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Archive for October, 2009

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The Best 80s Cosgrove Hall Cartoon

Posted by Big Boo on October 17th, 2009

I’ve just found out that the brilliant Cosgrove Hall have recently folded! Please say it isn’t so. This company was responsible for some of the best British produced animated works ever made, and their work spanned both traditional cel animation, stop motion puppets and more recently computer generated imaging.

With the shocking state of British kids TV these days (with the possible exception of the BBC) it is disappointing to see a company that created many of my favourite childhood TV programmes being forced to close. Shame on you ITV, owners of Cosgrove Hall, for letting this happen.

As a mark of respect then this weeks survey is to find out which of the traditional cel animated cartoons produced by Cosgrove Hall in the 1980’s was the best. This means you have a choice of DangerMouse, Count Duckula or Alias the Jester, as including everything they ever made would make for far too many choices I’m afraid.

However, I don’t feel I can finish without mentioning some of my other favourite shows from the Cosgrove Hall animators. Sticking with the Eighties there was the beautifully made puppet series based on Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows, with David Jason’s Mr. Toad being particularly memorable. Other big favourites of mine from the Seventies were Chorlton and the Wheelies and Jamie and the Magic Torch. They just don’t make shows like those any more…

The best Eighties Cosgrove Hall cartoon was...
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Climate Change? Here’s My Evidence!

Posted by Big Boo on October 15th, 2009

hat and scarfToday’s post is my little contribution to this years Blog Action Day. The idea behind Blog Action Day is to get as many people talking about a big global issue by having blog writers post on a particular topic, and this year that topic is Climate Change.

Previously on this site I’ve written about the hole in the ozone layer, which is probably one of the first things people think about when they hear the words climate change – that and the fact that the polar regions (both north and south) seem to be melting away at a rather alarming rate. Now, I have no evidence to corroborate any of this, but I am convinced that something is going on with the UK weather systems, and I’ll now explain why!

Firstly, this week is the week of my home towns annual fun fair. I used to love attending the fair, going on the rides and relishing my only chance other than during the summer holidays to play on the arcade games. When I think of these memories I also remember just how cold and wet it used to be when the fair came to town.

My parents would make my sister and I wrap up warm, with wooly hat, scarf, mittens or gloves (on elastic of course) and my fur lined hooded jacket. We also had to put on two pairs of socks and our wellington boots, simply because it usually rained around then and turned the field on which the fun fair was sited to turn into a muddy quagmire in places. Even with all this, the wind still rattled through you and chilled you to the bone.

Fast forward 25 years or so to today and the fair still comes to town at the same time of year, but now it’s quite possible to walk around it in the evening with normal shoes, one pair of socks, a lightweight jacket and no hat, scarf or gloves at all. Could it be that now I’m older I don’t feel the cold so much? Possibly, but I don’t think so, given that my nephews can go to the fair and not have to wrap up as if it’s arctic conditions out there. I can only surmise then that the UK weather in October has got milder.

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More Rewind, I Wanna Trio and a Knightmare too

Posted by Big Boo on October 14th, 2009

Today’s post is a bit of a round up, so covers a few things.

Firstly, the organisers of the 80s Rewind Festival that took place in August this year have let me know that last years event was so popular that they’re organising another for next year. Last years event has been nominated in the UK Festival Awards for Best New Festival, Best Medium Sized Festival and, perhaps less glamorously but no less importantly, Best Toilets.

The festival will be taking place in Henley-on-Thames on August 20th-22nd, and whilst no line up of acts has yet been announced, last years featured such names as Rick Astley, Bananarama, Gloria Gaynor, Howard Jones and Chas and Dave. As a sad aside the last band have recently split as Dave has retired from music following the death of his wife.

You can book tickets for next years event at the 80s Rewind Festival site now at 2009 prices.

Completely unrelated to music festivals are a couple of links I’d like to let people know about. Firstly, in a recent survey on this site I asked which eighties sweet you would like to see come back, and Jacob’s Trio came out on top (or at least did at the time of writing this).

Well, I was reminded recently by Matthew Deakin of the Facebook group Bring Back Trio Bars. Matthew is hoping to get a good number of supporters to his cause so if you have a Facebook account and were a Trio fan, why not join the group to lend your support?

