CRACKERJACK ! 1955
Crackerjack was the long running kids TV Comedy/variety show that ran for a mammoth 29 years and over 400 shows. Probably best known for it’s famous prize game Double or Drop and it’s comic sketches courtesy of Peter Glaze and co. It is of course the comedy that takes our interest and there were many famous names from comedy over the years, Ronnie Corbett and Peter Glaze to name but a few.
The show would be recorded on a Tuesday at BBC’s Shepherd Bush studios and broadcast at five minutes to five on a Friday.
During it’s peak years which were the 1970’s, the format of the programme included competitive games for teams of children, a music spot, a comedy double act, and a finale in which the cast performs a short comic play, adapting popular songs of the day and incorporating them into the action.
In the early years 1955 – 1963 Ronnie Corbett and Leslie Crowther had separate stand-up routines. Jo Baker & Jack Douglas also had similar roles when the show started, as well as the Balloon Man, making all sorts of things from balloons.
Peter Glaze joined in 1960 forming a double act with Leslie Crowther who took over hosting duties in 1964. Perhaps the best known Crackerjack comics were Peter Glaze and Don MacClean who performed together until 1978 when Bernie Clifton (and his Ostrich) took over from Don.
During their time, one of the highlights of the show was a comedy short entitled “Don and Pete”, this being Don Maclean and Peter Glaze in a silent comedy style section lasting maybe five minutes (these later made it to their own spot on BBC Childrens’ TV). Shows have them fishing, as sweepers, barbers, at a riding school, on a building site, on a farm, at a circus, window cleaners, bellboys, removals, etc.
Amid falling ratings in the late 70’s Ed Stewart left the show. It was given a makeover and new presenters Stu Francis and Sally Ann Triplett took over in 1980 with the comedy now being provided by the Krankies. The show came to an end in 1984.
Eamonn Andrews 1955 -1964
Leslie Crowther 1964 -1968
Michael Aspel 1968 – 1974
Ed Stewart 1975 – 1979
Stu Francis 1980 – 1984
Comedy from:(Dates Included Where Known)
Peter Glaze – 1960 – 1980
Don MacClean no start date found quit in 1978
Bernie Clifton – 1978 – 1980
Ronnie Corbett – 1955 – 1963
Little and Large – one series during early seventies
The Krankies – 1980 – 1984
Geoffrey Durham (The Great Soprendo) – 1980 -1984
Created By: BBC Producer John Downes
Original Transmission: 14 September 1955 – 21 December 1984