Why Don’t You ? 1973 – 1995
As it’s school holidays, we thought we’d look back at some of those TV shows that popped up during school holidays.
I have a confession, as a kid I hated this show and followed it’s direction literally – turning off the TV. However this BBC kids show ran for a mammoth 42 series between 1973 and 1995. Originally created at the BBC’s Bristol studios, by producer/director Patrick Dowling, there were a number of producers over the years including Russell T. Davies who would later go on to revive another long running BBC program – Doctor Who.
In the early days the show was based in a studio in Bristol that resembled a dusty basement. By 1980 the show moved on and encompassed gangs from other parts of the country, and these shows were made by the respective BBC regional centres, although all were broadcast nationwide.
The first “alternative” gangs came from a barn in Scotland and a church hall in Belfast, followed by a seaside café in Cardiff.
As the 1980s continued, all four studio settings were abandoned and the gang became based in other UK locations, such as Liverpool.
The format consisted of groups or “gangs” of children responding to letters from viewers who wrote into the show suggesting games, ‘makes’ and days out. Typically these were arts-and-crafts activities involving cutting up paper, or games and magic tricks children could learn to impress their friends.
Originally the show took a magazine format, but under the direction of producer Russell T. Davies the format changed towards a drama, where plots frequently centred around a harebrained young Welsh presenter calledBen Slade and his increasingly elaborate inventions. Slade became one of the longest serving presenters in the show’s 22 year run.
Presenters Have Included
Ben Slade aka Benjamin Rory Slade
Peter Charlton, Patrick Dowling, Catherine MacFarlane, David J. Evans, Kirstie Fisher, Russell T Davies, Trevor Stephenson-Long
Original Transmission Dates: 20th August 1973 – 21st April 1995