Saturday, 4 December 2021

Curious British Telly Fanzine Issue 5 - Out Now!

Last Christmas, I gave you my fanzine, but the very next year, I gave you another.

Yes, that's right, a whole year on from issue one of the Curious British Telly fanzine, it's time to unleash issue five! I had few plans in place for the fanzine when I first launched it, but since then I've managed - with the help of several contributors - to release a new issue every three months. And, this time, I've decorated the fanzine with a few baubles of festive joy to get everyone into the Christmas spirit.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Book Review: See-Saw Annual (1983)

See-Saw, the early afternoon children's slot on BBC1, was an important element in my earliest understandings regarding television and how it worked. It was here that, following on from lunch (and the dreaded sit-through of Pebble Mill at One which, incidentally, I now love) that my preschooler self would be treated to just under half an hour's worth of children's programming. This was how television scheduling worked. At least, it did back then. Nowadays, children can watch programmes aimed at them no matter what time of day it is. But I'm digressing and, besides, this blog isn't here to concern itself with the modern day.

So, the See-Saw slot! Ah, what a glorious time that was for my sensory receptors! The phonetic brilliance of Bric-a-Brac, the rhyming magic of Chock-a-Block and the gentle adventures of Mop and Smiff left indelible marks on my memory. Without these programmes we wouldn't have Curious British Telly. These earliest memories of television stayed with me throughout the decades and kept my curiosity piqued almost constantly. Despite my love of all things See-Saw I was never treated to the See-Saw annual. In fact, it wasn't until earlier this year that I had even heard of it.

Monday, 13 September 2021

Curious British Telly Fanzine Issue 4 is Out Now!

Three months have passed, so it's time for another issue of the Curious British Telly fanzine. And, as per before, you're guaranteed to find a curious selection of essays, reviews, meanderings and quizzes within its 40 pages. The Curious British Telly Act of 2012 demands, of course, that this content should be both a head turner and a head scratcher; issue four doesn't disappoint on either count.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Hold Tight

The thrills available to a schoolchild are limited and boredom is almost always staring them in the face. All the real excitement in life comes a few years later, mostly upon admittance to pubs. But there is one beacon of hope for young teenagers: theme parks. It’s not that they are packed just with adrenaline fuelled rides. They are also the birthplace of fantastical teenage myths, most of which involve getting stuck upside down on a rollercoaster. Back in the realms of reality, theme parks can make for some exciting television. All you need is teenage rivalry and a gaggle of pop stars. Just make sure you Hold Tight

Monday, 9 August 2021

Pie in the Sky

There’s something ridiculously satisfying about a pie. Crisp, flaky pastry giving way to thick gravy which envelops the senses alongside juicy morsels of meat is unbeatable. Vegetarian pies are just as appetising, there’s no diet prejudice here. Whatever your tastes, the end result is the same: a fuzzy feeling of warmth and security. It’s an experience which isn’t a million miles away from the nostalgic rush of watching decades old children’s television. But what happens if you combine the two? Extreme satisfaction to the power of two? Well, thanks to the passing of time, it’s more than possible with a slice of Pie in the Sky.

Friday, 25 June 2021

Puddle Lane

Magic is, as we all know, an illusion. But it’s a distracting illusion and one that we all wish was real. That’s why it’s perfect for the world of fiction. Anything is possible when the shackles of reality and physics are discarded. Cauldrons can come to life, dragons can be treated to never ending bottles of lemonade and magicians can transport grass cuttings across the universe. It may sound a world away from the blockbuster adventures of a boy wizard, but life is just as enchanting down Puddle Lane.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Curious British Telly Fanzine Issue 3 Has Landed!

Time flies when you're furloughed and in the middle of yet another lockdown, so it's no surprise that the launch date for issue 3 of the Curious British Telly fanzine is here. Yes, that's right, to prove that the first two were no flash in the pans, we're back with a third issue. And, dare I say it, it may well be the best one yet.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

A Curious BBC Engineering Test from 1987

Neil Miles is a man who, much like myself, enjoys delving through piles of old videotapes in search of long forgotten footage. And his excellent YouTube channel recently delivered an intriguing slice of late night television in the form of a BBC engineering test from 1987.

Thursday, 27 May 2021

A Chock-a-Block Mug?!


In what can only be described as a ridiculous pursuit, I recently Googled "Chock-a-Block merchandise" in the hope it would reveal that there was a 1982 Chock-a-Block annual. But it didn't. As there never was any Chock-a-Block merchandise. However, the internet is full of enterprising and creative individuals, so there is some merchandise available. It may not be official, but this doesn't necessarily stop it being amazing. And this is best demonstrated by a particularly creative individual on Redbubble who has designed a lovingly accurate Chock-a-Block illustration.

You can buy it printed onto virtually anything: socks, posters and, I'm not even lying, shower curtains. Stepping out of a Chock-a-Block shower curtain isn't something I've ever considered and, to be truthful, I think it would be a folly too far even for me. But, nestled away in the listings, there was a brilliant mug which espoused nostalgic wonder and instantly had me humming the legendary theme tune. So, I bought it and two days later it was here.

You can find the mug - and all the other variations of the design - over here