ARE YOU SITTING COMFORTABLY? A HISTORY OF CHILDREN'S TV

1946: Children's Hour, television's first programme for children, is first broadcast on 9 June. Muffin the Mule makes his debut, with human sidekick Annette Mills.

1950: Andy Pandy first broadcast.

1952: Programming for children with impaired hearing starts, with For Deaf Children (later Vision On). Debut of Sooty, on Saturday Special, and Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men.

1953: Start of Watch With Mother (it runs until 1980).

1954: David Attenborough's TV debut in Zoo Quest.

1955: First appearance of The Woodentops. Crackerjack is aired as an experiment, and runs for almost 30 years. Presenters include Eamonn Andrews, Leslie Crowther, Michael Aspel, Ed Stewart and Stu Francis.

1957: Debut of the porcine duo Pinky and Perky, along with Captain Pugwash.

1958: Blue Peter starts as a once-weekly, 15-minute show presented by Christopher Trace and Leila Williams.

1964: Playschool is BBC 2's inaugural programme on 21 April, and runs until 1988.

1965: The first Jackanory. In 1984 the Prince of Wales reads his children's story, "The Old Man of Lochnagar", on the programme.

1966: Beginning of the animated favourite Camberwick Green, followed by Trumpton in 1967.

1968: In response to the success of Blue Peter, ITV launches its bi-weekly magazine Magpie, which runs for 12 years. Among the presenters are Susan Stranks, Jenny Hanley, Mick Robertson and Tommy Boyd.

1972: John Craven's Newsround begins. Still running, though without Craven, the programme breaks the story of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster in 1986.

1975: Debut of ITV's Tiswas (Today is Saturday, Wear a Smile) with Chris Tarrant, Lenny Henry and Sally James.

1976: The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, the first national Saturday morning show, begins a 146-show run. Paddington Bear first broadcast.

1977: Death of Petra, the Blue Peter dog, makes the national headlines. A memorial statue is erected in the Blue Peter garden.

1978: The controversial drama Grange Hill begins.

1981: First appearance of Postman Pat.

1985: The live presenter, unfashionable since the mid-Sixties, is reintroduced to children's TV with Philip Schofield and the Broom Cupboard.

1987: Saturday morning's Going Live! launched.

1989: Start of Byker Grove, the Geordie serial that gave the world pop duo PJ and Duncan.

1993: Start of the Saturday morning show Live and Kicking.

SCOTT HUGHES

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