Bosco (TV series)

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Bosco (TV series).jpg
Created by Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)
Starring Bosco
Country of origin Ireland
No. of episodes 386[1]
Original network RTÉ2 (formerly Network 2)
Original release 4 June 1979[2] – 2 September 1987

Bosco is a children's television programme produced during the late 1970s and 1980s. It was produced and shown by RTÉ in Ireland. Designed by Jan Mitchell, Bosco was voiced by Jonathan Ryan initially, in the pilot series that was broadcast, with four presenters per show, in 1979. When the show went into full-time production in 1980, with two presenters per show, Miriam Lambert took over. From the 1981 season onwards, Paula Lambert took over.

A shared cultural experience for children in Ireland at the time, it ran for 386 episodes, ending production in 1987. The show, however, was continually repeated before (and later during) The Den daily until 30 September 1996, when it was replaced by The Morbegs before officially ending on 1 May 1998.

Title character[edit]

Bosco (born 25 August), the main character in the programme, is a small red-haired puppet, supposedly a five-year-old child with bright red cheeks and a real squeaky voice. Bosco's gender was ambiguous. Bosco and the other presenters usually spoke English, but (to help young children learn Irish) Bosco often peppered English speech with Irish phrases, much as Dora the Explorer often speaks Spanish.

Bosco lived in a brightly painted wooden box (hence the name: Irish bosca="box"), only ever wandering far from it to go on excursions to such places as Dublin Zoo or the HB Ice Cream factory.

On 9 May 2011, on The Ray D'Arcy Show on Today FM, Bosco let slip that he is a boy, saying that they kept his gender a secret for 33 years.


The roster of presenters included Marian Richardson (now an RTÉ programme producer), Frank Twomey (later of Bull Island), Grainne Uí Mhaitiú, Philip Tyler, Susie Kennedy, Gertrude Kerrigan, Mary Garrioch, David Byrne, Marcus O'Higgins and Peter Fitzgerald. Philip Tyler preceded Brian Dowling as the first openly gay children's TV presenter, though this was not widely known during the 1980s.[3]


There are various short animations, usually stop-motion, as part of the show. The Plonsters were plasticine critters, which are continually engaged in fights or schemes against each other. Faherty's Garden, created by David Byrne, starred the eponymous Faherty a dog, plagued by an amateur crow magician (Cornelius, who would often turn purple, much to his distress) in a series of shorts featuring stop-motion models. Freddy the Fox features a host of well-modelled characters each with distinctive traits, such as Fiachra the Frog, Gregory Grainog and Sile Seilide . There was also a cartoon featuring a potato family, The McSpuds, that live in a supermarket (Savers) owned by Mr McGinty. At night, the potato children, Sheila and Seamus, run amok. The Tongue Twister Twins were also regularly featured. These animations were created by Jim Quin from Thurles, County Tipperary[citation needed].

The show featured arts and crafts segments which were called make and do, in the style of the BBC's children's programme Blue Peter. Another prominent part of the show was story-time and each show featured a song.

Each episode had an on-location section of footage, this was introduced as "The Magic Door". The presenter would step through a chroma keyed door beyond which the footage would be shown. This section opened with the following rhyme:

Another song frequently featured was:

Album, CDs and DVDs[edit]

  • In 1983, Bosco recorded an album, released on LP and cassette. Entitled "This is Where I Live (Bosco Sings!)", this reached number two on the Irish charts at Christmas 1983.
  • A DVD containing episodes of Bosco was officially released in November 2005. This was followed up by a second DVD which was released in the run-up to Christmas 2006.
  • There was also a CD released in 2006 called Bosco - Songs & Stories which featured some of Bosco's favourite songs.
  • For Christmas 2007, Vodafone used the theme "Bosco is back" for a seasonal campaign to at

Other contributors[edit]

  • Molly Molloy ( Original Designer of Bosco Puppet and Set.)
  • Joe O'Donnell (Series Director/Producer 1979-1980.)
  • John Lynch (Series Director/Producer 1980-1982.)
  • Michael Monaghan (Series Director/Producer 1982-1987.)
  • Paul Barrett (Musical Director/Composer 1979-1980. Composer of the Bosco signature tune.)
  • Garvan Gallagher (Musical Director/Composer 1981-1987. Producer of the 1983 album "This is Where I Live".)

Recent appearances[edit]


  1. ^ About Bosco, at Archived 20 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Paul Burton in 'Bosco' publicity shot (1979)". Archived from the original on 11 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Bootboy (20 June 2007). "Reasons to be cheerful". Hot Press. Retrieved 20 June 2007. Little Brian Dowling, the first openly gay children's TV show presenter. (Although, that’s not strictly true. Philip Tyler used to present Bosco. The parents of Ireland, however, may not have been aware that he was a regular presence on the gay scene in the early '80s... 
  4. ^ "Robbie, Mary, Bosco and cups…The Late Late Toy Show 2013 as it happened". 1 December 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Bosco visits Late Late Toy Show 2013". RTÉ. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Late Late Toy Show 2013 best bits… in pictures and video". The Daily Edge. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Bosco returns on Late Late with charity single". Irish Examiner. 6 December 2014. Archived from the original on 26 February 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 

External links[edit]