Little Gems - Wish List (in addition to others on Little Gems)
I thought I would add an extra page on bits and pieces of information that I have gathered over the years but for which I have precious little else. The children's programs presented below represent some of the serials that I would love the BBC and ITV to bring back to our screens whether it be in the form of a repeat showing or an official DVD release. Anyone having similar material or requests can let me know at the usual address and I will upload it to these pages.
The World of Jonny Briggs written by Joan Eadington - (one of my all time favourite children's dramas)
This was brilliant and why the BBC do not repeat it I will never know as it relates more to kids growing up, going to school, living with a family, arguing with brothers and sisters than all the other current so called dramas put together. Written by the brilliantly talented Joan Eadington, a series of books were released in the 1970s. The BBC was quick to catch on to their popularity and at first had them read on Jackanory. Bernard Holley read the first story called simply "Jonny Briggs." This proved so popular that he then read another called "Jonny Briggs and the Whitby Weekend" (both book scans shown below). Eventually a series of short episodes were produced in 1985 & 1987 resulting in what was very much a children's soap of the day. Most of the action took place in either the classroom at Jonny's school or back in Jonny's home with mum and dad.
Click here to download Jonny Briggs Intro music (168Kb mp3) Thanks to Jennifer
Click here to download Jonny Briggs End music (250Kb mp3) Thanks to Jennifer
The trombone music fitted this drama perfectly.
Jonny Briggs (played by Richard Holian) had a pet dog called Razzle who was the type of dog every school child wanted. Jonny's older brother was called Humphrey played by Jeremy Austin, he was more in touch with his feelings and liked getting involved in debating and literature. Albert played by Tommy Robinson was very much the idlest of the brothers and was always up to some scheme to either get out of doing jobs or trying to make money. The sister (there were several in the books) was called Rita and played by Sue Devaney (latterly Casualty and Dinner Ladies). Mum (played by Jane Lowe) and Dad (played by Leslie Schofield) have been seen in countless television productions and have a list of screen credits a long as your arm. Jonny was haunted by the twins, two girls at school who always seemed to be trying to get the better of him and his family. The girls were played by Adele Parry and Rachel Powell. There was also another girl in Jonny's class who was forever saying that according to her mum who is a nurse...and the whole class would groan.
Some of the opening clips from Jonny Briggs are shown below.
There were two seasons of Jonny Briggs shown on Mondays and Tuesday (thanks to Radio Times here). Season one ran for 13 episodes whereas Season two (shown in 1987) ran for 20 or so episodes. In fact the show was so good that in 1987 it was nominated for a BAFTA in the Best Children's Program (Entertainment/Drama) section.
Season one had 13 episodes shown on BBC1 from the 11th November 1985 until 23rd December 1985 twice a week. Season two had 20 episodes again shown twice a week on BBC1 from 10th November 1986 until the 20th January 1987.
These episodes could be so simply converted to DVD in the same way others have been (Shoebox zoo, The Railway Children etc.). But I guess they probably won't be, they'll continue gathering dust somewhere in the archives, lost but definitely not forgotten by some of us (I know some of these do make their way onto Ebay but the quality and sound leave a lot to be desired).
The serial credits
|Written by||Joan Eadington|
|Miss. Broom||Karen Meagher|
|Mr. Hobbs||Simon Chandler|
|Mr. Badger||John Forbes-Robertson|
|Adapted for Television by||Valerie Georgeson|
|Designer||Paul Munting & Richard Dupre|
|Director||Christine Secombe & Phillippa Giles (Season 1 and 2 respectively)|
Stand Up Jonny Briggs
Bernard Holley who ready several Jonny Briggs books by Joan Eadington.
