1 9 8 3 – 1 9 8 4 (UK)
60 minute episodes
Broadcast on Sunday mornings in 1983 and 1984 on the breakfast television channel TV-am, Rub-a-Dub-Tub was a magazine-style programme for primary school-aged children.
The hour-long show began with an American chap called Paul Springer (who looked not unlike a 70s porn star) “exercising” with a gaggle of kids in pyjamas in a segment called ‘Wake-up Children’.
The rest of the show combined activities (including a series of ‘makes’ delivered by a pair of disembodied hands – belonging to Alan Dart – accompanied by soporific harp music); animal segments (with Dick King-Smith and Jon Miller); musical numbers with old hippie Mike Maran; and stories read by guests, Jackanory-style.
There were also imported animated features, including a cartoon about a monkey called ‘Curious George’; a stop-animation series called ‘Teddy Drop Ear’ (imported from Poland – where it aired as Miś Uszatek – and dubbed into English); a low-budget moralistic animation about a Native American called ‘Yakari’ (imported from France and dubbed); and other primitive European-style cartoons (often without any dialogue) including ‘Peter’s Adventures’, ‘The Little Dog’ and a version of ‘Around The World in 80 Days’.
It was all very low-budget, the pace was slow and gentle, and the focus was on educating the kids rather than entertaining them.
Not to be confused with the animated ITV series Rub-a-Dub-Dub which also aired in 1983.