The Telebugs was a cartoon shown as part of the after school children’s programming on ITV. It was about a group of three flying robots who would come to the aid of people in distress, and because they were also kitted out with microphones and cameras would double up as TV news reporters, reporting back on their own daring rescue missions! Not a bad idea really, a good way of making your life as a superhero pay for itself!
All three Telebugs looked somewhat similar, with sleek curved bodies and a television screen for a head. They differed in size and colour. CHIP (Coordinated Hexadecimal Information Processor) was the notional leader, and was the tallest and white in colour. SAMANTHA (Solar Activated Micro Automated Non-inTerference Hearing Apparatus) was yellow and, being a girl had a red ribbon moulded to the top of her head (in so far as a robot can be called female anyway).
The smallest Telebug was called BUG (Binary Unmanned Gamma camera) and he was red in colour, and was, I suppose given his name, the cameraman of the group. He also had a pet named MIC (Mobile Independent Camera) who flew alongside him and helped in filming duties.
The Telebugs travelled around by flying. Instead of legs they had booster rockets, which enabled them to both hover in place and fly off to the rescue of some poor hapless civilian.
It is with great sadness that I must mourn the passing of another TV legend from my youth. Bob Holness, the genial host of Eighties teens quiz Blockbusters passed away peacefully in his sleep on 6th January 2012, aged 83.
I confess that before Blockbusters came along I don’t think I had ever heard of Bob Holness, but both him and the show for which he is best known soon became firm favourites in our household, with everybody in the family joining in with the quiz whilst we were having our evening meal.
Whilst Bob Holness was probably best known to many for TV quiz shows, being the host on Blockbusters, a revival of the word panel game Call My Bluff and indeed his first appearance on British TV on the show Take A Letter (don’t worry if you’ve not heard of this one, it was on in the early Sixties) his career spanned almost 60 years with the main stay of his career being in radio presenting.
Holness was born in South Africa in 1928, although his family moved to the UK when he was a child and this is where he was educated. In the Fifties he returned to South Africa and in 1955 became a radio presenter. In 1956 he became the second actor to ever portray James Bond when he recorded a radio version of Moonraker, voicing the secret agent.
Bob was also the subject of an urban myth that claimed he had played the saxophone on Gerry Rafferty’s hit Baker Street. Not one to disappoint Bob used to play along with this myth and also embellish it, as he would also lay claim to being the lead guitarist on a song called Layla by Derek and the Dominoes.
…but which is better? There’s only one way to find out! Fight!
Sorry, channelling Harry Hill there for a bit.
I wrote this week about the annual Christmas tradition of the big tin of chocolates, and back in the Eighties it was normally down to a choice between Quality Street and Roses, since these were really the only options available back then.
Long time readers of this site may remember I used to do a weekly “Saturday Survey”, so I thought I’d bring it back briefly to attempt to answer the question as to which brand of chocolates was the nation’s favourite in the Eighties.
Which big tin of chocolates did you have in your household in the Eighties?
Here is a great British Christmas tradition that is still very much alive today – the big tin of chocolates! Indeed, these days we even have rather more of a choice available to us in this area than we did back in the Eighties with relative newcomers Celebrations and Miniature Heroes.
The two big players in the Christmas sweet market in the Eighties, who are both still very popular today, were Quality Street and Roses. Our household were very much in the Quality Street camp.
We were never allowed to open the tin of Quality Street until Christmas Eve, which I think went some way towards making the whole experience of them that much sweeter (no pun intended).
On Christmas Eve my Mum would open up the tin, and put a few large handfuls out into a serving tray, which then sat on the sideboard (and topped up when necessary) along with the other Christmas staples of Orange and Lemon jelly slices, nuts and a box of Eat Me dates (which were only ever eaten by my Dad several weeks after Christmas).
My personal favourite was and still is the Green Triangle, although I’m also quite partial to the Strawberry and Orange creams. I also liked the Gooseberry cream which looked identical to the Orange cream but was in a green wrapper. They did bring this sweet back for a special edition version a couple of years back, and I had to confess that until this happened I was convinced the green fruit cream flavour had been lime, but obviously not.
