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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Top 10 Children's TV Themes

After completing one arduous and self indulgent chart on 'Into the Valley..' I had sworn never to attempt anything similar for at least a decade. But then I read Chris's excellent post on his favourite children's TV themes on moviesandsongs365 and decided I just had to produce my own from that distinctive 'obscure' angle. It's often difficult to differentiate between actually loving the theme or whether you merely loved the programme itself, but with these selections I've done my best to stick with the quality of the music.

10. Casey Jones

A top sing-a-long number for kids in a bygone age. I watched the 70's repeats and unfortunately the programme itself never quite lived up to the theme tune. It was a programme about the exploits of an engineer though, so I guess it's tough to make it that gripping.

9. Welcome Back Kotter

A classic show and a memorable smooth soul theme tune which instantly transports me back to Summer holidays in the 1980's and Heinz tomato soup with cheese for dinner. The song itself reminds me a lot of the later work of Terry Callier; check out 'Ordinary Joe' if you're interested.

8. Rentaghost

I loved the show and still find myself singing the theme tune to this day, usually at inappropriate times. The video brings it all flooding back, but the alleged Ben Stiller inspired Hollywood remake should not be allowed to happen.

7. Marine Boy

There was a time when I fancied myself as a bit of a marine boy; living underwater, impressing mermaids and chucking that boomerang thing at baddies. Come to think of it, it still has a lot of appeal now. The tune is a bonkers mix of vocal harmonies, country & western, and dolphin noises. What more could you want?

6. Battle of the Planets

Possibly the best cartoon series of all time and definitely ahead of its time, with my favourite voice-over/narration style opening sequence. The theme sounds like the tacky music from 'Superstars' with a brilliantly over acted voice-over; 'Dedicated, inseparable, invincible!'

5. Big John Little John

You don't need to know anything else about the show, just listen to the theme tune and you basically know the plot, the back-story and the hilarious hi-jinks that will follow. The world was a simpler place in those days.

4. The Banana Splits

No piece of music fills me with as much optimism and sense of anticipation as the Banana Splits theme. It meant Saturday morning, weird animal costume antics and two cracking cartoons; 'Size of a Grizzly!' Whoever came up with the concept of the Banana Splits was a seriously deranged fellow and I never entirely understood what was going on, but that made it all the more engaging.

3. Help! It's The Hair Bear Bunch

An absolute classic and proof if ever it was needed that the 70's was the coolest decade in all of history. One of the best cartoons ever, but the theme tune is an unforgettable mix of Motown, psychedelia and goofy voices. Nothing even comes close to this standard nowadays.

2. Follyfoot

One of the only shows where I'd listen to the opening theme music and then give it the flick. It's such odd and scary music that never really fitted in with a show about farming and show jumping. For me Follyfoot should have been a children's version of the Wicker Man, but sadly they went for the equestrian angle instead.

1. The Flashing Blade

Undoubtedly the finest theme tune ever. The Flashing Blade was an early Saturday morning experience in the seventies and was a badly dubbed swashbuckling French drama made in the sixties. At one point I would have happily adopted the theme as my own personal anthem, but sadly my swinging from chandelier days are over and now I do blogging, and it somehow doesn't seem that appropriate. I had this vision that one day I'd win an Olympic gold and they'd play the 'Flashing Blade' theme while I stood blubbing on the podium rather than the national anthem. Maybe it could still happen, but perhaps I've left it a little late to start training for this Olympic games.


  1. Interesting, these must be obscure (or before my time), I just gave them all a listen, and must admit I have not heard any of the themes before!

    The Flashing Blade looks fun ( and costly for TV)

    I think my faves from the 70s when I was a young boy were Fawlty Towers, The New Avengers, Some mothers do 'ave 'em, thanks for making me think of those too ( :

    Glad I inspired you to take a trip down memory lane ( :

  2. I've just posted mine without reading yours first. It's funny that Heinz tomato soup gets a mention in both (the finest of soups, bar none). I can't believe I forgot Rentaghost. I also can't believe how similar the Follyfoot theme is to the music from The Wicker Man. It's brilliant remembering the brilliant morphing technology in Big John Little John too.

    This just proves that children's telly used to be way better. And more disturbing/drug induced.