One of the greatest kids shows to come out of the late 1970’s (and then to repeated many a time during the 1980’s) was Jamie and the Magic Torch. This animated show from Cosgrove Hall, creator of Chorlton and the Wheelies and Dangermouse amongst many other classic shows, featured young boy Jamie and his Old English sheepdog Wordsworth and their nightly adventures in Cuckoo Land, which as you will see was particularly aptly named.
Every episode started with Jamie being tucked into his bed by his mother, but as soon as she was out of the room Wordsworth would appear from under the bed with Jamie’s Magic Torch. Quite how Jamie came into possession of this gadget I have no idea, but upon switching it on and pointing the beam at the floor a helter skelter would be created which Jamie and Wordsworth would then slide down to enter Cuckoo Land. This was the title sequence to the show, which was accompanied by one of the most rock based soundtracks you could ever hope to find gracing a kids TV show.
Cuckoo Land itself wasn’t all that strange, but the people who inhabited it certainly were. Most adventures for Jamie and Wordsworth, who could talk with a great west country accent once he reached Cuckoo Land, tended to involve Mr. Boo (no relation of mine by the way) who was an inventor of sorts, and travelled around in what can best be described as a submarine. It certainly looked like one, but it could burrow through the ground and could also fly. Mr. Boo was a little bit scatterbrained as I recall, and generally required Jamie’s help with his Magic Torch.
The Torch didn’t just allow entrance to Cuckoo Land you see. It had an array of buttons and switches which allowed it to perform different tasks, all carried out simply by shining the torch beam at whatever object you wanted to affect. For example, the beam might have a shrinking property, which caused anything Jamie shone the beam at to reduce in size.
Some of the other memorable characters were PC Gotcha, who had a unicycle wheel in place of legs, who would zoom around Cuckoo Land keeping the law and eating his supply of truncheons, and Jojo Help, an odd job man who would magically appear whenever anyone said help, and would then not really do anything to help at all. There was also the bizarre Strumpers Plunkett, an orange creature with a trumpet like nose, who as I recall was a bit of a noisy nuisance most of the time.
Having solved whatever problem Cuckoo Land threw at them, Jamie and Wordsworth would finish their adventure by travelling back to Jamie’s bedroom via the helter skelter, which conveniently appeared closed to them at the end of the story. This was quite fun, since they would return up the helter skelter backwards, basically by having the title sequence played backwards! Anyway, I’m sure you’re itching to hear the theme song again, so check out the video below!