Mike Reid gives viewers the Runaround on Talking Pictures TV

The programme archive is screened for the first time in over 40 years.

Mike Reid on the set of Runaround at Southern Television.

“Hosted by Mike Reid and the voice of Christine Wheeler, This show features: traction engines, historic farm vehicles, model fairground attractions and the “Mallard” steam engine and an Andes steam engine.” – Talking Pictures TV

Runaround is to get a repeat run of surviving episodes on Talking Pictures TV starting later this morning. The children’s series was a quiz based format that saw kids running to the correct answer. The show is based on a less successful stateside version that aired in the early ’70s on NBC.

The UK version began on ITV in 1975, hosted by the inimitable Mike Reid who was the longest running host between 1975-76 and 1978-81. Between Mike’s stints television stalwart Leslie Crowther had a spell overseeing proceedings and later Stan Boardman gave hosting a shot.

Twelve series were made across six years with spin-offs appearing in Saturday morning show Saturday Banana and later a Central TV music based version Poparound. Runaround came to an end, as did many Southern Television series, when the company went off air on New Years’ Eve 1981, replaced by TVS who didn’t pick up its predecessors programmes.

“This week’s episode was first broadcast in 1978 and this week’s prizes include a Rod Stewart LP, a Manicure Set, a Pocket Camera, a Cassette Recorder, an Electronics Kit and the star prize is a bicycle” – Talking Pictures TV

TVS also brought a future EastEnders star to children’s fun with On Safari for Gillian Taylforth alongside Christopher Biggins.

Mike Reid of course these days is best known for his legendary role of Frank Butcher in BBC Ones EastEnders, however he had found television fame in the 1970s as an actor and stand-up comedian on shows such as LWT sitcom Yus, My Dear and Granada Television’s comedy showcase The Comedians. Mike isn’t the only ‘EastEnder’ to have a major part in children’s entertainment – Gillian Taylforth aka Kathy Beale – appeared On Safari with Christopher Biggins coming from Southern Television’s replacement TVS between 1982-84.

Talking Pictures TV haven’t said how many Runaround programmes they intend to screen, however its believed out of 100 produced only 33 survive in the Renown Films archive. The children’s series from Southern Television is just one of a number former ITV programmes getting a re-run on the channel with shows such as ATV’s crime drama Gideon’s Way, entertainment show Sunday Night at the London Palladium, LWT’s police action The Gentle Touch,  Southern TV’s soap opera Together and Thames Television’s saga Rooms getting re-runs for the first time in many cases since original transmission.

Previously TPTV have screened a Christmas special of Runaround, however the screening later today is the first time regular editions have been seen since their original ITV broadcast.

“The contestants this week are Jacquie, Ross, Helen, Matthew, Sarah, Stephen, Kim, Paul, Lorraine and Mark… But who will win?” – Talking Pictures TV

Runaround with Mike Reid airs on Talking Pictures TV, Saturday 25th July at 7.40am.

Mike Reid as Frank Butcher with Pam St.Clement as wife Pat in BBC One’s EastEnders.

Share Button