Children’s ITV

In the 1980s, ITV began packaging and branding its children’s programming screened each weekday afternoon from around 4.00 pm until 5.15.

The short continuity links between the programmes were initially recorded at studios in London. Here Ringo Starr of The Beatles has turned up along with the Reverend Awdry to announce the launch of their animation series THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE.

A challenging guest presenter was Travelling Matt, the Muppet character from Fraggle Rock. He required the whole set to be elevated to accommodate his partner – a six foot tall Canadian.

Grotbags the Witch from the Rod Hull and Emu series popped in to say Hello.

Occasionally we went on location. After a couple of demanding days with Jimmy Cricket down in Torquay (where he was in summer season) we managed to acquire all the footage we needed for another month’s worth of packaging.

As Jimmy kept saying, “We’re cooking on gas now!”

Later on, we invited Scally to join the squad.

We moved the continuity operation to Central TV’s Birmingham studio Four. First up presenting the live links were Debbie and Gary.

More than 1000 people once worked at those magnificent studios.

For various reasons, Central left the site to operate from much smaller premises a few streets away.

I, along with many other old hands, was dismayed to witness the bulldozers turn up to demolish “the fun factory”.

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