UK KIDS TV : What we watched in the 1980s

by The_Invisible_Dog | created - 08 Feb 2012 | updated - 3 days ago | Public

Those we loved, those we watched simply because there was nothing better on. Still, it was THE golden age of kids TV: Intelligent, creative and warm-hearted.

All hail to the lovingly-crafted worlds of Oliver Postgate, Tony Hart, Derek Griffiths, Johnny Morris, Floella Benjamin, Brian Cant, Johnny Ball etc

List includes 60s/70s shows that were repeated during the 80s. Also includes some 90s shows that had 80s spirit.

Regularly updated. Thanks for viewing. x

p.s. List is best read chronologically. Sort by: release date. Then click 'arrows icon'

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1. Bagpuss (1974)

15 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

Bagpuss and his friends are toys in a turn of the century shop for 'found things'. When young Emily brings them a new object, the toys come to life to work out what the strange new thing ... See full summary »

Stars: Oliver Postgate, Sandra Kerr, John Faulkner, Emily Firmin

Votes: 743

2. The Clangers (1969–1974)

10 min | Animation, Family, Sci-Fi

The series chronicled the melancholically funny lives of the Clangers, a flutey-voiced family of woolen, knitted aliens living below the surface of a knobbly little planet far out in space.... See full summary »

Star: Oliver Postgate

Votes: 560

3. Ivor the Engine (1976–1977)

5 min | Animation, Family

In the 'top, left hand corner of Wales' runs an archaic railway line staffed by such characters as Jones the Steam and Dai Station. Their pride is Ivor, the steam engine with a will of his ... See full summary »

Stars: Olwen Griffiths, Anthony Jackson, Oliver Postgate, David Edwards

Votes: 285

4. Noggin the Nog (1979–1980)

10 min | Animation, Family

"In the Lands of the North, where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, the men of the North Lands sit by their great log fires, and they tell a tale..."

Stars: Ronnie Stevens, Oliver Postgate, Sandra Kerr

Votes: 33

5. Willo the Wisp (1981– )

5 min | Animation, Family

A series of 5 minute cartoons about a group of inhabitants of a forest. Willo the Wisp is a sprite formed from gas who narrates each story. Other characters included Evil Edna (a witch ... See full summary »

Star: Kenneth Williams

Votes: 307

6. Bod (1975– )

TV-Y | 15 min | Animation, Family, Music

The adventures of a little boy called Bod, who lives in a town with his friends Aunt Flo, P.C. Copper, Frank the Postman and Farmer Barleymow. Each episode also featured Alberto Frog and his Amazing Animal Band.

Stars: John Le Mesurier, Maggie Henderson

Votes: 116

7. The Amazing Adventures of Morph (1980–1981)

5 min | Animation, Family

The Gobbledygook spouting, shape-shifting little Plasticine man who first appeared in the 1977 arty TV show "Take Hart" gets his own series. Morph, his pet nailbrush and naughty "twin" Chas have all sorts of adventures.

Star: Tony Hart

Votes: 100

8. The Wind in the Willows (1984–1988)

22 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

Based on the characters created by Kenneth Grahame, this award winning animated series follows the adventures of Mole (Richard Pearson) as he leaves home to discover the world. Mole finds ... See full summary »

Stars: Richard Pearson, Peter Sallis, Michael Hordern, David Jason

Votes: 734

9. Animal Magic (1962–1984)

30 min | Family

Children's series looking at the world of animals.

Stars: Johnny Morris, Keith Shackleton, Tony Soper, Terry Nutkins

Votes: 59

10. Heads and Tails (1977–1979)

15 min

Derek Griffiths narrates and sings about animals, birds and insects.

Star: Derek Griffiths

11. Film Fun (1982– )


Derek Griffiths, as himself and a host of other characters, introduces classic cartoons while explaining thier history and significance in the world of cinema.

Star: Derek Griffiths

Votes: 5

12. The Muppet Show (1976–1981)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family, Music

Kermit the Frog and his fellow Muppets put on a vaudeville show at their theatre, bringing in a famous celebrity to help out for each episode.

Stars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz

Votes: 21,367

13. Sesame Street (1969– )

TV-Y | 55 min | Animation, Short, Adventure

On a special inner city street, the inhabitants, human and muppet, teach preschool subjects with comedy, cartoons, games, and songs.

Stars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Caroll Spinney, Jerry Nelson

Votes: 11,078

14. Fraggle Rock (1983–1987)

TV-Y | 30 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

The adventures of the various inhabitants of an underground civilization.

