50 programmes everyone who grew up in 80’s & 90’s Britain will remember.


Generation Z. They’re a lucky old bunch aren’t they. They’ve got an abundance of everything haven’t they – more choice than ever before – they don’t know they’re born – they’ve got Harry Styles and Snapchat for goodness sakes, what have they got to complain about.

Well ladies and gentlemen, do they have Cleopatra comin’ atcha? Are their dreams filled with the hopes of winning a digital calculator or some inline skates from Pat Sharpe’s mullet? Could they ever understand the joy of taking their ENTIRE school on an outing to throw a ball into a net whilst standing on a giant foot – all while Angelica Bell cheers them on from the side lines. No. They do not. They cannot. They will not. And for that, I pity them.

Let’s take a moment to go back to the 1990s. A golden generation for children’s television, the likes of which we are doubtful to ever see again. This one’s for all you 30-somethings. Stay young at heart you guys.

1. Playdays

Looking back on it, I really feel like Rosie was a euphemism for something.

2. Noddy

Encouraged all young children in the 90’s to attempt to drive a car around town with a weird old man in the passenger seat. Tinkling bell indeed.

3. Bernard’s watch

If you had the ability to stop time – I bet you’d have big plans. Not Bernard. Good old Bernard just wanted to do the supermarket ‘big shop’ undisturbed and spend all his pocket money on Polos. Simpler times.

4. Spider!

Who knew Simon and Garfunkel wrote a song about arachnophobia. I always wanted the spider to triumph over that pathetic child, just get in the bath for heaven’s sake.

5. Grange Hill

After Zammo’s death from drugs in 1986, the ‘hard-hitting’ school drama hit a low in the 1990s – when apparently the most shocking thing a teenager could do was make illegal use of the office photocopier.

6. Old Bear

Bears are rubbish at getting dressed, fact. But trousers make good icing bags. Who knew?

7. Fireman Sam

Naughty Norman still resides in Pontypandy. He has 14 children, an asbo and a tattoo of a cat up a tree on his forearm.

8. Postman Pat

Never will the youth of today experience the joy of getting your post by 7am come rain, shine, or wind. I’m sure Mrs Goggins was selling illegal substances from behind the post office desk though.

9. Chuckle Vision

Salt and sugar has never been so hilar. Paul and Barry Chuckle, comedy trailblazers.

10. Children’s Ward

Oh the costumes! The sets! The makeup! The Tim Vincent shouting dick head whilst wearing stripy pyjamas! This hospital drama had.it.all.

11. The Hoobs

Hoobletoodledo Tiddly Peeps. Another educational delight from the Jim Henson Company – HOOBYGALOOBY!

12. William’s Wish Wellingtons

His boots might have been awesome, and made him conker champ of the world. But really he should have wished for some hair that wasn’t totally shit.

13. Oakie Doke

TBF who wouldn’t want to live in a world where an acorn can solve all your problems?

14. Charlie Chalk

So popular was this odd clown man in the late 1980s that a pub chain named their soft play areas after him, and bloody EVERY CHILD I EVER KNEW had their birthday party there (before they were old enough to go to Wimpy, obvz.)

15. The Animals of Farthing Wood

If you cross the road, you die. All the forests burn down. Hunters will shoot you. No cute animal is safe. But badgers are hard-core as heck. A straightforward series of messages, from this frankly terrifying cartoon of the early 1990s.

16. The Queen’s Nose

Rubbed every 50p I ever received as a child, rubbed them real hard. But alas no wishes for me, or an invisible rabbit. Jel.

17. Miami 7

A cautionary (if not slightly unrealistic) tale about the modern music industry. One day you’re performing in an empty church hall in Grantham, the next you’re signed to a major record label, and um, moved into a hotel next to a swamp in Miami to perform for a man named Howard. I used to watch this show before heading to my local teen disco each Friday night; it gave me hope for a better life.

18. Live and Kicking

“Hurry up and finish New Adventures Of Superman (SOZ Dean Caine.) I WANT TO WATCH LIVE AND KICKING!!!” Said every child growing up in the early 1990s.

“Joy to the world I can have a lie in, cheers Andi Peters.” Said every parent of the early 1990s.

I can honestly say with hand on heart I never saw my mother before midday on any Saturday in my entire childhood.

19. 50/50

Flynn the spin was a knob head of a computer, Sally Gray was a tad annoying, and the blue team always won. But it was a school child’s dream to get onto this game show and become the hero who won their class a new PC.

20. Fourways Farm

Man those cockney rats were EVIL!

