During the 1990’s children all over the UK were enthralled and entertained by ‘Playdays’, a pre-school television programme by the BBC. I was an addict and I would happily sit and watch as many and as much of it as I could. It was before the days of binge watching, or box set binging. You could say that I was, once again, way ahead of my time. It was short and it had lots of colours and silly people in it. I’m sure there was some sort of lesson or hidden educational agenda tucked away between Dave Benson Phillips and a series of puppets; for me though it just wasn’t getting through.
There was a particular stop for each day, so on Mondays you were treated to the Why Bird Stop, which had a multi-coloured Scouser bird who erm flapped about a bit. On Tuesdays it was the Playground Stop, possibly involving a playground. And so on. The BBC had to keep everything light and fluffy.
Recently a document has been uncovered which reveals another five days worth of stops which were considered but never used during the scheduled programming. Here, in atypical and popular list Beans format, are those alternative stops:
The Ice Cube Stop – rapper Ice Cube lives in a igloo made of ice. He encounters problems as he struggles to cope in a harsh, desolate environment. Sometimes he has to fight a polar bear. Sometimes his food rationing makes him pale and illegible. He raps to pass the time, teaching children about why living so far from human civilisation is such as bad idea.
The Cushion Fortress Stop – Emily built a cushion fortress in the middle of her parent’s house and refuses to take it down. The fortress has stood for 167 days straight, blocking her parents’ view of the television, getting in the way of her brothers trying to study for their GCSEs. Her wacky friend Rodross, a mop with a banana for a nose, sings to her and they learn about wildlife in the back garden, where the fortress is beginning to infringe upon.
The Tiny Shop Stop – Tina and Lloyd run a shop in Cheam, but it’s no ordinary shop. It’s a shop where they only sell really small items such as paper clips, washers and single strands of cous cous. If someone comes in asking for anything bigger than a pen lid they blow the magic horn and Dunlop, a flying burglar, flattens them with a series of heavy rocks.
The Undisclosed Medicine Stop – Woofers, a dog puppet, is the most helpful animal you’ll ever meet. Sometimes he comes across unusual plastic containers on the floor, leftover prescriptions that have been lost by people during their busy lives. Woofers takes the medicine to see what it is, and the children watching get to observe what certain drugs will do to you without any proper intervention.
The Ravi Shankar Stop – it’s a collection of relaxed people sat on futons listening to a full hour of Indian music. People are encouraged to meditate, gaze thoughtfully at the sunrise or just talk quietly in the background. Instruments are scattered around for anyone wanting to join in.
It would have been interesting to see how this week would have panned out. All we are left with is the idea of what could have been. If only the BBC hadn’t cancelled ‘Playdays’ in 1997. Ah Poppy Cat, where are you now?