Finally, another topic I posted about recently which seemed to strike a chord with many people was the virtual reality game show Knightmare. There are plans to release a Knightmare DVD but only if there are enough people interested, so if you would like to see this come out check out the following forum post on

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Domino Rally

Posted by Big Boo on October 12th, 2009

domin rallyI’m not sure why, but the Eighties seemed to be a time when breaking the world domino toppling record became a bit of a mania, particularly among Japanese students as I recall.

I used to love watching these intricate displays on TV (I seem to recall Record Breakers showing the attempts quite regularly), marvelling at the sheer number of dominoes involved and the amazing effects that could be achieved. I remember one particular attempt at the record which recreated famous works of art such as the Mona Lisa using lots of coloured dominoes. Before toppling it looked like a big black rectangle, but afterwards the colours of the dominoes revealed the picture.

The sound of the dominoes falling over was also strangely soothing for some reason, with thousands of little clicky sounds merging to sound like a room full of tiny insects all applauding at once!

All this interest in domino toppling meant that before long the toy manufacturers realised that setting up a regular box of dominoes soon became boring because there weren’t enough in a set to do anything really interesting, so out came the Domino Rally sets. These packs usually consisted of several hundred dominoes and a couple of “set pieces”, larger plastic contraptions that did more interesting things like set off a rocket or flip a domino into the air.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Got Any Milk?

Posted by Big Boo on October 10th, 2009

Yesterday’s post was about the classic “Accrington Stanley” advert for milk, so this weeks question is a simple one? When you were a kid, did you heed the adverts advice and drink milk?

Got any milk?
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Accrington Stanley, Who Are They?

Posted by Big Boo on October 9th, 2009

accrington stanley, who are theyI defy anyone to watch this classic TV advert for milk from the eighties without putting on a Liverpudlian accent and joining in with the two little lads. It’s one of those adverts that have somehow got ingrained in the conscious of any Child of the 1980’s.

As mentioned the advert in question was on behalf of the British Milk Marketing Board (or whatever their official name may be) and was intended to get the nations youth drinking nice healthy milk instead of carbonated badness. Whether it actually achieved that aim or not I don’t know, but the advert was certainly popular.

In it two little Liverpool supporters open up a fridge looking for refreshment after having a bit of a kick about, although we only ever actually see the face of the milk drinker. His mate asks for lemonade, and then sounds disgusted when the over little lad starts pouring himself a glass of milk.

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Top Gun

Posted by Big Boo on October 7th, 2009

top gunIt may not have been his first movie, but if it wasn’t for Top Gun then I don’t think Tom Cruise would be as big a star as he is today. This film made Cruise a household name in 1986 and for the rest of the Eighties he was one of Hollywood’s most bankable actors.

Top Gun itself has also made itself part of popular culture history, at the time making Aviator sunglasses and bomber jackets cool and making the phrase “I feel the need… The need for speed” a much quoted line. It also got a generation of kids interested in becoming a fighter pilot, and is probably where a lot of people got their inspiration from when coming up with a cool sounding nickname when playing video games online!

Looking at the film today it still holds up well, mainly due to the fact that the footage of the jet planes flying about is actually jet planes flying about, not model shots or as it would be today, computer generated images. Indeed the film makers even managed to convince the US Navy to fire two real missiles, such were the lengths they went to for realism.

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Our New Competition

Posted by Big Boo on October 5th, 2009

small prizes picIt’s been a little while but I’ve finally got round to organising a little competition for you. The prize consists of two books, The Classic Childrens Television Quiz Book and Sarkylocks and the Three Bears, by Dean Wilkinson, and SuperTed and Doctor Snuggles DVD.

For a chance to win these great prizes all you need to do is answer a simple question – What was the name of the badger friend of Doctor Snuggles? The answer can be found fairly easily on this site (there’s a link not a million miles away that will get you the answer), and if you click to enter the competition you’ll even find a set of multiple choice answers to make it even easier.

The competition is open until the end of October, so click here to enter or on the big icon in the sidebar! Best of luck!