The late 80s early 90s were a golden era for kids tv in the afternoons on the ABC. I’d get home from high school around 3.15, make myself something horrible to eat like 10 biscuits and an ice block then sit down to James Valentine and the afternoon show. This was the best part of the day because the house was mine.

The ABC has a lot to be proud of in the way it has raised a large amount of oddbod 25-35 year olds. The success of Triple J and indie films in Australia can almost be put down to the programming on ABC in the after school timeslot. Here are a few of the shows that influenced my generation:

Degrassi High Series

The Zit RemedyFrom junior high to graduation we followed the growth of Snake, Wheels, Joey, Caitlen and Lucy. Highlights for me was Joey taking Caitlen to the dance, Claude commiting suicide, Wheels parents dying and the final episode where there were more dramas than I’ve ever seen. One of the twins getting mono was also an eye opener. I had no idea what mono was!

Favourite Character: Joey Jeremiah
Ultimate historic television moment: The Zit Remedy play “Everybody wants something”
Fun fact to use at parties: The girl’s bum at the beginning of the show was Jacy Hunter who played Amy in the show.
Best related website: Degrassi Online

You can’t do that on television

Moose and LisaCanadian tv was churning out brilliant tv shows at this time and YCDTOTV was a skit comedy for kids. Green slime came from the sky if you said “I don’t know” and barfy burgers was the place to hang out. The credits at the beginning of the show had a Monty Python type feel to it and the jokes were really bad but the fact that kids were doing this time of show was incredibly appealing. 

Favourite Character: Moose (Christine)
Ultimate historic television moment: Whenever Moose got slimed
Fun fact to use at parties: Alanis Morisette used to be on this show. I hated her cause Alisdair had a crush on her
Best related website:

Press Gang

Spike from Press GangJulia Sawalha was bossy even before she starred on Absolutely Fabulous. The teen sexual tension between her and Spike was compelling viewing as they argued their way through publishing a small paper. Best episode for me is the one where Lynda stole Spike’s passport to stop him going back to America. Colin was annoying but funny.

Favourite Character: Spike Thomson
Ultimate historic television moment: That a gunman would want to take a group of kids who publish a newspaper hostage
Fun fact to use at parties: Dexter Fletcher is actually english (he put on his american accent)
Best related website: The unofficial Press Gang website

Obviously there were other brilliant shows like The Goodies, Metal Mickey, Dangermouse and that wierd ass Scarecrow that scared the shit out of me, but I have more affection for the above shows. What else was on in that golden age of afternoon television that I’ve missed? (This is where I leave it open for Danielle to comment about her favourite show that starts with M)



14 thoughts on “Golden age of afternoon ABC kids tv

  1. Kel says:

    Oh so now I know where the influence came from to watch those shows – yes I used to watch them all the time as well, and even if I tried to change the channel you would bash me.

  2. dbee says:

    OK Amy..because of your no so suttle hint for me to comment…my favourite show was MONKEY MAGIC!! The nature of monkey was IRREPRESSIBLE!! hehe
    loved the ABC afternoons. You forgot to mention Vidiot

  3. Kel says:

    OMG I LOVED VIDIOT!!! My sister Katie and I used to sit there and compete at home, and if I beat her it would probably result in a bashing.

    Wow, the good ol’ days.

  4. amyo says:

    I can’t remember vidiot… can anyone be more descriptive about it?

  5. Kel says:

    Vidiot was a quiz show – I’m surprised you didn’t know of it!

    (Fun Fact – if you do a search on vidiot & abc your page is the 3rd in the list)

    Basically, there were 3 contestants and I think it mainly focussed on music, tv shows, stuff that mainstream adolescents were interested in. It was pretty cool!

  6. lee says:

    someone please please tell me you remember the competition style kids show that preceded vidiot – in the late 80’s. it was in the james valentine era and was hosted by that english ‘bob’ guy who was in neighbours (he played a friend of harold’s who came over from england and stayed with him). i think his last name is la castra or something similar. i can’t describe the show but can see it in my head… one challenge the kids did was watching people do plate spinning and then they had to do it – physical challenges etc. oh man, someone please tell me you remember the name of this show???? lol. please email me…

  7. matt says:

    What about the cartoons like astro boy, battle of the planets, mysteriuos cities of gold and starblazers, also the kiwi show tommy teo! But the goodies were the ultimate

  8. Kel says:

    Um, battle of the planet? Mysterious cities of gold? Star blazers? tommy Teo? Hrm, none of those ring a bell, but the Goodies and Astroboy too.

    At my age, all I got was captain planet 🙁

  9. Hally says:

    You’ve got your age groups wrong, I think. 35’s probably a bit old to be keen on Press Gang. I’m 21, and when I was a kid and came home to a house empty but for the smiling face of James Valentine, Degrassi, Press Gang and YCDTOTV were the biggest shows in town. Those and countless others – I keep meaning to go searching for an old TV Guide to stir my memories of long forgotten programmes that featured in, you’re right, the Golden Age of Afternoon TV. What are the kids watching now? Entertainment Tonight, the Bold and the Beautiful, and Deal or No Deal. Disgraceful.

  10. franz chong says:

    These days the shows have got worse and whatever did happen to the good old days of Afternoon TV.10 should be ashamed of themselves for ditching their kid friendly before the News at 5pm shows for that Bold and the Beautiful Garbage that not even the OC/New 90210 generation can’t even relate to(way too slow for them and for anyone who watches home grown soaps)It get’s worse over at 7 and 9 News After School before that Deal or No Deal and Hot Seat crap(When I was a kid It was Bugs Bunny and Tweety amongst them who entertained us before the 6pm News and don’t forget Wombat and Wheel of Fortune)I am 33 going on 34 so have many happy memories of this era.Even the ABC themselves have gone to the dogs compared to the eighties and nineties.I miss those old Degrassi,Heartbreak High,Grange Hill kind of shows and don’t forget the cartoons of all sorts too numerous to list and as a 19 year old first few months in the working world there was nothing more I liked when it was on than coming home to watch the Secret World of Alex Mack.You have to feel sorry for today’s youth who didn’t have all the advantages that 80’s and 90’s teen’s and early twenty somethings who are now in their thirties or soon approaching there or the good shows.


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