Watch with mother

Watch with Mother. Copyright BBC

British TV stations are responsible for producing some of the best kids TV shows in the entire world. If you feel like dusting off that old VCR and putting on a tape of one of the all time classic kids shows you may find yourself scratching your head because there are so many great shows to choose from. Here at Best British TV we have done the hard work for you and put together a list of the 10 best British TV shows for kids.

Watch With Mother

The old ones are the best ones and you won’t get much older than this show which dates back to 1952. Watch with Mother introduced the youngsters of post-War Britain to weird and wonderful characters such as Bill and Ben the flower pot and the Woodentops. Peter Hawkins who went to to do the voices of the Daleks and Cybermen on Doctor Who provided the voices for many of the memorable characters on Watch with Mother while Patricia O’Driscoll was there to make sure everyone was sitting comfortably.

Mr Benn

From a child’s perspective Mr Benn, voiced by Ray Brooks, was a cool guy who can travel through time simply by putting on a fancy dress outfit but to adults he represented so much more. Mr Benn was a firm believer that there was more to life than the boring desk job and the minute he got home from work he threw his bowler hat and his brolly to one side and set out on a new adventure. Few men have faced as many foes as Mr Benn and made it home in time for dinner.

Danger Mouse

Back in the early 1980s when Roland Rat ruled the roost, Danger Mouse was the star of kids TV on Thames Television. Danger Mouse dressed as if he was about to appear in a Bee Gees video although with that being said none of the Bee Gees wore an eye patch. He was assisted by little mole called Penfold and somehow the two of them managed to keep the mean streets of Britain safe.  

Magic Roundabout

Contrary to popular belief this show was actually French but so were the Normans and they also dominated British society for many years so we will overlook that slight detail and focus on the show’s merits. The show as seen in the UK was scripted by Eric Thompson whose daughter Emma grew up to be Kenneth Brannagh’s better half. The star of the show was a dog named Dougal who looked a bit like a roadie from a 70s rock band.

Rentaghost

Derek Acorah would have a field day with this one. The premise is simple: a bunch of unemployed ghosts (seriously) rent out an office from a man named Harold Meeker and basically drive him and his neighbors batty. Among the most memorable of the spirits in the show were the jester, Timoth Claypole and a witch played by Nadia Popov who should not be confused with the Ukranian model who shares her name.

Rentaghost. Copyright BBC

Superted

Anyone who ever thought about discarding an old stuffed animal soon changed their mind after watching this gritty serial about a bear named Ted who was saved from the scrap head by mother nature and a yellow and green spotted alien. The creators of Superted managed to put together an all star cast that included Jon Pertwee, Roy Kinnear and Christopher Plummer. The combination of behind the scenes talent and onscreen insanity helped make this show one of the Best British TV shows for kids.

Worzel Gummidge

Jon Pertwee was already a household name after his long stint as Doctor Who but if there was a child in Britain that did not know his name that soon changed once Worzel Gummdige was first aired. Unlike most of the best British kids shows this one was a live action show and Pertwee was brilliant as the scarecrow who amused and terrified youngsters in equal measure.

Postman Pat

This show was supposedly based on a real post man named Pat but whoever made this show presumably wasn’t a fan of said postman given that the character in the show had a funnel shaped head and the personality of a . . . well basically he had no personality. He did however have a cool cat called Jess and the show was great PR boost for the Post Office which was at the time doing its best to keep functioning despite the ravages of Thatcherism.

Boy From Space (Look and Read)

One of the most bizarre and yet best remembered British kids shows of the 1970s. A young alien, who looked like a Swedish entrant for the Eurovision song contest, came to Earth and freaked out a few natives by talking like the school teacher from Charlie Brown. The whole show was only 20 minutes long but it was split up and shown in segments during episodes of Look and Read. As if Boy from Space was not weird enough, Look and Read was presented by a red faced, legless man who spent most of his time singing about “magic magic E.”

Blue Peter

No kids show has had as much impact on British society as Blue Peter. Whether it is the fact that the show introduced kids to the whole idea of recycling long before the hole was spotted in the ozone layer or the fact that the site of a London zookeeper being dragged through elephant dung gave rise to the whole idea of blooper videos, this show has more than left its mark on society. Ounce for ounce Blue Peter badges are more valuable than gold and were it not for Blue Peter’s fundraising efforts the British coast guard would be floating around in canoes.