Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Our 10 Most Popular Blogs (and How We Wrote Them)

Curious British Telly has been blogging about the mysteries of British television for just over 2 years now and we've covered a fair few shows in that time.

Which shows, though, have proved most popular in quenching your thirst for knowledge?

And why exactly have you been unable to resist reading them?

We took a look over our viewing stats to examine the 10 most viewed articles!

1. Running Scared

BBC1's children's show Running Scared from 1986 takes the number one position and just happens to be one of our favourites.

The tale of a schoolgirl taking on local villains captured the imagination of many schoolchildren in the 1980s who still hold memories of the show close to their chest.

There was very little online about the show, so we decided to really go to town with our article.

We scored a real exclusive with this article by getting in touch with Bernard Ashley - who wrote the book the series was based on - for an interview. He was incredibly helpful and also provided several photos from the series wrap up party.

This gave many fans a chance to understand a bit more about the show as opposed to just hearing "THAT SHOW WAS AWESOME!" repeated ad nauseum online.

2. Heil Honey I'm Home

The infamous Hitler based sitcom ruffled many feathers on it's release in 1990, so it's not a surprise that this article proved engaging with readers.

Despite a furore surrounding the show - one which remains vibrant to this day - there had been very little investigation into the show.

We wanted to go a little deeper and see what lay beneath all the controversy, so we went straight to the source and interviewed Geoff Atkinson to hear his side of the story.

He defended his show very admirably and cast new light on the circumstances behind the show.

This intrigued our readers and the viewing figures soon racked up.

3. Bits

Bits was a short lived computer games programme hosted by three feisty and opinionated young ladies as part of the legendary 4Later schedule.

There wasn't too much information online about the show, so we thought we could score a nice exclusive here and we threw an article up.

Curious British Telly barely had any viewers at this point, so we forgot about the article and moved on. In fact, our lack of popularity with anyone at this point meant we were considering giving up on the blog.

But then one of the presenters of Bits - Aleks Krotoski - retweeted about it.

Our Twitter then went INSANE for a couple of hours as dozens of her followers favourited and retweeted the article.

Since then it's maintained a steady source of traffic as people look to reacquaint themselves with the show.

Thanks, Aleks!

4. The Tripods

Despite being relatively well known and covered, we couldn't help but do a piece on one of our favourite flawed sci-fi shows.

We wrote a fairly lengthy piece - all our early blogs were a bit word heavy - with all our opinions, but didn't really add anything new to the show's online legacy.

We had to try and find something unique. Something people hadn't seen before.

Luckily, we managed to get hold of a 1985 interview with Jim Baker about the series from obscure sci-fi magazine Fantasy Image.

We scanned this and slung it up on the blog and it's proved interesting to many fans since. Even Jim Baker himself!

5. Scragtag and his Tea Time Telly

Ah Scragtag!

We first discovered him whilst flicking through an old issue of the Radio Times. His rough and ready look was very appealing, but was he as amazing as we imagined?

There was absolutely no footage online of Scragtag. Not even a snippet.

We had to find out more about this mysterious moggie, so accepted our own challenge of providing an overview of Scragtag.

We headed to the BFI Archive to watch a few of his shows and found that our early assumptions were correct - his personality was amazing.

Despite this great character, we felt his shows sometimes steered towards tedium although a few sections were pretty cool.

He should have been a bigger star, but his fantastic persona engaged many fans during the 80s and they rushed to our article to rediscover Scragtag.

6. Chock-a-Block

The insanely catchy and synth heavy theme tune of Chock-a-Block burrowed its way the minds of a whole generation of kids in the 1980s and has refused to budge ever since.

We were one of those kids, so revisiting the show to see if it measured up to our memories was something we had to do.

It's these types of shows we most love going back to. You know, there's a personal attachment, something we can relate to and recall fond memories about.

Chock-a-Block wasn't quite the tearful reunion we were expecting though.

The content tends to drag at times and this left us yawning and looking anxiously at our watch. However, it's a colourful show and the presenters are cheerful, bouncy types, so it still retains an endearing quality.

And, once again, that theme tune! WOW!

Anyway, to give our article a bit more value we tracked down Carol Leader for a quick interview; you've been gorging on her answers ever since!

7. Pie in the Sky

Another delight served up from our early childhood, Pie in the Sky was a mixture of storytelling, songs, pastry and aliens!

It's a show we had never forgotten, but strangely there was little comment online about the show bar a few brief snippets.

This was a great chance for us to revisit our youth, but also provide some unique musings to the information hungry masses online.

Several episodes are up on YouTube, so carrying out research was a cinch (and free!).

The pieman and the piewife are a fantastic duo (they're married in real life too), so the chemistry between them is genuine and imbues the show with a cheery, family atmosphere.

Plenty of you have come to read about the show since, so we weren't the only ones the show engaged!

8. A Sharp Intake of Breath

We'll be honest, here, A Sharp Intake of Breath was a difficult show to review.

First off, the real interest lies in the rumour that David Jason has previously blocked any attempts to have it released or repeated.

It's curious little side notes like this that get us excited and asking questions, so we had to take a detailed look at the show.

Luckily, a few episodes are out in the murky black market world of archive television, so we got hold of a few episodes.

We were very disappointed with the episodes we watched. Despite the show racking up four series, we could find no laughs and the plots were depressingly formulaic.

However, the cult around the show and it's 'blocked' existence means that it maintains a buzz of interest online.

9.  Lucky Feller

Well ring a ding ding! If it isn't another David Jason vehicle in our top 10!

This time it's the proto Only Fools and Horses series Lucky Feller featuring two brothers and a stupid little car.

It's a decent, if unremarkable, entry into the 70s farce sitcom genre and another programme claimed to be being held back by David Jason.

However, since our blog aired, the series has received a full release on DVD.

We don't want to say that our blog was responsible for this, but it probably was.

10. The Mad Death

Rabies in Britain?! It's the last thing we need! 

The Mad Death is not quite horror and not quite post apocalyptic terror fest, but it certainly makes for some intense, and often grim, viewing.

Some dark, depressing scenes really struck a chord with the viewing public, and also our readers, as it's currently our 10th most viewed article.

What Makes for a Good Article?

We don't see ourselves as master writers and, sometimes, the lack of real depth in our writing does trouble us. However, we've certainly learned a few things about writing articles people really want to read.

Well, it seems that exclusive material is the key to popular articles and this sits nicely with the oft used phrase by online marketers of "CONTENT IS KING".

This exclusive material can sometimes be in the form of an interview which reveals fresh insights, but sometimes it may just be the first article online to go into any depth.

By providing this unique content we're able to mark ourselves out as an authority on tiny, specialised niches and hopefully impress people enough to come back.

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