Take a trip down Memory Lane

I'm moving out of my house in a few days, which means that my childhood is well and truly over. As I lament over the lost years of my youth, I invite you to join me in fond remembrance of the TV shows that helped to shape me - and all of us - as upstanding citizens.

1) Thomas the Tank Engine

Thomas the Tank EngineUndeniably my favourite TV show in the world, ever, times a million. Thomas would always get into hilarious mishaps, often causing mass destruction to the railway infrastructure of the Isle of Sodor, but oddly enough, never any fatalities. The important thing was that they always learnt a lesson, even if it was something completely irrelevant to us, like "wear your snowplough if it snows". Ringo Starr's detatched and deadpan narration was the cherry on the cake for this masterpiece.

Unfortunately, Thomas has sold out big-time recently. The show's still on CITV but hippy production values and snazzy computer effects have turned it into a politically correct quagmire, where the engines no longer race to the death but instead "help each other overcome their difficulties". In an attempt to appease Network Rail, all crash scenarios have been cut out, effectively leaving us with Barney on Wheels. Has Britain had one too many Hatfields or Paddingtons for Thomas? Sadly, it seems so.

2) Fireman Sam

Fireman Sam, Fireman Sam, Fireman Sam, With his engine bright and clean, He's always on time, Fireman Sam you can always be sure, Sam is the hero next door!

Was Fireman Sam a genuine attempt to raise fire safety awareness and entertain kids, or was it just a very elaborate piss-take of the Welsh? Seeing as I don't remember Sam ever extinguishing an actual fire, I suspect the latter. The village of Pontypandy was chock full of stereotypical and ambiguous characters who spent most of their time getting their cats (or children) stuck up trees. Clearly, no one in Pontypandy ever had the time, or foresight, to buy their own ladder. And what was going on with Sam and the Italian woman? We never found out.

3) The Crystal Maze

Crystal Maze I used to skive off school to watch this show. Well, I watched it when I skived off. It featured a team of university drop-outs solving various puzzles in different "zones" of the Crystal Maze. I often attempted to replicate the puzzles using the furniture in my living room with the help of my brother, which often resulted in either broken furniture or bruised children.

The ultimate goal of the show was to collect crystals and earn more time in some big chamber where fake money blew around. The retarded contestants always jumped about like a bunch of monkeys, trying to grab the money from as high as possible, even when there was plenty lying on the floor. Consequently, people rarely won anything, but it was because of their own stupidity. A true lesson in life.

4) Noel's House Party

There was a reason no one used to go out on Saturday evenings. That reason was Noel's House Party. Everyone knows what happened in Noel's House Party (and that's not just because Noel did exactly the same thing for 8 years running). Do you need reminding? There were Gotchas, "gunge"-ings, and NTV, where Noel installed a hidden camera in someone's house and then did something: I can't remember what, but it was either hilarious or crap. And, of course, who could forget Mr Blobby, the lovable scamp with a one-word vocabulary to match his one-joke existence.

Stand out moments of the series included the bloke telling Noel to "fuck off", all the times when something went wrong, and the series ending.

5) Live and Kicking

Crystal MazeI used to get up at 6am on Saturday mornings. Blame insomnia if you will, but I maintain that Live and Kicking was the cause. The show seemed to go on forever, and featured all my favourite cartoons, like the Rugrats, and... Spiderman, and whatever else was cool at the time. Andi Peters cried when he left (maybe he wiped the tears on his bank statement, as the show made him incredibly rich) and I cried when the show was canned because of subterfuge over at ITV.

At this point I'd like to give special mention to Edd the Duck. He used to harass Andi Peters from time to time, and in my pursuit of getting an "Edd the Duck" puppet for my birthday I harassed my father to breaking point. Imagine a whiny 8-year-old child screaming "I WANT EDD THE DUCK" at the top of his lungs for nearly a month. It would wear anyone down. But I got my Edd the Duck in the end, learning an important lesson in the process: shout for long enough and you'll get your way.

6) Sick as a Parrot

I doubt many people are cultured enough to remember this gem. Basically, it was a crossword puzzle where you filled in a crossword and sent it in. And I WON IT. I FUCKING WON IT. My prize was, get this, a sweatshirt. Whilst all the other kids were winning Sega Mega Drives and portable CD players, there I was with my naff sweatshirt. I still felt special though.

That's enough nostalgia for me; I'm welling up inside. Join me next week when I'll be recounting tales of all the school teachers who touched me up.

Permalink || Posted 15/9/2005 by Pete


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