A Case For The Defence: Saturday Morning Kids TV Shows


There is always talk about the Saturday morning cartoons. They are, quite rightly, icons of our collective childhood.

But what tends to be forgotten are the shows that brought us the cartoons, the Saturday morning kids shows like Get Fresh, Ghost Train, Going Live and Motormouth.

I would wager most people reading this (in the UK at least) have warm fuzzy memories of waking up about 9 in the morning on a Saturday, getting comfy on the sofa with some frosties and being given 3 and bit hours of top class kids TV.

They were great. But it seems that, these days, the broadcasters don’t agree.

I know this because when myself and my son woke up early one Saturday I thought “Oh! Saturday morning kids TV! Ace!” and turned on the TV.

I was presented with this. A soap opera omnibus.

On. A. Saturday.

A Saturday. The day that is meant to be for kids. A soap opera repeat.

I understand why this is the case. The rise of satellite TV in the 90s brought with it the 24hr kids channels like Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. I understand that they can’t compete with the franchises those channels control. Back in the 80s the kids cartoons were syndicated so they weren’t tied to a particular network. The kids channels recognised this and began to create their own shows that drew the audience to them. ITV and BBC couldn’t compete with it so the budgets slowly drained away until there was nothing left.

And this is a disgrace. Saturdays are meant for kids.

The BBC held out the longest, with Dick and Dom In Da Bungalow being the last hurrah for Saturday mornings. They also recently tried to bring back the format with Live & Deadly but something wasn’t quite right.

This was because ITV always had the best shows with the best cartoons. They basically had the show that created the format in Tiswas and rode it hard during the 80s and into the 90s. They had it and let it drift away. And now, as a channel, they have no real interest in kids TV with the majority of their content ghettoised on the CITV channel.

It needs a bold, brave production company to raise the format from the grave, get out there during the summer holidays with a set duct taped together and a wing and a prayer. Do something for the kids.

And the adults with the long memories.

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