Friday, 21 March 2014

Flashback Friday - Playdays, Playbus, Playschool




Playdays (Playbus, Play School)

Where does it go? Where does it stop? Watch for the sign on the lollipop.....


I grew up with Playdays, but those a bit older will have known it as Playbus or Play School.   There was a slightly different format between Play School and Playdays/ Playbus but the overall aim was the same.... to create a fun educational pre-school programme for BBC.




Play School

Ran from every weekday from 1964 until 1988. 

Every episode the producers would invite the children to look through the shape windows and a film would be shown.  This film could be of a factory producing something such as chocolate biscuits, or of a domestic industry such as refuse collection, many subjects were covered, such as watching animals, boats, children in a playground or at school, a family going bowling, people in a cafe and visiting a jumble sale, among other things.

The show would also include songs and a story (read from a book).  The toys or objects featuring in the story would be shown under a clock so the children had a clue to the upcoming story.

Whilst it was produced with live presenters they were joined by a host of toys and pets on their adventures.

Regular Toys

Humpty - a dark green large egg-shaped soft toy with green trousers, to look like Humpty Dumpty from the nursery rhyme.  
Teddy - a teddy bear, who unfortunately was stolen in the 70's and replaced by Big Ted and Little Ted.  
Jemima - a ragdoll with long red and white striped legs.
Hamble -a little doll.  she was replaced in the 80s by Poppy. 
Dapple - a rocking horse.  

Pets

Katoo - a cockatoo
Bit and Bot - goldfish
Rabbits, including Buffy, Mopsy, Peter, Benjamin and Becky.
Mice
Guinea pigs including Lizzy


Playdays/ Playbus

Playdays ran from 1988 until 1997 (tho it was known as Playbus until the end of 1989).  It was aired on CBBC, who continued to air re-runs until 2003. 

The bus stopped at a different place each day and the shows were different formats to each other.


Monday - The Why Bird Stop

Why Bird lived at the Playbus Lost Property Office.  Along with the human bus driver they used a special computer,  the Why-Tech, to show various elements of the episode.  
For example if she pressed one button (with her beak) it would provide music for songs, another would show pictures for stories or instructions for making something in keeping with the programme's theme and the items required (e.g. help to make paper sugar buns for Five Currant Buns). It also showed videos, usually to show how everyday things were made like socks, toothbrushes etc.


Tuesday - The Playground Stop

A variety of different things involved. The programme always had a human presenter (I remember Dave Benson Philips starring in this one).   The show featured a children doing activities, such as pretending to be cooks and making paper meals.  The episodes features a string puppet called Lizzie and Dave was accompanied by a glove puppet named Chester. 

An early version of Mr Tumble, the programme always featured a rhyme accompanied by sign language. 

There was also a story, often featuring Max and his magical chest of dressing-up dreams.

Wednesday - The Dot Stop (1988–1992)/  The Roundabout Stop (1992–end) 



My favourite of all the stops, both times!!  

In The Dot Stop the non-speaking Dot had fun with music or numbers and counting. Later there were 3 Dots: 'The Dot who plays the violin', 'The Dot who plays the drums' and 'The Dot you can count on' who had a sidekick called Mr Domino.  




Later replaced by the Roundabout Stop, presented by Mr. Jolly and 'Rosie' the Roundabout. The show featured the musician, Charlie Grindle, Bitsy Bob who played music and made things, and the puppets
Morris Cog and Milly Sprocket  who presented a singing segment called "Morris and Milly's Numerical Melodies".  
  The main body of the episode featured the characters finding different shaped pictures, which came together to form the title of a nursery rhyme, this was performed by the entire cast at the end of the episode. In later episodes (1995–1997), the show featured Peggy, Poppy and Why Bird, who rode on the roundabout and went off on adventures. 


Thursday - The Patch Stop



My favourite puppet based episodes - featuring Sam or Peggy Patch, who were small dolls. Peggy started off as non-speaking, but gained a voice later on. She would often travel places and leave clues for children to find her.   Parsnip the bunny (puppet) often featured in this episode.






Friday - The Tent Stop (1988–1995)/ The Poppy Stop (1995–end)



I loved The Tent Stop, perhaps because it was sooo different to all the others a group of actors would dress up, and with the help of some children, perform a play or show.







When the stop became the Poppy Stop, the setting was at Poppy the cat's house. Why Bird, Peggy Patch and other characters would often also appear in episodes at Poppy's house.  








Which era did you grow up with?  
Which stop was your favourite?   
Why not have a look at some of the old classics over on youtube.



2 comments:

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