Zokko!

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Zokko!
Voices of Sheelagh Mcgrath, Gordon Clyde, Anthony Jackson
Narrated by Mr Zokko!
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 26
Production
Executive producer(s) Paul Ciani and Molly Cox
Running time 22 minutes
Release
Original network BBC
Picture format 4:3
Original release 1968 – 1970

Zokko! was a BBC television programme for children that ran on Saturday mornings for 26 episodes of 22 min duration between 1968 and 1970.[1] It was devised by veteran children's TV producer Molly Cox and newcomer Paul Ciani, and was ground-breaking in being the one of the first to use a fast-moving noise/adventure/fun pop art concept as entertainment.[citation needed]

It featured a mixture of animations (e.g. Disney 'Fantasia' highlights/'Felix the Cat'/specially made sequences by Ted Lewis and Malcom Draper), music hall jokes ('Knock-Knock' etc.), short sequences using models set to music (e.g. marching band using World War I song "I'll Make a Man of You" with General Kitchener poster in background), studio variety acts ('Sensational feats on the slack wire by Babu'/'Anna-Lou and Maria: a feather and fur fantasy'/'The Breathtaking Eddy Limbo'/'The High Jacks'/'Rope-spinning by Robin and Toni Templar'), film clips (e.g. specially made short films of a Tarzan spoof/snake charmer/imported stunt films 'Speed Ride' (rollercoaster/racing car stunts), magic (Ali Bongo - the "Shriek of Araby"), narrated comic strips (Big top thriller 'Susan Starr of the Circus'/Sci-Fi adventure 'Skayn and the Moon People' - pictures by Leslie Caswell), and specially shot films using pop songs ('Soundbox') by the likes of Georgie Fame, Alan Price, Harpers Bizarre, Randy Newman ("Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear"). The show was named after its original 'presenter', a flashing/talking pinball machine called 'Mr Zokko!' with a gaping skull shaped head (designed by Mike Ellis, the father of Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis, and grandfather of singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor) which introduced the clips and then scored them in its slow and sad robotic voice e.g. "Zok-ko, Score 7".

The programme is now regarded as "the first televised children's comic".[2] Apart from a compilation of highlights, only one complete episode remains in the BBC's archives. Two series were made in black and white. The second series omitted the pinball machine links, which were replaced by pop-art captions heavy on exclamation marks and question marks, linked with a similar electronically treated voice; "All for fun - fun for all - it's Zokko!"[citation needed] The main title theme was music by Brian Fahey and was released as a single.

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