Jackanory First Broadcast
The 13th of December 1965 AD
The original format for Jackanory was elegant in its simplicity: an actor or occasionally a TV personality like Clement Freud or a figure from an entirely different world like Prince Charles reading a book out loud to children, with occasional illustrations shown on screen (often by Quentin Blake ). Magical.
It captivated children from toddlers through to their primary school years, becoming a fixed element of every weekday for millions of families, quarter of an hour of almost guaranteed peace for any adult looking after them: the insistent theme-tune – Jackanory Jackanory - acted like an off-switch for play, a signpost pointing towards bedtime.
Over the years – the original series came to an end in 1996 – some great names appeared as readers: Kenneth Williams perhaps the most frequent; Spike Milligan ; Bernard Cribbins; the genius that was Arthur Lowe ; Michael Hordern and Joyce Grenfell to list but a few of the finest.
The very first programme on December 13 1965 featured Lee Montague, an actor better known for his hard-man roles on TV and in films.
Naturally when the BBC revived the idea in 2006 it had to be tampered with – animation used, and multiple actors; and no fixed slot to give that blessed routine that makes life with children so much easier. Perhaps it takes imagination to believe in the power of imagination.
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