Click here to listen to the Jackanory Theme tune (310Kb mp3)
Jonny Briggs and the Ghost, Jonny Briggs and the Giant Cave & Jonny Briggs and the Great Razzle Dazzle
The Canal Children written by Brian Wright
I'm afraid this is all I have from this wonderful children's drama from the BBC. Written by Brian Wright, this children's serial came to our screens on a Wednesday back in 1976. The series had six episodes and was set in the year of 1845. It is not very well remembered by children for that era which is a bit odd since it was a great piece of BBC children's drama. The story takes place around the canals of Warwick & Birmingham on the canal barge "The Water Rat." The series was produced by Anna Home who was also executive producer on "Lizzie Dripping", producer on "The Changes", The Moon Stallion, The Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris, The Enchanted Castle, A Little Silver Trumpet...the list goes on and on and better and better. It is hard to imagine the fun that one individual could have had being so involved with the development of such great children's titles.
The six episodes were called (Radio Times):
Buggets and Tonnage
Poor Man's Morris
The Secret Agent
The serial credits
|Written by||Brian Wright|
|Betsy Russell||Maxine Gordon|
|Tom Brill||Andrew O'Connor|
|Dan Trugg||Peter Berry|
|Colonel Russell||Eric Porter|
|Aunt Sarah||Gwen Cherrell|
|Mary Brill||Barbara Hickmott|
|Walter Crumlow||Don McKillop|
|Joe Collingtree||Brian Hayes|
|Charlie the Mule||William Wilde|
|Music by||Jack Emblow|
The Baker Street Boys written by Brian Hall
This BBC serial was slightly different in its approach as it was a series of eight episodes made into four two parters. It was shown on BBC1 back in 1983 on a Tuesday and Friday. The four stories were called:
The Adventure of the Disappearing Dispatch Case by Anthony Read
The Ghost of Julian Midwinter
The Adventure of the Winged Scarab
The Case of the Clairvoyant
The idea for this series must have come from the band of street boys who were often seen in Sherlock Holmes dramas on the big screen. The idea was that the gang of kids would go around helping Sherlock Holmes sort out baffling cases whilst the super sleuth was never actually seen in full on the screen. Set in Victorian London the gang tackled several different types of mysteries including murder and theft. A great little adventure series but it only lasted for a short time.
Queenie played by Debbie Norris also played Mavis in "Jonny Briggs" as well as being "By the Sword Divided" and "Schoolgirl Chums."
Click here to listen to the start music (460Kb mp3)
The titles and some clips from the stories are shown below:
|Written by||Anthony Read & Richard Carpenter|
|Arnold Wiggins||Jay Simpson|
|PC Boot||Ray Burdis|
|Sherlock Holmes||Roger Ostime|
|Dr. Watson||Hubert Rees|
|Professor James Moriarty||Colin Jeavons|
|Freddie Connyngham||Paul Critchley|
|Sir Alfred Connyngham||Barrie Cookson|
|Inspector Lestrade||Stanley Lebor|
|Music by||Alan Roper & David Epps|
|Film Editor||Frances Parker|
|Make-up Artist||Frances Needham|
|Costume Designer||Andrew Rose|
|Graphic Design||Glenn Carwithen|
|Visual Effects Designer||Peter Wragg|
|Film Sound||Stan Nightingale|
|Script Editor||Jenny McDade|
|Technical Manager||Malcolm Martin|
|Studio Lighting||Peter Smee|
|Studio Sound||Michael Marshman|
|Videotape Editor||Peter Brid|
|Film Cameraman||John Hooper & Anthony Bragg|
|Vision Mixers||Mary Kellehar & John Barclay|
|Senior Studio Cameraman||Geoff Feld|
|Series Devised by||Anthony Read in association with Gatetarin Productions|
|Production Team||Maria Ball & Cliff Pinnock|
|Production Managers||Jill Rees-Heaver & Mike Hudson|
|Associate Producer for Talbot Television Limited||Anthony Gruner|
|Director||Marilyn Fox (eps 1, 2, 5 & 6
Michael Kerrigan (eps 3, 4, 7 & 8)
|A BBC TV Production in association with Lella Productions PLC and Talbot Television Ltd|
Be sure to check in soon as this section will be expanded as there are loads more dramas and children's serials to be covered.