Stars: Karen Prell, Gerard Parkes, Kathryn Mullen, Steve Whitmire

Votes: 6,429

15. The Storyteller (1987–1989)

225 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

An old storyteller tells European folk tales to his sarcastic dog.

Stars: John Hurt, Brian Henson, Frederick Warder, David Greenaway

Votes: 3,630

16. The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams (1977–1978)

60 min | Adventure, Family, Western

An innocent fugitive from the law lives in the wilderness with a grizzly bear companion and helps passers-by in the forest.

Stars: Dan Haggerty, Denver Pyle, Bozo the Bear, Don Shanks

Votes: 1,177

17. The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends (1992–1998)

24 min | Animation, Family

An animated series, telling the story of many beloved Beatrix Potter characters.

Stars: Niamh Cusack, Enn Reitel, Sheila Steafel, Suzanne Bonetti

Votes: 701

18. Belle and Sebastian (1965–1970)

26 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

Mountain-based adventures of a young boy and his dog in a small village in the southern Alps.

Stars: Mehdi El Glaoui, Edmond Beauchamp, Jean Combal, Hélène Dieudonné

Votes: 228

19. The Flumps (1976– )

Animation, Family

The adventures of a family of cute, furry creatures - The Flumps. Grandpa Flump, Ma and Pa Flump, their eldest son Perkin, daughter Posie and youngest son Pootle. Each episode contains fun songs and a story from the 'Big Book'.

Star: Gay Soper

Votes: 181

20. Button Moon (1980– )

11 min | Family

Mr Spoon and his family live on Junk Planet. He travels in his baked bean tin spaceship across blanket sky to Button Moon. There he meets many strange characters and watches stories unfold on other planets using his telescope.

Star: Robin Parkinson

Votes: 544

21. The Magic Roundabout (1964– )

5 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Cult classic children's animated series about a group of human and animal characters that gather at the roundabout / carousel in the park. Although the original series is French there are multiple dubbed versions from other countries.

Stars: Eric Thompson, Jacques Bodoin, Serge Danot, Micheline Dax

Votes: 250

22. The Magic Ball (1971–1972)

10 min | Animation, Family

The Magic Ball was yet another children's TV program from the early 1970's. It was all about " well a ball that was MAGIC " !!

Star: Eric Thompson

Votes: 15

23. Mr Benn (1971–2005)

15 min | Animation, Family

Mr Benn is the ordinary, bowler-hatted office worker who lives in the ordinary suburban street of Festive Road. However, when he tries on a costume in a mysterious costume shop, he steps ... See full summary »

Star: Ray Brooks

Votes: 613

24. Rainbow (1972–1992)

22 min | Animation, Family

Children's puppet programme featuring music and stories.

Stars: Geoffrey Hayes, Roy Skelton, Stanley Bates, Rod Burton

Votes: 667

25. Jamie and the Magic Torch (1976–1979)

10 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

When Jamie shines his Magic Torch on the floor of his bedroom a hole appears, leading Jamie and Wordsworth the sheepdog to the psychedelic fantasy world of Cuckooland.

Stars: Brian Trueman, Kate Murray-Henderson

Votes: 289

26. Trumpton (1967– )

15 min | Animation, Family

A sequel, of sorts, to Camberwick Green but set in the larger, nearby town of Trumpton. Each episode opens with the town hall clock and ends with the fire brigade band playing. Every show tells the story of one of the townsfolk.

Star: Brian Cant

Votes: 293

27. Camberwick Green (1966– )

15 min | Animation, Family

Iconic British children's animated series set in the fictional, picturesque village of the title. Each episode opens with a character emerging from a music box and they will be the central character of the forthcoming story.

Star: Brian Cant

Votes: 261

28. Mr. Men (1974–1983)

7 min | Animation, Short, Family

The Mr Men are a whole host of brightly colored characters that live in Misterland. All of them have names like Mr Happy, Mr Clumsy and Mr Greedy and their appearance and personality match their name. Narrated by Arthur Lowe.

Star: Arthur Lowe

Votes: 288

29. Little Miss (1983)

Unrated | 8 min | Animation, Short, Family

The adventures of the Little Miss characters created by Roger Hargreaves as female counterparts to the original Mr Men. The personality and appearance of each character matches their name such as Little Miss Chatterbox.

