Watching the goggle box

Well, we called it the goggle box – not to be confused with the 21st century Google Box, of course. Such things were not even a twinkle in the eye of the futurologists of the day.

The goggle box would make your eyes go square, but this did not stop us all from watching it every night. The range of programmes was limited by modern standards, but at least it meant we had a shared topic for discussion the next day.

Children’s TV from my era is often viewed nostalgically by a number of people; to be honest much of it was rubbish. Those who long for the return of simpler children’s programming must have forgotten how dreadful things like Pinky and Perky were! They certainly gave me a headache.

But oh! some of it was wonderful! At a quiz recently I asked “It’s Friday, it’s five to five, what is it?”, and most of the room shouted the answer out loud before they could stop themselves – “Crackerjack!”.

When I was small the Crackerjack presenters came to a fundraising event in town, and my mother took me along to see them. I regret to say that the main attraction was not interested in talking to the crowd of small fans who came to see him; he made his speech and vanished immediately. His sidekick however, Peter Glaze, came into the crowded hall and went around talking to everyone. He even helped me choose a new dress for my toy panda.

It was an eye-opener for a small child – that people on TV are not always as nice or as silly as they appear. My mother was certainly disgusted with the other presenter’s behaviour; and I watched TV in a new light from then on.

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