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Classic TV

Jamie And The Magic Torch

Here’s one even my mum remembers. And who could forget it?

For years I search for Jamie and the Magic Torch on video, and then along came the Gods know as Pearson TV, who released it on video. Bless their cotton socks!

To be honest, I couldn’t remember much about this program other than Jamie sliding down a helter skelta. Not surprising really, considering that even watching it now it doesn’t quite make sense, so how was I suppose to remember what the hell was going on back then!!??

So, here goes. Each episode starts with Jamie being tucked into bed by his mum, who strangely enough is just a shadow. That probably explains why Jamie has ended up with a talking dog. Anyway, after being tucked safe and sound into his bed, he leaps out and grabs his torch.

After a flick of a few buttons, he shines it on his bedroom floor and a hole appears. I actually had a torch like that one. Admittedly it was a blowtorch, but it did create a hole in the floor. Unfortunately what followed was not a helter skelta into another strange world, but a visit from the fire brigade. Ahem.

So, down the helter skelta slide Jamie and his dog Wordsworth and land in a strange land called Cuckoo Land. A rather apt name really considering it’s a breading place for surrealism.

For in it are some rather strange characters. Let’s take Mr. Boo for example. He flys around all day in a strange floating submarine type thingy with an umbrella poking out the top. He’s obsessed with counting things, whether it be leaves or bits of mountain. Yes, bits of mountain – don’t ask!

Wordsworth, Jamie’s dog now has the ability to speak. Not really a shock really since they’re now in a magical world, but a talking dog with a west-country accent and a bobble-hat!!?? Hmmm.

We have officer Gotcha, who’s lower part of his body resembles a unicycle. He’s obsessed with Wednesday being early-closing, and like an officer of the law should be, is concerned about laws being broken. I’m not really sure if crying without a Waterboard permit is a capital offence though. This strange behaviour can probably be explained by the fact that he munches on truncheons as a mid-morning snack.

Jo-Jo Help is well, no help what-so-ever. Whenever anyone says the word “help”, he appears. Instead of doing the decent thing though, he comes up with a million and one excuses for not helping and then promptly then disappears in a hole in the ground. Is it me, or does that sound familiar? “We apologise for any delay” – my arse!

There’s not much really to say about Strumpers Blunket other than he enjoys playing tunes on his nose. I think we’ll leave that one there.

And then there’s Nutmeg. A rag doll who keeps all sorts of strange things in her pocket. I bet you anything that there’s nothing in that there pocket that you wouldn’t find in your average womans’ handbag though. (Ooo, I’m gonna get a few emails about that one, I can tell!)

So, here we have this strange world with all these strange characters. I suppose I should explain what goes on in each episode, but quite frankly, I can’t. I’d love to make sense of it, truly I would, but I can’t.

To summarise though, Jamie and Wordsworth arrive. Something bizarre happens. There’s a few very poor, groan-quality jokes, Jamie uses his magic torch to do something magical, and then the tree at the bottom of the helter skelta arrives, and it’s time to go back to bed.

Even though it kept me entertained as a kid, I’ve got to say it’s a lot more entertaining now as an adult, trying to figure out what the hell is going on. It’s special, in a special kind of way. Top marks!!!

All sounds and images, motion or still in this section ©1977 Thames Television Ltd.

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Mr. Boo


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