TV and my childhood: The scary to the just plain weird.

11/07/2010 at 9:24 pm (Animation, Childhood, TV, YouTube)

Mr Noseybonk came up in conversation the other day.

Some of us, of a certain generation, growing up in the UK remember Mr Noseybonk; a sinister figure that pressed his way in between the skits and sketches of the BBC kid’s show, Jigsaw. Jigsaw was a fairly innocuous affair involving puzzles and games, but when Mr Noseybonk came on screen the heavens seemed to darken as a chill filled the air.

When you think of things in adulthood that scare you, or rather unsettles you, these can normally be directed to a handful of snapshots of fear in your childhood. Of course I don’t mean the tangible grown up fears, but the subconscious terrors that reside in the recesses of your psyche. Still. You weirdo.

Noseybonk works very much like any circus clown, and you knew that the programme makers thought, “this is a fun character with a silly face, kids will love seeing him going around doing silly things.” Do you know something? Some kids don’t. It’s just a few degrees from comedy to skin crawling horror.

Another thing that I remember as a child is the filler slot, normally on BBC2. If a show ran short, or there was a delay until the next show (yup, this stuff actually happened), there would be a short film poured into the gap. As a rule, these would include experimental short films, often animated, and usually Polish.

Having a look on YouTube for an example for this post, it didn’t disappoint. Please, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the importance of artistic experimentation, and these films would have been important to develop the industry. But when you’re 11 years old, having your beans on toast and killing time before Monkey, you might find your jaw drop to this:

TV used to be a random, unexpected place, and I do think it’s affected my outlook of the world around me. Television programmes are so different now. Well, some. Total Wipeout is It’s A Knockout without the big, silly costumes, and Britain’s Got Talent is Opportunity Knocks with on a bigger stage. We’re told that viewers are more sophisticated now. I’m really not so sure.

Imagine the chaos before a planet forms, then coalesces into a solid shape that’s stable and secure. We have that kind of TV n the UK now.

The chaos could be creepy, but it certainly wasn’t dull.



  1. Ms H Cushion said,

    What about me? Dont you remember Humphrey Cushion? *huffs*

  2. AngelusK said,

    What always got me about Jigsaw, apart from the distinctly unnerving and mawkish Adrian Hedley (nowadays echoed somewhat by Robert Llewellyn), was the O-Men – David Rappaport and Sylvester McCoy in respectively pre-Time Bandits and Dr Who roles. I always felt that Mr Noseybonk was comparatively tame next to them and, having been a veteran viewer of The Adventure Game (Gronda Gronda, Rangdo) by then, I was beginning to welcome more surreal oddness in my viewing at that age.

    Mr Noseybonk has a place in my mind next to the recently deceased Frank Sidebottom; I’m not sure they can be compared directly, but to me they’ll always be linked somehow.

    • peacockpete said,

      I remember the O-Men. I used to think Sylvester McCoy was really tall because of that!

      Oh, the Adventure Game – that was bizarre. I have to say, I never actually, really knew what the games were about, and just remember the odd grid thing at the end and the talking plant.

      Oddly, Captain Zep: Space Detective just popped into my head.

      • archie_pelago said,

        Talking plant? How disrespectful! That was “grandfather” 🙂

  3. Mike Geary Truth About Abs said,

    I wish there was a knob on the TV so you could turn up the intelligence. They got one marked “brightness” but it don’t work, does it? ~Leo Anthony Gallaghe

  4. Keith said,

    It was always creepy. Nosey scared the hell out of me.

    I used to love Ludwig although the clockwork violin playing egg seems to have almost disappeared into obscurity

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