Nowadays there are multiple children's channel beaming out polished, big budget shows around the clock.

Children in the 1980s weren't so lucky; there were only four channels and just two of them showed children's programmes for a couple of hours a day.

The programmes were by and large cheap, featuring poor animation, amateurish acting and often both.

But budget restraints led to some serious innovation and programmes which inspired a generation that grew up during the time of Thatcher, Duran Duran and shoulder pads.

Indeed some of the shows were bone fide classics: Postman Pat, Dangermouse, and Grange Hill were just a few of them. But we all know about those shows so here are a few lost gems you may miss - plus a few you wish you couldn't remember.

The forgotten classics

1) Bananaman


Rather than giving him constipation, eating a banana turned young Eric into musclebound Bananaman who could fly and thwart baddies such as General Blight. Bananaman was voiced by Graeme Garden of The Goodies fame.

Rating: 5/5

2) Button Moon

Button Moon

There was cheap and then there was Button Moon, a programme which used kitchen utensils as puppets. Conversely its stark, abstract appearance made it rather enjoyable.

Rating: 3/5

3) Jonny Briggs

Jonny Briggs

Little Jonny and his pet dog Razzle were principal characters in this slice of working-class life in 80s Leeds. Like Alan Bennett for kids. It also starred Sue Devaney who is best known for her appearance in Casualty and Dinnerladies.

Rating: 4/5

4) SuperTed


For some reason this terrified my little sister.

Mother Nature gave an unwanted teddy special powers and together with his best friend Spotty, a visiting alien, they tackle Texas Pete, Bulk and the strangely effeminate Skeleton – all with the help of a dusting of cosmic dust.

Rating: 4/5

5) Jossy's Giants

Jossy's Giants

This comedy drama about a lads' football team was written by darts commentator and television personality Sid Waddell.

Rating: 4/5

6) The New Schmoo

The New Schmoo

A bit like Scooby Doo, only with a weird, seal-like, shape-shifting blob, Shmoo and his pals go around in a funky van and solve mysteries - often with our hero transforming into something useful to save the day. Like a slide or a trumpet. As you do.

Rating: 3/5

7) Super Gran

Supergran (Gudrun Ure) with football legend George Best

A major contribution to the 80s from Scotland even if the Scots dialect was a bit confusing for us English kids. An old dear with super powers, she protected the town of Chiselton from baddies like Scunner Campbell and his dastardly gang.

Rating: 4/5

8) Raggy Dolls

Raggy Dolls

Rejected dolls came to life and taught us how to be nice to each other. Perhaps Mr Trump should watch an episode or two.

Rating: 3/5

9) Dramarama


Episodes of ITV’s series of standalone stories proved so popular they spawned spin-off shows such as Dodger, Bonzo And The Rest and Children’s Ward. But it was the spooky editions that still chill us to the bone. The Exorcism Of Amy, in which a little girl’s alter-ego causes havoc, was particularly creepy, downright disturbing in fact...

Rating: 4/5

10) The Family Ness

The Family Ness

Endearing British cartoon from the creators of Jimbo and the Jetset following the adventures of a family of Loch Ness Monsters and siblings Elspeth and Angus McTout (pronounced ‘Toot’) who blow on their Thistle Whistles to summon them.

Rating: 4/5

11) Ghost Train

Nobby The Sheep on Gimme 5 with Jenny Powell and Lewis MacLeod. Nobby first appeared on Ghost Train on Children's ITV

Jump on board the ghost train where you will find Frances Dodge and some smuggled randomers, like Gerard and Nobby the sheep. Can they get away from Barry Mafia before the next cartoon comes on? Oh, the drama.

Rating: 3/5

12) Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons

It seemed like every time the gang were within touching distance of escape they’re left with an agonising choice that inevitably means they stay in the Realm of Dungeons and Dragons for at least another episode.

Based on the role-playing dice game, the six friends are transported by a dark ride at a funfair to be met by the Dungeon Master who assigns each a magical item to use on their quest home.

Rating: 3/5

13) Willo The Wisp

Willo The Wisp

Voiced by the inimitable Kenneth Williams this animation follows ghost Willo as he floats around Doyley Wood encountering Evil Edna, Arthur the caterpillar and a big fairy whose name escapes us.

Rating: 4/5

14) The Trap Door

Trap Door

A bunch of monsters living in a castle and venturing down below to the caverns where bad things happen. As well as being a little scary it was quite funny.

Rating: 5/5

15) Round The Bend

Round The Bend

Featuring puppets made by the team behind Spitting Image, this ITV show featured parody and toilet humour hitherto denied to children who had been crying out for it. One such parody was 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Toilets' which tells you quite a lot.

Rating: 5/5

...And the stinkers

16) The Little Green Man

The Little Green Man

Dull. Dull. Dull. And with an annoying theme tune to boot you only watched this because a) The Sooty Show was on next and b) your sister might flick over to something even worse on BBC1 if you didn't guard the telly.

Rating: 2/5

17) He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Castle Grayskull from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Castle Grayskull from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. This still was about as good as the artwork got.

This atrociously animated action series was basically a big advert for Mattel's He-Man toys. They were many shows like that in the 80s; BraveStarr and Mask to name and shame but a few. Perhaps to ease the producers' conscience (slightly) each predictable adventure was proceeded by a patronising safety tip. Make sure you don't put your hands in the hot oven, kids. Etc.

Rating: 1/5

18) Fingermouse

What's that Fingermouse? Our show is rubbish? Yeah, you're right.

At least it introduced children to musical instruments. Other than that there was little to remember fondly about a mouse finger puppet made of paper and his underwhelming adventures with equally underwhelming finger puppets.

19) David The Gnome

David The Gnome - you probably watched it because there was nothing else on.

Another mawkish animated import from continental Europe. I remember hating this and only watching it because it was (if I recall correctly) shown on Sunday morning and there was nothing else on.

Rating: 2/5

20) Pob's Programme

Pob who bears an uncanny resemblance to Environment Secretary Michael Gove

Perhaps this was too weird for me as a kid (it was 80s Channel 4 after all). Pob, who bore a eerie resemblance to Michael Gove, would introduce himself by spitting on the screen and write his name in the 'spit'. It did however feature guest appearances from Roy Castle, Madhur Jaffrey, Brian Blessed, Hannah Gordon, Su Pollard, Kathy Staff, Spike Milligan and Toyah Willcox. So someone must have liked it.

Rating: 2/5

Some of this article originally appear on BelfastLive.