‘What Did You Watch’ – Babi a Fi

This week on What Did You Watch the lovely Jess from Babi a Fi gives us an insight into her TV viewing, I must say, she is much younger than me, as the only one I recall watching is number 5, and that started before I was even born!

I love reading about things that have influenced people’s lives, and their childhood memories

1. Young Dracula

I was nearer 20 than 10 when this CBBC show about a vampire who wants nothing more than to be human, and his human friend who wants nothing more than to be a vampire, started. I loved it all the same for its humour, horror references, and the fact the strong Welsh accents were a great balm to my homesickness on Saturday mornings spent away at university. They actually made a new series years later – I caught a few but they weren’t a patch on the original. This had nothing to do with the fact I was now 15 years or so over the target age-group, obviously.

2. Dragon Ball Z
DBZ is like the Coronation Street of the animation world. It has one episode with lots of action, think your Corrie Christmas special, then 268 or so where absolutely nothing happens. For all that, my brother and I used to enjoy watching it after school on Cartoon Network, a scenario that was almost unheard of in our house, and it introduced me to Japanese culture which, in turn, introduced me to the things that would define my teenage years. Manga, J-Horror, and EGL (Elegant Gothic Lolita) fashion.

3. Maid Marian and her Merry Men

Maid Marian taught me that history was fun – and that the accepted version of events (in this case, that Robin Hood wasn’t a total wimp) is not necessarily the real one. Plus it had Tony Robinson, who could be sending up historical stereotypes in this and Blackadder one minute, then turning history into an exciting challenge when I got to watch Time Team with my dad the next. I eventually went on to study history at Cambridge, so the mixture must have done the trick!

When I was three years old my brother came along and turned our family of three into a family of four. I wasn’t particularly pleased about it. Still, we soon became as thick as thieves and spent many, many hours rewatching TUGS on video. Our favourite episode was ‘Ghosts’, chronicling the time Big Mac saw the legendary ghost fleet with his very own eyes (lights?), which had to be watched from behind the sofa. I blame it for my obsession with horror films, true crime and the supernatural – it’s something about the thrill of being frightened when you know you’re perfectly safe from harm.


Rainbow, having first hit our screens in 1972, went on to become one of the greatest shows Britain has ever produced. If I do say so myself. It had George, an effeminate pink hippopotamus I was sure was girl, like George[ina] of the Famous Five novels; Zippy, a mustard coloured alien with a zip for a mouth; Bungle, a bear who, though desperately concerned his towel is not removed at bath time and always wears pyjamas to bed, wanders around stark-billericay-naked all day; and, finally, Geoffrey who is referred to as Uncle though was clearly no relation. There were games and lessons, stories from the Rainbow book, and songs delivered by first Telltale and later , most famously, Rod, Jane and Freddy.

Just about everything I am can be traced back in some shape and form to Rainbow. My love of crazy 1970s patterns and colour clashes, my interest in sociology and pop culture, and even my love of history was first nurtured by Rainbow’s introduction to Dick Turnip, the Naughty Highwayman:

‘We’ll tell you the tale of a highwayman, Turnip was his name. They never called him Parsnip, it wasn’t quite the same. He rode the roads of England and all that he did was bad, and you’d hear them say as he rode away, Dick’s a naughty lad.’

Because I had loved it so much I bought a DVD of the show for Marianna, and she soon decided she loved it with a passion that totally eclipsed her mother’s. Brrrabrry – and whether that’s meant to be the word ‘Rainbow’, I don’t know, but there’s no doubt it means the show – is what Marianna lives for. The first thing she says when I go to her in the morning is, Brrrabrry? When I check in on her before I go to bed at night, she is often kneeling up and staring through the bars of her cot into the pitch blackness, softly whispering Brrrabrry. If she’s upset, we have to sing the songs from Brrrbarry and if she’s happy, we still have to sing the songs from Brrrabrry.

She plays with Rainbow soft toys, copies everything ‘Juh’ (Geoffrey) does, giggles at ‘ipeee’ (Zippy), and the most excited I have ever seen her was when she met ‘Buh’ (Bungle) in the flesh. It was actually Bryn the Bear, the mascot of the main RSL in our area, but she was eight months old at the time so I won’t hold the mistake against her. At nap time she clutches the DVD cover to her chest, ready to dream about Brrrabrry, and when she gets up she goes straight to the tattered, duplicate copies of the annuals to pull the pages and gaze wistfully at the Brrrabrry cast.

I suppose it could be worse. It could have been Peppa Pig she latched onto! 😉

Thanks to Jess for sharing her favourite programmes, its amazing how different our childhoods were, but how entwined they can be when we introduce our children to things from our past, and they love them too!

Do you remember any of these, were they part of your childhood viewing ?

You can find Jess on Twitter Facebook and instagram, why not stop by and say Hi x

Comments (1)

  • Jess Powell (Babi a Fi)

    January 28, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Thanks so much for featuring me – this was great fun to write! It’s been so strange watching the pre-school shows again with Marianna. and remembering all the words! 🙂

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