The Beeb is reviving cult classic children’s TV show, Crackerjack, but it won’t be family viewing on BBC One.
By the time Stu Francis hosted Crackerjack in the 80s kids were turning to Emu on ITV to get away from the naffness.
“We can’t wait to introduce a new set of Crackerjack ‘crush-a-grape’ catchphrases to a new generation of fans! The format has always been an amazing showcase for talent. And that commitment to showcasing talent is always at the heart of our wider production ambitions too, and a common theme across all of these new commissions for In House, across all the age groups we serve and from writers to on screen performers.” – Helen Bullough, Head of Children’s In House Productions
The show, a staple of children’s television from 1955-1984, marked the start of the weekend with its mix of sketches, pop performances and games however the new version will only be seen on CBBC Channel and the iPlayer. It’s 35 years since its last outing, and the all-new production will be made at MediaCityUK in Salford.
First Crackerjack host: Eamonn Andrews, who is best known for his three decades on This is Your Life for both the BBC and ITV.
The Price is Right and Stars in their Eyes’ Leslie Crowther followed Eamonn as Crackerjack’s presenter.
The retro classic will be revitalised for today’s connected generation giving them an all-round, interactive experience while retaining the beating heart of what etched Crackerjack into the affections of British children for three decades. There will be a heady mix of jaw-dropping magic, laugh out loud comedy and silly studio sitcom – and of course it will still air on Fridays with hundreds of kids in the studio taking part in all the fun.
As part of the new show, Double or Drop returns in which kids get plucked from the audience to answer questions and go head to head to win prizes – or cabbages if they get it wrong – and the much-coveted Crackerjack pencil. The show was originally presented by This Is Your Life’s, Eamonn Andrews. He was followed by Stars in their Eyes host Leslie Crowther, This Is Your Life’s Michael Aspel, radio presenter Ed Stewart and comedian Stu Francis.
Michael Aspel also had a stint on Crackerjack.
BBC Radio DJ Ed Stewart hosted the series in the ’70s.
Sam and Mark will oversee proceedings across the ten-part series which will air next year in 45-minute slots. The reboot of Crackerjack is announced alongside another old Children’s BBC programme set to return with The Demon Headmaster also plucked from the formats of old for a 2020 relaunch. CBBC is also to launch a teen mystery drama, Get Even. Young audiences will also be able to enjoy Princess Mirror-Belle, a live action drama for 5-7 year-olds and animated pre-school series Love Monster will showcase the importance of kindness, empathy, connection and instinct.
“Crackerjack is just one of several fabulous series that Children’s In-House Productions have developed this year. It’s the perfect vehicle for our much-loved stars Sam and Mark and promises to usher in a new era of frenetic family fun and whizzbang audience antics.” – Cheryl Taylor, Head of Content for BBC Children’s