”) who with the minimum of props and set design would put on a play and act out a story. I’m not sure if this was because the budget of the show was about £5, or if it was because the show really wanted to prove that simply having a good idea can really set off the imagination. vlcsnap-00905

The cast would be sat around a table, when an item appeared, and they had to get thinking and put on a show based around it. They looked at pictures in books and also put together a song on the piano, and by this point the edition’s theme had been established. When it was time for the performance, the curtain went up and the cast played a wide variety of characters, including people in nursery rhymes, and also various jobs. vlcsnap-00690

Having watched a few editions of Let’s Pretend again recently, I did notice that the people making a show and trying create something out of nothing in a completely bare studio element was rather similar to the The Tent Stop on Playdays that launched in the late-80s. Again, it does remind me of how the earliest TV shows that you watched do stay with you, it brought the memories back all these years on. vlcsnap-00949

There were over 200 editions made of Let’s Pretend, and I’m fairly sure that none of them have been released on VHS or DVD (but there was a repeat run on local channel Big Centre TV a few years ago). It also reminded me of when in 1990 The Beano launched a new character called Les Pretend who had a rather wild imagination and liked to dress as various things and act out a few fantasies every week, but it could be just a coincidence though. It’s fun to pretend.