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Watch With Mother: children's television clips from the '50s and '60s

03 January 2020

Here's a selection of clips that will take you back in time...

Andy Pandy on Watch With Mother
Andy Pandy on Watch With Mother

Monday: Picture Book

From 1955 until 1965, if you settled down in front of Watch With Mother on a Monday, then Monday meant Picture Book.

The idea behind Picture Book was to get children to make things. Many of you will recall the catchphrase of Picture Book's first presenter Patricia Driscoll: "Do you think you could do this? – I am sure you could if you tried."

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Tuesday: Andy Pandy

Now a senior citizen – his was 'born' in 1950 – Andy Pandy lived in a picnic basket with Teddy and Looby Loo.

Programmes were originally transmitted live, though when it was realised they could be repeated if filmed, 26 episodes were shot and repeated until 1970.

Wednesday: Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men

Bill and Ben’s adventures at the bottom of the garden behind the potting shed always ended in a minor mishap, with the narrator trilling, ‘Was it Bill or was it Ben?’ Bill and Ben first started in December 1952.

Their friend was, of course, Little Weed and they had the occasional visit from a tortoise called Slowcoach.

Thursday: Rag, Tag and Bobtail

Rag, Tag and Bobtail followed the gentle adventures of a hedgehog (Rag), a mouse (Tag) and a rabbit (Bobtail) in their countryside home. Five baby rabbits also made regular appearances.

These simple glove puppets are remembered with great affection in a series of 24, 12-minute episodes which ran from 1953 to 1965.

Friday: The Woodentops

Fridays on Watch With Mother took 1950s children down to the farm to meet The Woodentops.

This famous family of TV puppets consisted of Daddy Woodentop, Mummy Woodentop, twins Jenny and Willy Woodentop, Baby Woodentop and not forgetting Spotty Dog, introduced by the narrator as "the very biggest spotty dog you ever did see".

Mummy Woodentop was often helped by friend Mrs Scrubbitt, whose husband Sam Scrubbitt would also help Daddy Woodentop tend to the animals, including Buttercup the Cow. The Woodentops started in 1955.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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