1 9 7 3 – 1 9 8 7 (UK)
112 x 30 minute episodes
The BBC’s ‘Mr Athletics’, sports commentator Ron Pickering, hosted this series which pitched school versus school in a sequence of physical contests and races.
Competition was played down in favour of taking part and kids didn’t need to be super athletes to be involved.
Games – held both on the field and in the pool – were often based around mini-assault courses.
Producer Peter Charlton got many of his ideas from courses run by the army and the navy, arguing that; “many times they [the kids] grasped the point of the challenge much quicker than the officers did!”
Star guests like Sebastian Coe, Gary Sobers and Sharron Davies egged on the youngsters.
After more than 500 different games and 15 years, the show came to an end in August 1987, bowing out with a special edition for children with disabilities. Star guests in the final were former Olympic swimming champion David Wilkie and heptathlete Judy Simpson. A number of one-off specials were shown in the 1990s.