CITV Memories – Rod, Jane And Freddy.

Rod, Jane And Freddy (CITV, 1981-1991)

Like lots of other people, one of my favourite children’s TV shows that I always enjoyed watching when I was younger was Rainbow. When it launched in the early-70s, musical accompaniment was provided by the group Telltale. By the mid-70s they had been replaced by the trio of Rod, Jane and Matthew (Matthew being Matthew Corbett, who would go on to further fame in the 80s and 90s on CITV’s The Sooty Show and Sooty and Co.)

After he left, he was replaced by Roger (who went on to star in flop BBC1 soap Eldorado, but the less said about that, the better). He then left in the early-80s to be replaced by Freddy, and this became their most famous lineup. Their style of enthusiastically performing songs along with some fun dance routines became popular enough with viewers for them to get their own spin-off series that launched in 1981. vlcsnap-00236

Every edition was around 15 minutes long and usually shown in CITV’s “for younger viewers” strand. Most of the editions of Rod, Jane And Freddy were performed as if they were on a big theatre stage (with minimal set design), and they were often greeted by lots of applause (even if nobody actually seemed to be in the audience). The Hackney Empire itself couldn’t have put on a better show. vlcsnap-00220

The shows would give them the opportunity to perform some of their songs and sketches with various props, plus plenty of costume changes, and every edition had a theme, such as being based around animals or stories. I didn’t exactly dance around to these shows myself, but I do remember being very entertained by them. By the late-80s, Rod, Jane and Freddy left Rainbow to concentrate on this show, and they also toured the country. They have also made lots of albums. vlcsnap-00222

By 1991, the show had been running for a decade, and after 120 editions, it came to an end, around the same time that Rainbow also ended, and production company Thames lost its franchise. A few editions were also released on VHS. After this, they haven’t been seen that much on TV since, although it seems that they have continued to work in the music business, and have also contributed to a few shows about classic children’s TV moments. vlcsnap-00237

Now Peter Kay and the like might consider them to be their showbiz pals “ironically”, but I’m sure that there must be plenty of people out there along with myself who really did enjoy their work. And in more recent years there was the revelation that Jane has been married to both Rod and Freddy (but not at the same time!), making the shows looking back at them now feature the extra layer of a rather unlikely love triangle.

CITV Memories – Rainbow.

Rainbow (CITV, 1972-1991)

Rainbow is of course one of the all-time classic CITV shows that made learning fun so you don’t need much explanation of what it was all about from me, but I still want to share my memories, as I was a big fan of the show along with many other people.

I began to watch the show in the late-80s and of course it featured the great yellow thing Zippy, pink hippo type-thing George and the rather dithery bear Bungle alongside Geoffrey, and once again he was one of those people in children’s TV who lives with and talks to these really odd characters as if it’s perfectly normal. As if that wasn’t enough, the musical trio Rod, Jane and Freddy who rather conveniently had a song for every occasion also joined in with lots of music and eventually got their own spin-off CITV show. vlcsnap-00802

Along the way there were lots of stories told, a lot of things to learn, and the show also featured some animation. Rainbow was shown very regularly on CITV for almost 20 years and there were over 1,000 episodes, also winning some awards and not ending until Thames lost their licence in 1991, although it did continue for a while in repeats. A lot of people were sorry to see the old characters go, and there was an inevitable “bring it back” campaign. Eventually there were two revivals in the mid-90s, but they weren’t that great and aren’t as fondly thought of, and the show finally ended in 1997. vlcsnap-00798

As well as the TV show, one of things that I enjoyed about Rainbow when I was younger was the comic. It came out weekly around the late-80s and featured cartoon strips with the further adventures of Zippy and co. I also remember some great free gifts including some badges featuring all the characters, but because I’m daft I didn’t keep any of those. Also around this time there were some episodes released on VHS. vlcsnap-00799

Around 2002 there seemed to be a revival of interest in the show which coincided with the 30th anniversary. This included some DVD releases featuring classic episodes, one of which was the very first episode from 1972. Like just about everyone else I find the original Bungle really terrifying, and there’s no Geoffrey either, and once again it is just really odd seeing a very popular show before it becomes properly defined. vlcsnap-00800

There was also a book released and the characters appeared in a few adverts too, but best of all there was a dance remix of the famous theme that was a top 20 hit single, which was great. A vintage episode was also shown as part of 2013’s CITV Old Skool Weekend which was very well received. Rainbow did brighten up many an afternoon and it definitely deserves to be remembered as one of the best CITV shows of its era.