A show featuring a talking skeleton with an effeminate voice, an overweight character called “Bulk” and a girl called “Blotch” with less than perfect skin is being revived for a 26 episode remake to be broadcast in 2016.
Welcome back SuperTed, the less than politically correct story of a Welsh teddy bear with cosmic powers. Known to children of the '80s as an improbable superhero, the animated and anthropomorphic toy is expected to return to the small screen in 2016 after an absence of 30 years.
It is the latest in a series of popular children’s shows from a bygone era being revived for a new generation. Thunderbirds, The Wombles, The Clangers, Dangermouse, Bob the Builder and Teletubbies are also undergoing revivals.
The remake of SuperTed has been revealed to Radio Times by its creator Mike Young, who said he hoped actors Melvyn Hayes and Derek Griffiths, who were the familiar voices in the original series, will be available for the new run.
“We’ll definitely be talking to Melvyn and Derek,” he said. The show will be offered to a number of broadcasters.
Griffiths, 67, the former presenter of BBC children’s show Play School, was the voice of SuperTed himself, a bear that was discarded in the toy factory but is transformed into a superhero by “cosmic dust” bestowed on him by “Mother Nature”.
Politically incorrect children’s TV shows
Politically incorrect children’s TV shows
1/7 Looney Tunes
Looney Tunes, the name given to Bugs Bunny and related characters was politically incorrect. Bugs loved firearms and was not beyond carrying out the odd homicide, as in 1946’s Rhapsody Rabbit
2/7 Thomas the Tank Engine
Thomas the Tank Engine was attacked in Canada for having only eight female characters out of 49 and having a “conservative political ideology” that saw Thomas slaving away for the Fat Controller
Popeye, the spinach-eating and highly aggressive sailor, first appeared in 1929 and became most politically incorrect during the Second World War, singing songs like “You’re a sap, Mr Jap” and calling America’s then foes “Japansies”
4/7 The Flintstones
Barney and Fred, stars of The Flintstones, used to appear in adverts for the cigarette brand Winston, idling against a rock while having a fag break and leaving their wives to do the housework. “Winston tastes good as a cigarette should,” Fred would observe
5/7 The Simpsons
The Simpsons often appears politically incorrect while pushing a politically correct message. Witness the 1997 episode Homer Phobia, where the family visits a collectibles shop called Cockamamies run by a gay antique dealer called John. Homer is horrified but it wins awards for fighting prejudice
6/7 SpongeBob SquarePants
SpongeBob SquarePants lives in Bikini Bottom and has a friend called Sandy Cheeks
The story of a Welsh teddy bear with cosmic powers featured a talking skeleton with an effeminate voice, an overweight character called “Bulk” and a girl called “Blotch” with less than perfect skin
Hayes, 79, best-known for playing Bombardier “Gloria” Beaumont in the BBC sitcom It Ain’t Half Hot Mum but seen more recently in the ITV comedy Benidorm, is expected to return as the voice of Skeleton, a camp and cowardly enemy of SuperTed. Roy Kinnear, who voiced another SuperTed villain, the stupid and obese Bulk, died in 1988.
It is unlikely the modern SuperTed will be as politically incorrect as his '80s incarnation. “In SuperTed, we had a gun-slinging cowboy, a flamboyantly gay skeleton and a fat guy who had jokes made about his weight and all these things you just wouldn’t do today,” Young told Radio Times from Los Angeles, where he has lived for the past 25 years. “But you can still write the show in a funny, entertaining way.”
He noted that the American cartoon Popeye “used to smash people in the face” and was very funny. “But of course there is no television network anywhere in the world that would let you do that now.”
Joe Godwin, the executive in overall charge of BBC children’s programmes, denied that the plethora of remakes was an indication of a lack of new ideas. He told Radio Times that the reworked Teletubbies, Dangermouse and The Clangers amounted to only “a tiny fraction of the content” produced across CBBC and CBeebies.