Stars: John Alderton, Pauline Collins

Votes: 52

30. The Munch Bunch (1980– )


String-puppet series featuring the adventures of fruit and vegetable characters who escape from a greengrocer's shop and start a new home in a country garden.

Stars: Judy Bennett, Charles Collingwood

Votes: 18

31. The Shoe People (1987– )

5 min | Animation, Family

This series follows the magical adventures of The Shoe People who live in their own magical land called Shoe Town.

Star: Philip Whitchurch

Votes: 250

32. Pigeon Street (1981– )

15 min | Animation, Family

Much loved British animated series telling the stories of a recurring cast of characters such as a trucker called Long Distance Clara and Mr Baskerville the Detective who all live on Pigeon Street in an unnamed British city.

Stars: George Layton, John Telfer

Votes: 81

33. Chorlton and the Wheelies (1976– )

12 min | Animation, Family

A wonderfully eccentric series about Chorlton, a happy-go-lucky dragon (named after a suburb of Manchester) who unintentionally foils the evil schemes of a mad Welsh 'Kettle Witch' who tries to stop wheelie people having fun.

Star: Joe Lynch

Votes: 158

34. Blue Peter (1958– )

25 min | Family

British childrens magazine program which has run since the end of the 50s. Aimed at kids from the age of about 6-14. The show has different segments where the presenters would show the ... See full summary »

Stars: Christopher Trace, Konnie Huq, Leila Williams, Valerie Singleton

Votes: 424

35. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983–1985)

TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

The most powerful man in the universe, He-Man, goes against the evil forces of Skeletor to save the planet Eternia and to protect the secrets of Castle Grayskull.

Stars: John Erwin, Alan Oppenheimer, Linda Gary, Lou Scheimer

Votes: 15,054

36. The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show (1983–1985)

TV-Y | 23 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

Every Saturday morning The Peanuts Gang does skits, mostly taken from newspaper strips.

Stars: Bill Melendez, Jeremy Schoenberg, Angela Lee Sloan, Brad Kesten

Votes: 1,448

37. Play School (1972– )

The New Zealand version of the classic British childen's programme.

Stars: Waric Slyfield, Janet Milne, Val Lamond, Kenneth Rea

Votes: 13

38. The Sooty Show (1968–1992)

30 min | Family

Children's slapstick show with the little bear glove puppet and his friends.

Stars: Matthew Corbett, Marjorie Corbett, Harry Corbett, Brenda Longman

Votes: 356

39. The Basil Brush Show (1980–1986)

Comedy, Family

Jokes and comical stories told by the red fox puppet "Basil Brush"

Star: Chic Littlewood

Votes: 45

40. Roland Rat: The Series (1986–1988)

Comedy, Family

Comic stories involving the puppet "Roland the Rat" and his friends living under London's Kings Cross Railway Station.

Stars: Anna Karen, Patrick Allen, James Saxon, Leslie Herbert

Votes: 55

41. Dungeons & Dragons (1983–1985)

TV-Y7 | 30 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

A group of kids are thrown into a fantasy world where they must search for a way home, armed with magic weapons that an evil tyrant wants.

Stars: Willie Aames, Don Most, Katie Leigh, Adam Rich

Votes: 4,098

42. You and Me (1974–1992)

15 min | Family

Humans and puppets interact, tell stories and have fun to provide entertainment to 4 and 5 year old pre-school viewers.

Stars: Jacqui McDonald, Christopher Neil, Bridie O'Donnell, Vicki Luke

Votes: 28

43. Little House on the Prairie (1974–1983)

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama, Family, Romance

The life and adventures of the Ingalls family in the nineteenth century American Midwest.

Stars: Melissa Gilbert, Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, Rachel Lindsay Greenbush

Votes: 15,071

45. Dramarama (1983–1989)

Drama, Family, Fantasy

A series of plays for children which featured the supernatural frequently and science fiction occasionally.

Stars: Denyse Alexander, Ian Kirkby, Christopher Biggins, Bill Wallis

Votes: 85

46. Chocky (1984)

30 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

The strange friendship between a young boy from Earth and an extraterrestrial.

Stars: James Hazeldine, Carol Drinkwater, Andrew Ellams, Glynis Brooks

Votes: 284

47. Cockleshell Bay (1980–1986)

10 min | Animation, Family

Charming British animated series about two children, Robin and Rosie, who have moved with their family to the seaside town of the title in order to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. They open a guest-house.

Star: Brian Trueman

Votes: 26

48. Crackerjack! (1955–1984)

45 min | Comedy, Family, Game-Show