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Genre Children's
Created by Michael Cole
Presented by Carol Leader
Fred Harris
Theme music composer Peter Gosling
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13
Executive producer(s) Cynthia Felgate
Producer(s) Michael Cole
Original network BBC One
Original release 1981-05-21 – 1981-08-13

Chock-A-Block was a BBC children's television programme, created by Michael Cole. It was first shown in 1981 and repeated through to 1989 and shown as part of the children's programme cycle See-Saw (the "new" name for the cycle originally known as Watch with Mother). "Chock-A-Block" was an extremely large yellow computer, modelled to resemble a mainframe of the time; it filled the entire studio and provided the entire backdrop for the show. The presenter of the show played the part of a technician maintaining the computer. There were two presenters, Fred Harris ("Chock-A-Bloke") and Carol Leader ("Chock-A-Girl"), but only one appeared in each episode. At the start of the show, the presenter would drive around the studio towards the machine in a small yellow electric car, before saying the catchphrase "Chock-A-Bloke (or Girl), checking in!").

The presenter would then use the machine to find out about a particular topic. The name "chock-a-block" was derived from the machine's ability to read data from "blocks" - which were just that, physical blocks painted different colours. A typical show would include dialogue from the presenter, a brief clip played on Chock-a-block's video screen, and the presenter recording a song on Chock-a-block's audio recorder (which resembled the reel-to-reel tape drives used on actual mainframes, but with a design below to cause the reels to resemble the eyes of a smiling face).

According to the Kaleidoscope 'Lost Shows' database, eight out of thirteen episodes are no longer in the BBC archives.


# Title Presenter Airdate Catalogue#[1]
1 "Clock" Fred Harris 21 May 1981 (1981-05-21) LCHS566P
Featured the song "The Clock That Lost Its Tock".
2 "Crow" Carol Leader. 28 May 1981 (1981-05-28) LCHS573Y
Featured the song "Ballad of Joe Crow".
3 "The Sheep" Fred Harris 4 June 1981 (1981-06-04) LCHS567J
4 "The Train" Carol Leader 11 June 1981 (1981-06-11) LCHS574S
5 "The Sun and The Moon" Fred Harris 18 June 1981 (1981-06-18) LCHS568D
Featured the song "Out Shone a Ray".
6 "Magpie" Carol Leader 25 June 1981 (1981-06-25) LCHS575L
7 "UNKNOWN" Fred Harris 2 July 1981 (1981-07-02) LCHS569X
Featured the song "King Cole's Mole"
8 "Cat" Carol Leader 9 July 1981 (1981-07-09) LCHS576F
9 "Pig" Fred Harris 16 July 1981 (1981-07-16) LCHS570R
Featured the song "The Dancing Pig"
10 "Shoe" Carol Leader 23 July 1981 (1981-07-23) LCHS577A
11 "Snake" Fred Harris 30 July 1981 (1981-07-30) LCHS571K
Featured the song "Drake on the Lake"
12 "Bee At The Sea" Carol Leader 6 August 1981 (1981-08-06) LCHS578T
Featured the poem "If All the Seas Were One Sea".
13 "UNKNOWN" Fred Harris 13 August 1981 (1981-08-13) LCHS572E
Featured the poem "Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where Have You Been?"

The presenter Fred Harris went on to present the serious computing programme Micro Live and to become a personality strongly associated with computers in the public eye.


  1. ^ "BBC Catalogue: Chock-a-block". BBC. Retrieved 6 May 2007. 

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