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All our Yesterdays

Watch With Mother
By Martin Kelner on May 31, 2002 - 2:31:00 PM

All Our Yesterdays
Article dated: Friday 31 May 2002
Watch With Mother

Is there a female version of the word "avuncular"? There ought to be, to describe Auntie BBC in the 1950s, when she decided mummies and pre-school children should bond for exactly a quarter of an hour at 3.45 each afternoon in front of the 12" Ferguson in the corner of the parlour. The classic line-up was; Picture Book on Monday; Tuesday, Andy Pandy; The Flowerpot Men, on Wednesday; Rag, Tag, and Bobtail, on Thursday; and The Woodentops on Friday. To those of us who grew up in that era, it is a schedule that is probably more familiar to us than teachers and friends at our first school, and was the backdrop for popular playground jokes, such as: Bill and Ben in a pub. Ben says, "Flob-a-lob-a-flob-a-lob." Bill says, "Go home. You sound like you've had enough.

The programme later switched to a 1.30pm slot, but the same segments remained for a while, the beauty being that the audience was constantly being refreshed by a generation of tots to whom Rag's old adventures with Tag and Bobtail (respectively, hedgehog, mouse, and rabbit) were unfamiliar. In the 70s, new programmes were introduced, including Bagpuss, Camberwick Green, and Mr Benn; and the politically incorrect Watch With Mother was changed to See-Saw.

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