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Posted by Big Boo on December 23rd, 2008

Jigsaw was a BBC childrens show that aired from 1979-1984.  It was devised by Clive Doig, who was also responsible for those Trackword puzzles in the back of the Radio Times (do they still feature in the Radio Times?  I’ve no idea as I haven’t needed to buy a copy in years thanks to Sky’s on screen planner!).

It was initially hosted by mime artist Adrian Headley (although he did speak a fair bit on the show) and Janet Ellis of Blue Peter fame, aided by a little orange jigsaw piece named Jig, who was voiced by John Leeson (the voice of K9 from Doctor Who).

The idea of the show was to identify a six letter word from clues given by the presenters in the form of sketches.  Each sketch represented a different letter and once all the sketches had been aired the word was revealed thanks to a series of cardboard letters on twirly poles.  There were normally a couple of words to guess each episode, with one being a write in competition word (answers on a postcard please!).

During the course of the show we were normally treated to a madcap sketch featuring regular character Noseybonk, which was Headley dressed in a smart black suit and wearing a big white face mask that had a huge nose.  Noseybonk would dash about some location with an incessant piece of music wibbling away in the background, doing crazy things and normally upsetting some other character in the sketch in the process.

Another regular feature was the story section read by Ellis, entitled “The Amazing Adventures of Jig (Part 1)”.  It may have been some other word in place of Amazing and obviously the part number changed each week, but you get the idea.  This was a series of static images, usually with Jig overlaid, which were presented as Janet narrated.  I seem to recall there being some kind of Where’s Wally type part to this as well, where you had to spot Jig hiding in the picture somewhere, but I might be wrong about that.

The O-Men also put in regular appearances.  Played by dwarf actor David Rappaport and ex-Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy, they were superheroes, of a sort, who appeared whenever somebody said three words containing double O’s.  Another regular in later series (who eventually took over from Janet Ellis when she left for Blue Peter) was Dot, played by Julia Binstead, who was meant to be the little blinking dot that used to appear in the top right of your TV screen to indicate a program was about to start or end.  In today’s digital age I believe dot is no longer required, but back then the dot was important as it indicated to the broadcasting equipment that a change of source signal would be required soon.

Yet another contributor to the show was the mad inventor Wilf Lunn.  Famous for his pink and blue tinted spectacles and smartly twirled moustache, Wilf would entertain with some crazy invention of some kind or another, usually completely over engineered for the task it was designed for.

Last but not least there was also a puppet called Pterry the Pterosaurus, who sat on a pole and pretended to be very wise about everything.  I don’t really remember what else he did though.

I really used to enjoy watching Jigsaw, even though I never quite understood how they managed to get to the final answers most of the time.  I reckon they should bring it back, as it exercises young minds far better than some of todays kids TV.