You don’t get TV shows like this any more, though whether that’s a good thing or not I’m not quite sure! Emu’s Pink Windmill Show was aired during the 1980’s and in it’s prime pulled in millions of eager kids. It also appealed to those kids parents who boosted the viewing figures further, as Rod Hull and Emu had been around when they were growing up too!
The Pink Windmill Show was a happy pantomime of a show. Rod, resplendant in his camp pink suit and top hat, presided over the whole affair by generally being a little bit stupid and useless most of the time, with Emu always in tow. The most annoying aspect of the show was the hoard of singing and dancing kids who broke into a musical number at the drop of a hat, usually singing a song along the lines of “We’re busy doing nothing” or something about how great it is to be friends. You know the kind of thing.
Sharing the limelight was the witch Grotbags, who predictably was green skinned (just like Fenella from Chorlton and the Wheelies!). She was armed with her bazaza, a golden rod with a hand on the end that had the index finger sticking out. She used this to keep her cronies in line, who were Croc, a cowardly camp crocodile, and Redford, a know-it-all, camp, golden robot, basically a slightly overweight bloke wrapped in gold cardboard trying to be C-3PO. As you’re beginning to see, campness was one of the main tenets of the show. The bazaza was great, as Grotbags would hit someone with it, and a stupid springy sound effect would be played. Grotbags herself added to this by shouting bazazz! at the same time.
The show is also responsible for the catchphrase “There’s somebody at the door“, which would get endlessly chanted whenever the door to the Pink Windmill was knocked upon, and Rod and the kids would dance their way over to the door to see who it was. Most times it was Grotbags, whereupon everyone would run and hide.
Each episode then became an attempt by Grotbags to kidnap Emu from Rod. Quite why she wanted to do this I can’t exactly recall, but I think it was something to do with believing that having Emu would make her popular. Interspersed in all this mayhem some kids got the chance to win a few prizes, and I also recall there was an ongoing story about a magical kingdom trapped in a bubble of time, with Rod (minus Emu) playing the king of said kingdom and another character called Odd Job John usually ending up saving the day. Now, some of this may have been Emu’s World, but time has merged the two shows in my mind and I can’t quite remember what the differences between the two were.
Sadly Rod died when he fell off his roof in 1999 whilst trying to fix his TV aerial, but for all you Emu fans out there, news is that Toby Hull, Rod’s son, is to bring Emu back to our screens in a new Children’s ITV series, and if you want a reminder of just how silly The Pink Windmill Show was, then check out the following clip, which is a Grotbags-Croc-and-Redford-fest!