Sunday, 19 June 2011

One for sorrow, Two for joy! Remembering Magpie

I don't know about you guys, but I always preferred Thames Tv's cool Magpie to the stuffy, staid, patronising BBC crap that was Blue Peter. I found Magpie to be more hip and with it, and I found its presenters spoke to kids in an uncondescending way.
The programme, made by Thames Television, was first transmitted on 30 July 1968, which was Thames Television's first day of broadcasting. It was shown once a week for the first year, but from then until it ended in 1980 went out twice a week. The first presenters were the former BBC Radio One Disc Jockey Pete Brady, Susan Stranks, and Tony Bastable. Brady left the show in 1969 to be replaced by Douglas Rae, and Bastable left in 1972 when he was replaced by Mick Robertson. Jenny Hanley replaced Susan Stranks in 1974. This lineup remained until 1977, when Tommy Boyd replaced Rae.

Approximately 1000 episodes were made, each of a duration of 25 minutes.

Like Blue Peter, Magpie featured appeals for various causes and charities. Notably however, it asked for cash donations rather than stamps or secondhand goods, familiar on Blue Peter. The cash totaliser was a long strip of paper which ran out of the studio and along the adjacent corridor walls. The Mascot was a Magpie called Murgatroyd.

The theme tune was played by the Spencer Davis Group under the alias of The Murgatroyd Band, and written by their guitarist Ray Fenwick. The main lyric was cribbed from an old children's Nursery Rhyme:
One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a story never to be told
Eight for Heaven
Nine for Hell
Ten for the Devil himself

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