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Childhood Memories of Watch With Mother

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

Watch With Mother

Watch With Mother, from now on referred to as WWM, was an early afternoon television program aimed at Mum's and their young children.

It was screened at the time of day that, back then, was generally thought to be a good time.

Lunch would have been cleared away and little children would be ready for an afternoon chill and nap.

The BBC had previously aired a short afternoon show called For The Children which had introduced children Muffin the Mule.

In 1952 WWM became essential afternoon viewing for pre-school children.

Some of the most well remembered shows were not aired until 1955 which was perfect timing for me as we got our first television set in 1957 when I as aged four or five

In the 1950s few British working class Mum's went out to work and even less young children attended nurseries.

WWM aired Monday to Friday with a different show each day and if my memory serves me well Friday it was a personal favourite The Woodentops.

Watch With Mother obviously had an impact on me must as around 60 years later memories easily flood back..

Over the years there has been much discussion about just how beneficial or harmful these programs were.

My Blip, Blop, Weed above comes from the Bill and Ben show, which I think was aired each Tuesday.

Bill and Ben were flowerpot men who lived near the bottom of the garden with Little Weed. They talked in gobbledygook such as Blah, Blah, Bleep, Blop and the like.

Some so-called experts claimed that such language would have a detrimental effect on young children by hindering their language skills.

However it never seemed to make any difference.

All in all it was just good old fashioned fun.

By the middle of the 1960s some of the original shows had been replaced by shows such as Camberwick Green.

However my homage here is to those first five early pioneering programs

Each afternoon, Monday to Friday, had a particular show many of which held personal favourites. So I hope you enjoy this trip down my memory lane as we revisit our childhood and Watch With Mother.

To quote the host of Listen With Mother-

“Now, are we sitting comfortably, children? Then I'll begin”

Old 1950s Television Set

Picture Book showing on a set very similar to ours

Picture Book showing on a set very similar to ours

Early Children's Television Shows In The U.K.

Back in 1950s England most homes did not have television sets. Those that did had enormous, brown television sets that had a screen about 10 inches across and only were available with black and white viewing.

These sets would take forever to warm up. You could hear the program ages before the picture was actually visible.

The day that our first TV set arrived my brother and I sat on the floor bubbling with excitement as we listened to the theme tune for Popeye The Sailorman, whilst the TV took seemingly forever to warm up.

This first set was bought by my Dad when I was four or five

It was just as those described above. It sat in the corner of our small living room taking up as much room as a chair would have done. Children's TV at this time had programs such as Robin Hood, William Tell and Four Feather Falls.

For small children there was Listen with Mother on BBC radio which ultimately ran alongside Watch With Mother aired on the BBC's television channel.

Tuesday Say Hello To Andy Pandy

The Programs

The programs were very much of the time.

Monday's Picture Book had a rather well spoken BBC lady reading young viewers a story.

Andy Pandy each Tuesday was made up of puppets. Occasionally though there would be a live lamb or some very young chickens included. As an adult, Andy Pandy always sets me thinking about Billy Connolly and his comic wondering about just what Andy Pandy did with Looby Loo in that hamper are now tattooed on my brain. Of course, I know for sure that Teddy and Andy were gay. Well it seems that way looking back.

Bill and Ben shlop a blopped their way onto our screens each Wednesday much to the dismay of many.

Bill And Ben Was On Our Screens Each Wednesday

Thursday's Rag, Tag and Bobtail eventually became Tales from The Riverbank.

The Woodentops, my favourite, was aired on Fridays. This puppet family stiffly went about their business in an unassuming sort of way. Spotty dog was my favourite character, and I guess the fave of many other children.

Most of the stories of these programs were simple, brief and often just plain daft.

However it is testament to these programs that I can still remember songs from the shows such as:-

Andy, Pandy's coming to play, tra, la. la, la, la, la.

and

Time to go home, Time to go home. Andy is waving Goodbye, Goodbye. Goodbye Children.

They don't make kids shows like that anymore do they?

Perhaps it’s just as well.

Did You Watch With Mother?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Ethel Smith

Comments

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on June 09, 2009:

I know Peggy. It just makes me wonder what kids today would make of it all :)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 08, 2009:

Loved this hub, Although the shows were different, we had much the same experience with early television. Remember looking at the test pattern as the sets warmed up?

The early TV shows were cute and sweet and are fun to look back at them from the perspective of today.