There was no CBeebies, CBBC, Nickleodeon, Nick Jnr, Disney Channel, etc, etc, etc. Children's television on BBC1 and ITV started just after we all got home from school at about 3:20 and finished at 5:30/6:00 and that was it!
It was a time when we were always being told "Why don't you just switch off your television set and go and find something else instead?" (that phrase seems to have stuck around)
Oh! and who could forget Saturday morning television?
BBC started the decade with Multi-Coloured Swap Shop presented by Noel Edmonds. When this finished in 1982, it was replaced by Saturday Superstore presented by Mike Read and Sarah Greene, and then from 1987 to the 90s Going Live! presented by Phillip Schofield and Emma Forbes.
ITV started the decade with 'Tiswas' presented by Chris Tarrant and Sally James and occasional appearances by Lenny Henry. (Are you all humming 'We're singing the song, the bucket of water song' yet?)
But what was going on during the week?
Well by the mid-1980s Phillip Schofield was occupying a broom cupboard from somewhere inside the BBC with a gopher called Gordon, and on both sides we had some cracking television to choose from.
Can you remember those seemingly never-ending cartoon series that would go on for weeks and months on end? The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Battle of the Planets, I could go on - they were fabulous (from a kid's point of view of course).
I wonder if watching them today I would still think them as good, or would my theoretical grown-up head tut and think it drivel - like some of the stuff that's on today - Adventure Time (truly bizarre), Teen Titans (what's with the no eyes, just black pupils) - of course Lego Ninjago is quite awesome!
I found a brilliant website "List Challenges" - and the link takes you straight to a list challenge of kids TV series of the 1980s and you have to tick which ones you remember. Talk about a stroll down memory lane. I scored a pathetic 70%, I clearly worked too hard, but let me know how you get on.
Now today's children have been recently introduced to Inspector Gadget and Danger Mouse - not the originals I hasten to add, but completely new episodes with (in the case of Danger Mouse new voices). I have to say, having watched both of these re-inventions they are equally as good as the 1980s versions - the technology is obviously slightly more up-to-date - but the characters remain as they ever were.
Obviously, the big twice weekly children's drama serial on the BBC was "Grange Hill". Was secondary school really like that in the 1980s? They covered quite huge topics for children's television at the time, including the famous "Just Say No" to drugs campaign.
Then of course there were the Saturday evening teatime shows - just after the football scores - such as 'The Muppets', 'Metal Mickey', 'Worzel Gummidge' (my favourite).
Children's television in the 80s was truly epic and the list is endless. Could I pick a Top 10?? It would certainly be hard, but here goes:
- THE ADVENTURE GAME - where we all learned to say Doogy Rev and everyone knew what we meant!
- CRACKERJACK - "It's Friday! It's 5 to 5 and it's Crackerjack!" presented by the lovely Ed Stewart (who sadly passed away today)
- WORZEL GUMMIDGE - "You put a Wor after W, put a Wor after O, a Wor after R and it's away we go!"
- DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS - who knew going on a roller-coaster at a fun-fair could lead to such adventure?
- DANGER MOUSE – David Jason, just brilliant
- INSPECTOR GADGET - do dee do dee do Inspector Gadget, do dee do dee do do dooooooo!
- RENTAGHOST - remember Mr Claypole and Miss Popov?
- CHEGGARS PLAYS POP - Keith Chegwin down pop quiz
- CAPTAIN CAVEMAN- all together now, "Captain Cave-Maaaaaaaaaan!"
- TAKE HART - you'll be pleased to know Morph is alive and well and being taken care of by Aardman studios = he still occasionally pops up in his own TV series.