Now that exam season is fully in swing and a large chunk of you are looking towards graduation and the future, it’s time to reminisce on some of the television shows that made your childhood great.
From the best of British children’s game shows, to cartoons from across the pond, here are some of our top picks that had you rushing home from school every afternoon.
10. Escape from Scorpion Island
Putting Love Island to shame, CBBC’s Escape from Scorpion Island saw two teams, Sting and Claw, compete against each other over several weeks in an exotic location in order to escape from the Island.
At the end of each series, one of the teams would escape on a helicopter after winning the final challenge, which involved climbing up to the top of the highest peak on the island. As for the losing team, well, I am sure they managed to make it out eventually.
The show lasted for five series, and aired in the UK and Australia. It was presented by some big names, including Caroline Flack, Myleene Klass and Reggie Yates, before being axed in 2013.
As one of Nickelodeon’s longest running TV shows, this American animation followed the lives of toddler Tommy Pickles and his friends in their day-to-day lives.
It’s safe to say that I do not recall a lot of what happened in my life before I went to nursery, but I do remember imagining scenarios to be a lot greater than what they were. A trip up the stairs would feel like climbing Kilimanjaro, and Rugrats did a good job of highlighting that.
Arguably the best thing to come out of the franchise were the feature length movies that were created, namely Rugrats in Paris. The youngsters navigate themselves through EuroReptarLand and escaped the clutches of the evil, child-hating Coco La Bouche.
Based on Marc Brown’s Arthur Adventure book series, the hit TV show followed the lives of aardvark Arthur Read and his friends and family, including his irritating younger sister, DW.
Arthur’s fist has become somewhat of a meme in the last year or so, after a scene from the show’s most infamous episode was brought back into circulation.
After explicitly telling DW not to touch his toy plane, Arthur was furious to discover that she had threw it out the window, prompting him to punch DW. He soon realised that this was not the right way to resolve the situation, teaching us an important lesson about sibling rivalry.
Looking back, DW has made me realise that my own little sister was not so bad after all.
Recess focused on the lives of six youngsters in a clichéd American elementary school setting.
The unlikely friend group consisted of TJ (the natural leader), Gretchen (the genius), Mikey (The gentle giant), Spinelli (takes no nonsense), Gus (the shy new kid) and Vince (the sporty one).
Throughout your time at school, you probably fitted into at least one of those categories, and recess, or breaktime, was everyone’s favourite time of day.
Set on a dark tower in the middle of the sea, the Halloween themed game show has also made the list, despite only lasting for four series.
As the contestants, or ‘Unfortunates’, make their way down from the top of the tower, the loser from each round is trapped on every floor.
They are guided through their ‘whisper clips’, and one person in each round was chosen to be the saboteur. You could see the fear in some of the contestant’s eyes as they were told: “Do not react, YOU are the saboteur”, while others suppressed a smirk. It was the saboteur’s job to discretely make sure the rest of the group failed the challenge.
At the end of each episode, one fortunate ‘Unfortunate’ escaped with the Key of Freedom, leaving their five friends locked up in the tower. Although it made for entertaining viewing, you can bet that some friendships came to an end after taking part in the programme.
5. Horrid Henry
We all knew a Moody Margaret and a Perfect Peter at school, and as much as I tried to be Horrid Henry, I definitely would not have been allowed into the Purple Hand Gang, had my school had such a thing.
Looking back, the most hilarious part of each episode was Henry’s animal transformations. Whenever Henry lost his temper, usually with his little brother Peter, he had the habit of turning into a random animal on the attack. From hawks and wasps to bears and dinosaurs, Henry’s done it all.
Despite constantly being sent to his room or losing television privileges for the rest of his life, Henry continued to defy his Mum and Dad. As one of the most relatable characters on children’s television, Henry made us all realise it was okay not to do your homework and dream of becoming a rockstar.
4. Jungle Run
Essentially the adult version of the Crystal Maze, CITV’s Jungle Run was another classic children’s game-show, coming on immediately after a double bill of Horrid Henry every weekday. A nine-year-old’s dream.
Teams of three would work together to complete a number of challenges, winning silver monkey statues along the way to earn them time in the Temple of the Jungle King.
And who could forget Sid and Elvis? The duo of cheeky monkeys distracted the contestants by throwing coconuts at them when they were trying to complete the challenges.
In the final task, the teams would solve puzzles in order to advance further into the chamber. They would win a prize for every completed puzzle, and although it was an MP3 player at most, I was always insanely jealous, and would scream at the TV when I thought they were at risk of being trapped inside the temple.
3. What’s New Scooby Doo
Who could forget the world’s best mystery-solving team? Mystery Inc spent their entire lives unmasking villains and sending them to the big house. They never seemed to get paid for all their crime-fighting, although they did seem to have a lot of fun along the way.
Shaggy and Scooby’s friendship showed that dogs really are a man’s best friend. Fred and Daphne assured us that it’s normal to have a ‘crush’. Velma taught us that brains are more important than beauty, and the Hex Girls highlighted that it is possible for an all-female, environmental gothic pop-punk band to succeed in the music industry.
There were also a number of feature length movies, both real-life and animated, which made it to the big screens.
2. The Story of Tracy Beaker
We all had a childhood rivalry similar to that of Tracy Beaker’s with Justine Littlewood.
Adapted from Jacqueline Wilson’s book of the same name, the series followed Tracy’s antics as she grew up in the Dumping Ground, a local care home. Her catchphrase “Bog off” was the most bad ass thing you heard on children’s TV, given that the show aired about 14 hours before the watershed.
One of the most entertaining episodes of all time was when Tracy and Justine faced off in a game of dares. From filling wellington boots with custard, to stealing Elaine the Pain’s clothes while she was in the shower, the episode would still have you in stitches today. For me, the episode ended abruptly when Justine threw Tracy a curveball: “I dare you to EAT a worm.” This put me off spaghetti bolognese for about two and a half years.
Despite being a funny show for the most part, it also made young viewers more aware that not everyone has an easy childhood, as Tracy revealed her insecurities from time to time. Although she would constantly argue that her “Hay fever” was the reason for her tears, we all realised that she was actually crying because her mother was never there for her, which was hard to watch.
And I am sure we can all relate to the closing lines of that theme song: “Doesn’t matter what may come my way, believe me now, I will win some day.”
Hosted by Dundonian actor James Mackenzie, this children’s adventure game-show boasted the perfect mix of physical and mental challenges. In primary school, most of my classmates would watch Raven before school every morning, and we would recreate the challenges in the playground.
Raven donned a black cloak and a magical staff, which warded off the demons and retrieved the warriors when they were captured. The warriors battled it out in tasks which tested their wits, strength, and courage. Notable challenges included the Riddle Bridge and the Leap of Faith.
The CBBC spectacle ran from 2002-2010, with six warriors starting off each week with the hopes of becoming the ‘Ultimate Warrior’. Depending on how they fared in the challenges, the warriors would lose lives or gain rings, with the bottom placed warrior at the end of each episode facing TV’s toughest challenge: ‘The Way of the Warrior’.
In an attempt to save themselves from elimination, the unlucky warrior would battle through an obstacle course, dodging swinging axes and falling boulders along the way. Across ten series, only four warriors ever managed to complete it.
So there you have it! Whether you agree or disagree with the selection, I hope that you enjoyed your trip down memory lane, and leave with a glorious nostalgic feeling that takes you back to the good old days.