21. Tots TV

Ah, my personal favourite. Three mad head tots with crazy coloured hair and some banging corduroy dungarees go wild in their cabin in the woods. They’ve got no parents, a ‘saq magique’ which is presumably full of drugs and makes one of them think she’s French despite living in Elstree, their only friend is a donkey, there’s a really anal one who loves sleeping and tidying up, they love playing the recorder and sometimes they go out and spy on other children. The nineties folks, the nineties.

22. Rosie and Jim

An old bearded man on a canal boat who has obviously been kicked out of mainstream society for crimes against waistcoats creates the illusion of having friends by imagining two rag dolls and a wooden duck are alive but “pretends” they only move around when he can’t see them. Odd. Plus his stories were basic AF. This shopping episode is pure lols though. Carnage mun.

23. Stopit and Tidyup


Terry Wogan presents ‘Social conditioning, 90’s style.’

24. Potsworth and Co, AKA: Midnight patrol – adventures in the dream zone

The Nightmare Prince & the Grey Stone Giant were the stuff of, well nightmares. But I always wanted to bounce on dem sweet sweet mattresses.

25. Round the twist

Our only Australian entry on the list, but one of the best for reasons of pure wackiness. Move into a haunted lighthouse and shit is going to kick off. The one about Bronson getting the power to wee the highest up the wall was a particular fave of mine.

26. How 2

I genuinely still use tips from this programme to live my best life. Does Fred have a Nobel prize for science yet?

27. Byker Grove

Ah Newcastle. Where all children live under the roof of one foster mum and spend most of their time worrying about doing something that might get them ‘barred from the Grove’ or blinded in a freak paintballing accident. When bearded ‘keeper of the kids’ Geoff died in 2000 a piece of all of us died. But unfortunately Ant and Dec are still going strong.

28. Finders Keepers

How to teach children to trash a house for no good reason, by Neil Buchanan.

29. Art Attack

How to teach children to use random shite to make a picture that only makes sense from a helicopter, by Neil Buchanan.

30. Brum

Cars need to do their weekly shop too guys.

31. The Demon Headmaster

People who wear tinted glasses are evil, no exceptions. I’m looking at you Oasis. 

32. Cleopatra Coming ‘Atcha

Never bully kids at school because you never know, their sisters might be international superstars who just happen to pop in to perform in the gym hall. I’m still in disbelief that the goggles on the head thing really happened.

33. Fun House

Think your life is hard. The twins are still appearing at student parties as ‘The Twins’ – they are 45.

34. Count Duckula

A Vegetarian Vampire duck bosses around his ageing servants. Nanny was a total ledge wasn’t she?

35. Barney

No, not the stupid purple dinosaur. THE ORIGINAL AND BEST BARNEY. He was a dog, and he liked being polite, and sleeping and I’m okay with that. Every girl in the UK also owned the Barney bedspread. 

36. Zzzap

If anyone admits to liking Daisy Dares I will give them a tenner. That girl was RUDEEE. Don’t even get me started on Cuthbert Lilly.

37. Poddington peas

My peas never had any personality. Poddington has a lot to answer for. BTW black eyed peas are actually nice – down with stereotyp(eas)

38. Out of tune.

They’re a choir, but they can’t SING. Oh how we laughed. This is the only programme I can’t find archive for. Believe me, it’s for the best. (Spoiler: They became S Club 7) 

39. Bodger and Badger

I blame them for my over indulgent appetite for carbs. RIP Bodge and Badge. Never forgotten.

40. The Racoons

Because looking after the environment is cool kids okay? And did we ever find of wtf Cyril Sneer actually was?

41. Knightmare

To this day it’s the most advanced programme ITV have ever made.

42. SMTV Live

As a loyal ‘live and kicker-er I had a grudge against SMTV. But it was worth watching for Wonky Donkey alone.

43. Pingu

The episode where Pingu makes a set of igloo toilet steps is the stuff of TV legend. As a child I was also convinced I was the only person in the world who could speak ‘Pingu’ – I think I still am.

44. Wizadora

Hangle. What was he? Why was he? Do any of us really care? How do you get into trainee wizard school. I don’t know the answer to any of these questions – oh botherations.

45. Huxley Pig.

A pig, a seagull and an unquenchable love of sandwiches. What more do you want?

46. Five Children and It.

Alan Sugar’s introduction to television as he grants his young apprentices 3 wishes from the sand.

47. Funny Bones

We get it, it’s dark. Jeez.

48. Mike and Angelo.

Looking back on it, I don’t care if he could walk on the ceiling. Angelo was a total creep!

49. The Riddlers

Before finding mainstream fame on the X Factor, Stacey Solomon starred as ‘Tiddler’ in this odd Yorkshire garden based show.

50. Look and read: Dark Towers.

To end, an honourable mention for Dark Towers from the look and read series. Back when learning to read meant being placed in front a TV in your primary school library for an hour. RIP Wordy, we will never forget your contribution to literacy.


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