1 9 8 4 (UK)
52 x 30 minute episodes
This Channel 4 Sunday afternoon children’s series was created by Anne Wood who would go on to create The Teletubbies and become one of the richest women in Britain.
The show was a magazine programme for children, with items linked by Pob – a goblin-like part-sock, part-monkey puppet in a pink and yellow striped jumper.
Pob lived inside your TV set, choosing two o’clock on a Sunday to make his presence felt by semi-communicating to the very young through the screen.
To put his garbled message across, Pob would often breathe onto his side of the TV screen and write or draw diagrams in the resulting mist.
Unfortunately, the effect used for this illusion made the mist seem more like foaming white phlegm.
Parental concerns about children responding in kind, at a time when TV sets were still mainly rented and regarded as only mildly less dangerous than Three Mile Island, were rife.
25-year-old Robin Stevens provided Pob’s voice – a curious kind of squeaking adopted after unsuccessful experiments with electronic sounds.
Stevens also operated the rod-puppet star, which required him to dress entirely in blue (complete with blue gloves) with a blue hood over his head.
The production used a technique in which the TV camera showed nothing blue on the screen, effectively blanking out Robin as he stood behind Pob.
Guests during the run of the show included Brian Blessed, Roy Castle, Hannah Gordon, Spike Milligan, Bill Pertwee, Su Pollard, Toyah Willcox and comedian Charlie Williams.
Pob’s Playtime followed in 1987.