1 9 6 6 – 1 9 8 1 (UK)
252 x 30 minute episodes
This long-running educational children’s programme answered more questions about life, the universe and everything than 14 years of schooling.
The series began in 1966 as a one-off experiment, the brainchild of Jack Hargreaves – a grizzled old pipe smoker with a white beard and a love of traditional ‘country ways’.
Hargreaves, newsreader and football pundit Fred Dinenage, TV continuity announcer Bunty James (later replaced by Marion Davies of singing group The Ladybirds) and marine biologist Jon Miller were the original team who performed experiments and demonstrations in order to practically answer questions on various science and intellectual subjects.
The questions ranged from the very interesting to the very silly – with the silliest (“How do you get an egg into a matchbox?”) usually reserved for Fred Dinenage.
Initially, the series was only broadcast in the Southern Television region but proved so successful that ITV broadcast it nationally.
And so, viewers all over Britain learned how to separate a mixture of iron filings, salt, sand and sawdust, and how to lift a saucer with a carrot!
The presenters always greeted their audience with the American Indian “How”.
The series was massively popular and ran, virtually unchanged, for the best part of 16 years.
In 1981 the show was suddenly dropped when Southern Television lost its ITV franchise, and Fred Dinenage returned to his news-reading roots and life as a genial game show host.
In 1990 the show was re-born when TV producer Nick Pickard demanded a reprise, cleverly entitled How 2.
Fred was invited back into the fold as the show’s main presenter, with Countdown‘s resident brainbox Carol Vorderman and ex-spiky-top Gareth ‘Gaz Top’ Jones helping out.