Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Rainbow was a children's television programme in the United Kingdom which ran on the ITV network from the October 16, 1972 to 1992. It was intended to develop language and number skills for children under 5.
It came to an end when Thames Television's ITV franchise was lost in 1992. Since then, it has gained cult status and continues to get frequent radio and television mentions (although the original shows are not repeated).
The show won the Society of Film and Television Arts award for the Best Children's Programme 1975.
Rainbow featured the following characters, each with their own character style:
- Bungle - inquisitive. A brown bear (a costume; played by Stanley Bates, Malcolm Lord, Paul Cullinan)
- Zippy - loud. Doesn't correspond to any animal (a puppet; voiced by Peter Hawkins, Roy Skelton, Ronnie Le Drew). As his name implies, he had a zip across his mouth, which would be frequently closed if he became troublesome.
- George - shy. A pink hippo (a puppet; voiced by Roy Skelton, Craig Crane)
- The presenter - a real person (first David Cook, then the best known presenter Geoffrey Hayes - not Chris Tarrant as occasionally stated, although there is a great resemblance between them in their looks and voices), who brought them to order or gave them something to do.
- Rod, Jane and Roger (later replaced by Freddy), a group of musicians who regularly featured on the programme.
Generally speaking, George and Zippy represented two 'types' of child, the quiet, shy, and unconfident, and hyperactive and destructive. George was usually vindicated, but Zippy got his comeuppance. While they were apparently young 'children', Bungle was an older 'child', and differed from them in being a costume, rather than a hand puppet. Geoffrey's relationship to them was unclear, other than being a kind of father figure. Apart from Jane, females rarely appeared on the programme, although some people did seem to think that 'George' was actually a girl!
Although the original Rainbow died in 1992, it did come back in 1994 and 1995. This new show centred on the characters (without a presenter) running a toy shop. A new character was introduced - Cleo (voiced by Gillian Robic). This version of the show however, was short-lived.
The "Adult" version
In 1978 the cast and crew of Rainbow made a special edition of Rainbow for ITV staff. This show featured plenty of sexual innuendo and although not shown at the time, it has since been aired for the amusement of those who grew up with the show. (It should be noted that the external page linked below erronously claims that the episode was publically broadcast).
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