Stoppit And Tidyup (CBBC, 1988)
Here’s a review of yet another cartoon that was shown as part of the CBBC afternoon strand in the late-80s (there really were a lot of them, weren’t there), and it was one of the more unusual ones, even when compared to talking peas and the like. Firstly, this was a show that aimed to give its viewers a message as it was partly funded by The Tidy Britain Group.
Stoppit And Tidyup (Stoppit was a small red furry thing with a high-pitched voice, and Tidyup was a big purple tie-wearing thing with a low-pitched voice) was a show that was created by the same team as CITV’s The Trap Door (that I reviewed a while back), and that might explain the streak of weirdness to some point. The show also had a bizarre opening theme that mostly consisted of some banging and thumping as all of the regular characters were introduced.
The show was set in the land of Do-As-You’re-Told, and every episode focused on a different character that lived there. All of them had names that were the type of things that parents said to their children, including Comb Your Hair, Eat Your Greens, Wash Your Face, and of course the rather scary I Said No! All of the characters worked hard to make sure it remained a tidy and friendly place to fit in with the anti-litter message.
But one area that Stoppit And Tidyup is really significant is that it was narrated by none other than Terry Wogan in what I think was his only foray into children’s TV, and it’s always a pleasure to hear his voice of course, although I always found the way he said “I said no!” a little creepy. The voices of the characters (although they were just noises) were provided by the show’s co-creator Terry Brain.
The characters would often end up causing a lot of problems for Stoppit and Tidyup. And they all had to avoid the little creatures called Naughties, or otherwise they’ll get Naughtypox and come out in spots (which is what happened to poor Tidyup in one episode), but a visit to the Sit Downs and their mushrooms made everything better. We even learn that Stoppit’s favourite TV show is Derek Strong And The Space Martians. There were also plenty of flowers and gherkins everywhere.
I know I end a lot of pieces about cartoons from this era by saying this, but once again it applies to Stoppit And Tidyup. There were 13 episodes made that were only about five minutes long. Some of the episodes have been released on VHS, but not DVD, and there were also some books. And they were also repeated in various timeslots on CBBC until 1995, so not for as long as most other cartoons, but still seven years after it was originally shown. And it was still rather odd.