Allsorts (TV series)

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Allsorts
Also known as Gigglish Allsorts
Starring Andrew Wightman
Wayne Jackman
Virginia Radcliffe
Vivienne Mckone
Jane Cox
Julie Westwood
Charles Roberts
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 9
No. of episodes 211
Production company(s) Granada Television
Distributor ITV Studios
Release
Original network ITV Network (CITV)
Picture format 4:3
Original release 8 January 1986 – 12 December 1995

Allsorts (later renamed Gigglish Allsorts) is a British children's television series that was produced by Granada Television for nine series, which aired from 8 January 1986 to 12 December 1995 on ITV.

History[edit]

In common with many of ITV's educational children's programmes of the era, Allsorts - first screened in January 1986 - was originally intended to run for only one series while ITV's flagship children's series, Rainbow, was off air that year. The first series ran until July, but despite moderate popularity in its first run, Granada decided not to renew the series and instead initially opted in favour of Allsorts predecessor, the pre-school orientated series Our Backyard (which had already been on air since August 1984), largely because the latter could be made more quickly and cheaply. But after failing to attract enough viewers in its third run in late 1986, Our Backyard was cancelled and Allsorts was brought back for a second series in January 1987, and proved so popular with both pre-schoolers and older children that it was subsequently recommissioned for a further seven series before it was eventually dropped in 1995.

The series was characterised by its quirky humour, songs and entertaining storylines which the characters would have to discover, solve or enjoy. It starred Andrew Wightman as Bonzo and Wayne Jackman as Jiffy, who starred in the series throughout its entire run. Wayne and Andrew were originally joined by Vivienne Mckone as 'Natty' and Virginia Radcliffe as 'Spike The Dog'. Natty and Spike were later dropped from the cast and were replaced by Virginia, played by Virginia Radcliffe (who originally portrayed Spike The Dog). By the early 1990s Virginia Radcliffe left the cast and was replaced by Jane Cox as 'JJ'. Puppet characters were later introduced. The first was Box (a talking box) operated by Julie Westwood. Then the final edition to the cast was Moudly The Mole, operated by Charles Roberts.

The series was renamed Gigglish Allsorts in 1994 with a new set of titles, a new house and new music. However, by this time, viewing figures were on the wane, despite the introduction of a zany Jack In The Box played by Fred Feast and Granada decided that the show had become a shadow of its former self; after a decade-long run, the series was cancelled at the end of its ninth series a year later, in part due to Granada Television's merger with BSkyB, which resulted in Granada discontinuing many of its lower budget programmes. The final episode was screened on 12 December 1995.

Cast[edit]

  • Jiffy - Wayne Jackman
  • Bonzo - Andrew Wightman
  • Natty - Vivienne Mckone (Series 1-3)
  • Spike The Dog - Virginia Radcliffe (Series 1-3)
  • Virginia - Virginia Radcliffe (Series 4)
  • JJ - Jane Cox (Series 5-9)
  • Box - Julie Westwood (Series 5-9)
  • Mouldy - Charles Roberts (Series 7-9)

Format[edit]

The show's format changed every series. The titles and the set changed, the characters' clothing changed, and the storylines became a little more complex. In the Gigglish Allsorts era of the series, the characters even ventured out of the house on outings, such as a visit to Gulliver's World in the episode "The Big Day Out" in 1994.

Opening titles[edit]

The opening credits from series one to five are fully animated in a cartoonish style. They feature a toy which starts off as a spinning top, then turns into ball, then a jug of water, then a train, then a house which flies into a kite which reads "Allsorts". The music consists of several pieces of instrumentation in sequence, coming in one after the other as the toy changes form.

Series six has the cartoon pictures of series one in three square boxes at the right hand side of the screen, with the opening titles on the left side. The background music is sung by the stars of the show, with each singing a different verse. The lyrics of the song are "Hey, it's an Allsorts day, anything can happen / It's an Allsorts day / Today!"

The opening credits from series seven to nine begins with a close-up of a box made of numerous light-up squares as an unknown voice starts singing. As the lyrics "one - two - three" are sung, the camera pans back, and a box opens which contains objects including toy aeroplanes, cars, teddy bears. Afterwards, JJ, Jiffy, Box and Bonzo appear, pulling faces. The lyrics of the background song are "Hey! Are you ready - steady - one - two - three / Gigglish Allsorts - what's happening today? / Gigglish Allsorts - they're coming out to play."

Transmission guide[edit]

Series Premiere Last in series Episodes
1 8 January 1986 2 July 1986 26
2 21 January 1987 8 December 1987 39
3 11 August 1988 15 March 1989 30
4 20 September 1989 28 March 1990 26
5 3 October 1990 3 April 1991 24
6 6 January 1993 5 May 1993 18
7 6 January 1994 10 March 1994 19
8 6 September 1994 13 December 1994 15
9 12 September 1995 12 December 1995 14