I always loved the run up to Christmas, with all the indicators that the big day would soon be upon us. It was getting colder of course, and darker earlier, and all the shops started to display their Christmas decorations (though I’m sure they never used to hang them up as early as they sometimes do these days).
As an avid goggle box guzzling Eighties child though, I think the thing that really started to indicate the coming of the Christmas season were the changes that suddenly occurred on the television. A number of changes happened, normally around the time December began, and in this post I want to discuss some of them. So, in no particular order…
The Christmas Movie and TV Specials Preview Adverts
One of the first signs that Christmas was coming was the arrival of the trailer advert that showed all the films that a channel would be boasting come Yuletide.
This was a time when we didn’t have satellite TV and therefore channels devoted to playing movies, which meant that it often took several years after their box office releases before films finally made it onto TV. Christmas was therefore a time when the TV channels had a captive audience, and so the majority of movie premiers occurred during the Yuletide break. The advert was thus always very exciting as you made a mental checklist of all the films you wanted to see.
There was also another similar trailer advert showing all the Christmas specials of various TV shows that you could look forward to watching whilst waiting for the turkey to digest.
As soon as the Christmas editions of the TV Times and Radio Times became available I would then scour the pages of them to identify all these wonderful films and shows I wanted to watch, and would note down when they were on, which channel, and how long they were, so I could also make sure I had enough video tape space to record anything I wanted to keep.
In recent years our local shopping centre, like most shopping centres across the country, has given the younger inhabitants of our town a chance to go and visit Father Christmas in order to let him know what they would like for their presents on the big day.
This year however it was reported in the local newspaper that Mr. Christmas would not be visiting our town, basically because it seemed nobody bothered to organise it this year for various reasons I won’t bore you with. Anyway, this saddened me somewhat as when my sister and I were little going to visit Father Christmas was one of the highlights of the year for us.
There were two options for us when it came to visiting Santa’s Grotto. The first was closest to home, in our home town’s independent department store. This shop used to devote a small corner of the toy department to the Grotto, which was a pretty simple wooden shell with a curtain for a door, with Father Christmas sat inside.
St. Nicholas was nestled between two tubs of toys (boys and girls) and after saying you had been good this year and reeling off the list of things you’d like to have you were allowed to choose a toy and that was that.
December is here and it’s time once again for you to relive your youth by opening up the doors on the Child of the 1980’s Advent Calendar!
In fact, we’ve made it so easy for you that you don’t even have to fiddle about trying to get the perforations to tear on the little cardboard windows. The doors open magically each day all by themselves, so all you have to do is visit the page in your web browser.
Each door contains something from the Eighties, and if you click on it the power of the Intynet will take you straight to the relevant page on this very site so you can learn more about that particular thing.
Click on the following link for some Advent Calendar Fun!
Whilst the origins of the Synthesizer Keyboard lie in the early to mid twentieth century, it wasn’t really until the Sixties and Seventies that they really started to become used by musicians, mainly due to the reasons of reliability and cost.
In 1964 that started to change, with the release of the Moog (named after its creator Robert Moog) which was the first commercially available instrument of its kind. The first band to release an album featuring Moog created music was The Monkees, but they were soon followed by other notables including The Rolling Stones, The Doors and The Beatles.
The Moog created its sound by allowing the user of it to layer together simple waveforms of different kinds, such as sine waves. In doing so the sound created by the instrument could be changed to achieve a wide number of different effects.
In 1979 the Synthesizer market was shaken up again with the release of the Fairlight CMI (Computer Musical Instrument) as it took a different approach. The advent of micro computers allowed the Fairlight to work by using sampled sounds of real instruments, meaning that in theory at least it could sound like any instrument you wanted it to.
However the Fairlight and similar synthesizers still cost a huge amount of money when they first appeared, so remained the preserve of professional musicians, with probably Jean Michel Jarre being the artist who is most often linked with the Fairlight.