You can currently hear me on My 70’s TV Childhood talking to Oliver Colling about the BBC’s late seventies adaptation of Pinocchio for the ‘Sunday Classics’ slot – a terrifying art-nouveau re-imagining of the original source material with absolutely no comedy crickets or wishing upon a star, but plenty of screeching splintery puppets capering around amongst human actors and eye-infuriating special effects with a harsh classical soundtrack. Doctor Who fans might like to note that this was the work of former series producer Barry Letts, but they will almost certainly not like to note anything further than that.
We do talk a good deal about the history of the ‘Sunday Classics’ slot and the boringness with occasional flashes of excitement of Sunday television in general, as well as Booga Benson from Grange Hill, but it’s mostly about the hideous scratchy splintery shrieky puppet and why it had no business being on television, and why the BBC Video release of the serial still gives me the heebie jeebies even now. You can download it here or listen in your browser here. But don’t say I didn’t warn you…
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You can find a lot more Pinocchio and the other ‘Sunday Classics’ serials in Not On Your Telly, a collection of columns and features on the theme of ‘lost’ television. Not On Your Telly is available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here.
Ghosts, Monsters And Legends (And Tennis Prodigies) is a feature on the spooky sci-fi/fantasy children’s serials that the BBC used to put on in the run-up to Christmas, from The Box Of Delights to Aliens In The Family; you can find it here.
You can hear me talking to Oliver about The Sunday Gang in another edition of My 70s TV Childhood here.
© Tim Worthington.
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