When I first heard about this book it immediately went on to my Christmas list, and I’m pleased to say that Father Christmas delivered (or more accurately, author Dean Wilkinson did – thanks for the copy Dean). Having now had a chance to peruse its contents here are my thoughts on this rather spiffing tome.
After a brief introduction by Mr. Wilkinson and a rather funny two part foreword by TV’s Ant and Dec the book wastes no time in launching you into no less than one thousand questions about children’s television shows dating from the 1960s to the present day. Luckily for me a great many of the questions are about 1980s shows, and those that are about older shows are often programmes that were repeated during the eighties (for example Gerry Andersons puppet shows such as Thunderbirds and Stingray). For the audience of today you’ll find questions on the afore-mentioned Ant and Dec, Spongebob Squarepants and New Doctor Who.
The questions are grouped in themed blocks of ten, sometimes centred around a specific show whilst other categories might be about a certain actor or studio. For example there’s a section entitled “The Legend of Brian Cant” (I quite agree) and others on the combined works of Hanna Barbera and Cosgrove Hall. Another variety of questions ask you to find matches for two groups of ten things, for example puppets with their human sidekicks or different shows with their writers.
A nice touch is that each block of questions is introduced with a little bit of a description about the relevant programmes involved and most also have a Did You Know? section at the end packed with a few more fascinating facts in keeping with the theme of the questions. For example, I learnt that Brian Cant was once in Casualty and is married to Fern Britton’s sister, and that Scooby Doo was originally going to be called Too Much and hang around with the members of a rock band!
All in all this book is bound to keep you amused and frustrated in equal measure as you struggle to dig up the name of the actress who played Supergran from the depths of your memory. The only thing I would personally change is that many of the questions have multiple choice answers, which I found made some of the questions a little too easy as I may not have known the answer otherwise. However, this may only be of concern to me as I have a lot of otherwise useless kids TV show knowledge lurking in my brain, which is one of the reasons why I started making this site in the first place. I can easily get round this by asking someone else to read the questions to me!
Oh, and if you’re still wondering about the Supergran question, the answer is Gudrun Ure.Buy The Classic Children's Television Quiz Book at Amazon.co.uk