CBBC Memories – Bananaman.

Bananaman (CBBC, 1983-1986)

In 1980, DC Thomson launched a new comic called Nutty. Among the new wave of characters that were introduced was Bananaman, a great new superhero for the 80s, essentially a parody of Superman/Batman-style characters. Eric is an ordinary boy who lives at 29 Acacia Road, but when he eats a banana… he transforms into Bananaman! Because he was such a popular character, in 1983 he came to CBBC in his own animated TV series. vlcsnap-00162

Among his various abilities, Bananaman had super strength and the ability to fly. Naturally tackling various villains and saving the day was something that he was always able to do. There were a few other characters in the show including policeman Chief O’Reilly. Whenever he had a problem, he would contact Eric to see if he could help out, not realising that Eric and Bananaman were the same person. Also featuring was Bananaman’s biggest enemy General Blight, TV reporter Fiona who was his love interest, and he also had a sidekick who was a talking crow who appeared occasionally. vlcsnap-00168

One of the best things about the show was that the voices were provided by comedy stars The Goodies! Even though their TV show ended in 1982, Bill Oddie, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor were persuaded to reform and provide a great range of funny voices for all the characters, with Graeme having the honour of voicing Bananaman himself, although they all put in good performances. vlcsnap-00170

Bananaman would eventually run to 40 five-minute episodes over three series before ending in 1986, but our hero endured long after that. In 1985 when Nutty closed, Bananaman was one of the few strips to continue as he moved to The Dandy. Also, when The Dandy closed in 2012, he moved again to The Beano, making him a character who has now appeared regularly in three comics. vlcsnap-00171

Bananaman was popular enough in the 80s to have his own spin-off annual which featured new strips, where he was described on the cover as “Your TV Hero”, and repeats of Bananaman continued on CBBC until as late as 1999! Although in the 90s there were two videos released featuring cartoon versions of characters in The Beano, I don’t think they ever did the equivalent of one for The Dandy, so Bananaman was the only character in that comic to make the small screen, which was a shame as it would have been great to have seen the likes of Desperate Dan and Korky The Cat have their moment of fame too. vlcsnap-00173

Whilst doing some research on this piece, I was very pleased to discover that Bananaman has been released on DVD, so this is something that I should add to my DVD collection very soon because I was a great fan of the comic strip and the show, I’m fairly sure I saw most of the episodes during a repeat run in the early-90s, and it’s great to know that he’s still around as a comic star to this day.

Comic Memories – Nutty.

Nutty (1980-1985)

Here is the first of my comic reviews. The comic Nutty ran for five years and was published by DC Thomson before being merged with The Dandy. I don’t remember Nutty first time round but I managed to find one in a charity shop a while back. Because I only have the one issue (No. 151, 1 January 1983) this isn’t going to be the comprehensive history of Nutty but it’s a chance to share my opinions of this lesser-known comic, so here’s a page-by-page review also featuring a few pictures.

Pages 1, 12, & 13: Bananaman. Bananaman is the most successful of Nutty‘s characters, appearing on the front page and the centre-page spread and of course being turned into a CBBC cartoon. When Nutty closed Bananaman continued in The Dandy, and when that closed he moved to The Beano. When Eric eats a banana, he becomes the mighty Bananaman! Terrific stuff. nutty0001

Page 2: Jay R Hood. “He’s anything but good”. He also owned a crocodile called Cruncher who just walked around the house as if it was the most normal thing.

Page 3: Peter Pest. I wouldn’t really call Peter a pest, he’s just a rather straightforward “mischievous” boy of the type you get a lot in these type of comics who liked to wind up his sister. My goodness, it’s chaos with him around!

Pages 4 & 5: The Snobbs And The Slobbs. This is just your “rich v poor” strip and the comedy that can be created from that.

Pages 6 & 7: Nip & Rrip. The adventures of a boy and his crazy cat.

Pages 8 & 9: Scoopy. He’s “the runaround hound with a nose for news”. kennel0001

Page 10: Tweet William. A dozy boy who seemingly has only one tooth and is saying “twitter” seemingly not realising how much the meaning of that word will change in the years to come. tweet0001

Page 11: Super Gnat The Mighty Midge. Well is it “Super Gnat” or “The Mighty Midge”? Seemingly it’s both. The idea of this character seems to be that he likes to sting naughty people up the bottom to make them see the error of their ways. dive0001

Page 14: Wacky The Crackpot Inventor. As the title suggests, this is a character who invents odd things to try and make his life easier, and it all ends in disaster!

Page 15: Not On Your Telly. “The funny things you won’t see on your screens”, this is a page of one-panel jokes about various aspects of TV. Enjoyably silly. close0001

Page 16: Sports Fan. A girl who likes to play lots of sport and introduces herself by saying “‘sme!”, whatever that means. sme0001

Page 17: Snoozer. A lazy boy who seems to be permanently asleep. He’s such a rascal.

Pages 18 & 19: The Wild Rovers. Adventures with a bunch of dogs and crazy Basil Crumb who is always trying to catch them.

Pages 20 & 21: The School Belles. Featuring four schoolgirls called Daisy, Violet, Rose and Marigold. Not to be be confused with Buster‘s School Belle.

Page 22: The letters page. Send Bananaman a funny joke and if it’s printed you’ll win a T-shirt!

Page 23: Cannonball Kid. “He’s football crazy”, and in this strip he’s particularly keen to watch his footballing hero, Kevin Kneegone.

Page 24: Cuddles. One of my favourite strips in Nutty, Cuddles is a daft baby, who would later be teamed up with Dimples for a great strip in The Dandy. I particularly like the phrase “BAH! TOO RUSKY!”. rusky0001