The Stars of Kids TV
Some people only star on Kids TV and it's really bizarre seeing them anywhere else. Here are a selection of the best and worst that I can remember.
Johnny Ball - Not only could this man build rockets with fairy liquid bottles, not only could he display mathematical genius with "Think of a number", not only could he do a load of science programmes including "Johnny Ball Explains It All" he's also the father of Zoë Ball.
Genius, thy name is Johnny Ball!
Floella Benjamin M.B.E. - Flo's major role was in Play School if I remember but she appeared as a guest on loads of stuff. Was a dab-hand at making things though.
Christopher Biggins - A flamboyant, out-going chap Biggins and completely annoying with it. Star of "On Safari" and guest on plenty of other programmes, his inane catchphrase "Safari, So Goody" could haunt kids who saw it for ever more.
Brian Cant - Godfather of Kids TV. Best remembered for Play School and Play Away but he also played an old bloke who ran a junk shop, in Bric-a-Brac and was the voice behind the Trumptonshire programes. He's also appeared on Dappledown Farm on Channel 5 early in the morning.
Keith Chegwin - Will now be remembered for appearing nude on a Channel 5 quiz show (deliberately by the way) but to those of us with longer memories (longer than his..no stop it!) will remember his "pop" quiz show, "Chegger's Plays Pop" and also appeared on Saturday Superstore. Did you know he played Robin Hood as a kid? Kevin Costner I can handle but CHEGWIN!
Dickie Davies - For many the post Tiswas face of Saturdays. Would seamlessly link the insanity of TV land with ple action of Lunchtime Wrestling.
Stu Francis - Lived in a world of his own really on Crackerjack (CRACK - ER - JACK!) crushing his grapes and test-driving his tonka! Mad, sad and very very bad.
Derek Griffiths - Of course Derek Griffiths, come on! Musical genius of "Heads and Tails", "Play School" and loads of others.
Has appeared in Casualty as an extra and doing the voices for the jamjar.com adverts and in 2000, appeared on stage in Bristol. It seems the theatre is where Derek has found his home.
Do you remember the soft voice he used in "Heads and Tails" as if he was actually near the animals. Top man!
Tony Hart - Top artist, famed for making shockingly poor pictures look good in the last couple of brushstrokes. He was also responsible for the original drawing of Blue Peter, still (just) used in the programme today. Awarded by BAFTA for his years of service to Kids TV.
Fred Harris - Chock-a-bloke and also on Play School. Had permed hair which was a bit sad but remember kids, this was the 70's.
I've had an e-mail from someone who snogged his son, does he have his father's hair??
Fred Harris was last seen on British Forces TV in Germany.
Keith Harris - No relation and nowhere near as talented.
Alright "Cuddles" had his moments but that bloody duck! Appeared on Crackerjack (CRACK - ER - JACK) quite a lot and on other programmes and even had his own show at one stage. God the BBC got desperate at times!
Orville and Keith now do a "Blue" show and recently appeared on "Never Mind The Buzzcocks". Mark asks "Does Orville know the word....", "No", replies Orville, "but I'm looking at one".
Carol Leader - Chock-a-girl. Also on Play School and tried to be serious in Casualty. The serious acting didn't last long because people were coming in with broken legs going, "You'll never fix this with a squeezy bottle!"
Christopher Lillycrap - What a name, what a singer, what a performer. This guy was perfect for Kids TV as he was totally mad. He was to be seen mostly at lunchtime doing the pre-school kids programmes such as "Stepping Stones" and "Let's Pretend".
Ralph McTell - It's amazing more kids stars didn't become pop icons. Look at Derek Griffiths, Don Spencer et al. Ralph was the one who made it with "Streets of London", bloody depressing song, the B-Side was the more upbeat "Lenny The Lion" from Alphabet Zoo!
I was fortunate enough to see Billy Connolly at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1999 and before the concert, Raplh appeared on screen to plug his own show. The audience just started talking about Tickle On The Tum.
Magnus Pike - Whatever happened to good old Magnus? Came onto shows to explain to kids how fun science was but couldn't be heard above the laughter the mad man. ITVs answer to Johnny Ball.
Mike Smith - Mike Reid's straight man on "Saturday Superstore". Married to Sarah Greene even though he tried to kill her with his chopper. (I'm sorry but I couldn't resist).
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