We are a television-rich household, I admit it. My children simply can't conceive a world where television was not. When I was a child, we had a television, which received all of, ooh, one, chanel. BBC1. I knew Playschool existed, but it was on BBC 2, and we didn't have BBC 2, so Playschool remained a dim and wistful fantasy for me. We lurched into the modern age with a bang after the science programme Tomorrow's World "experimented" with colour television, which had hoards of people rushing home to see if they could see this attempt at getting us to see colour through our black and white screens. Yes well. I couldn't see anything myself, and frankly didn't believe anyone who said they could at school the next day.
My stepfather had a similarly robust view, and rather than squint and attempt to "see" colour, he simply went out and bought a new television. Not only was it colour, but, almost more exciting, it had more than one channel. THREE! BBC 1, BBC 2 and ITV. Not that this panorama of richness was opened up to us, because my mother had (and still has) a deep and abiding suspicion of ITV, which she thought was low. We were not supposed to watch ITV. We were particularly not supposed to watch Magpie, ITV's equivalent of Blue Peter. We were lucky enough to live in a house large enough for the kitchen to be a good distance away from the television room, and so my sister and I would take turns to be on watch during Magpie, listening for Mum coming down the hall, at which point one of us would lunge for the tv and change the channel to virtuous BBC 1.
This left me with two things: a soft spot for the Magpie presenter Mick Robertson; tall; lean and curly haired, and a tendency to never read the tv listings for ITV because they don't count. Possibly spurred on by my infant passion, I went on to marry someone tall, lean and curly haired, and that wasn't the wisest decision of my life. Maybe my mother's anti-Magpie feeling was a presentiment of the doom that her daughter would embrace, and the first move in a decade long (and ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to get her daughter to see sense. As for ITV, I occasionally regret my automatic passing over of its listings, but technology has moved to accommodate me there.
All this anti-commercial television sentiment in our household is possibly why I don't remember the Follyfoot television series with quite the same passion that many still do. I certainly had (and still have) the books, written by Monica Dickens - the series was based on her book Cobbler's Dream, and she wrote the books that then accompanied the television series. I can't remember my mother having a particular down on Follyfoot - she certainly didn't for ITV's Black Beauty as I watched that, presumably its status as a classic meaning Mum was able to overcome the commercialism that studded the breaks.
I can't remember the tune that introduced Follyfoot, either. Well, to be more accurate, I couldn't. It is now my resident earworm, having heard it on this snippet from Yorkshire Regional News. Follyfoot is now 40, and to celebrate there was a day of events, with visits to the locations, and star turns from the hero and heroine of the series, actors Steven Hodson and Gillian Blake. If you haven't clicked on the link in the rush to get on to the Youtube clip you have spied, here it is again. It's fascinating viewing.
If you want more of The Lightning Tree, (sung by The Settlers, I see) here it is:
I think I might, just might, have to buy the full set of DVDs.
And for those who are curious, there is apparently a phenomenon known as as the Fechner colour effect which gives the impression of rapidly moving black and white images being in colour.