Classic TV Revisited: Hector’s House

Hector’s House was a five minute kids’ show about sad-eyed, floppy-eared dog Hector and chinless Zaza The Cat. They had a garden in full bloom to do their business in, and were also joined by frog neighbour, Mrs Kiki. Joanna Lumley narrated.

An intriguing study of wildlife’s lavatorial habits?
Was it Hector-as-like. It was a charming piece of entertainment — not some dog’s dinner.

What was it all about then?
Unlike their real-life counterparts, Hector and Zaza co-habited in harmony in a house with a garden the Ground Force team would be proud of.

No hint of romance — just keen gardeners who whiled away all their daylight hours pottering among the numerous blooms.

But there was a snake in their Garden of Eden?
Just nosy neighbours, in particular frog Mrs Kiki.

So they had a problem with a nosy amphibian?
Remember this was kid’s TV — so nothing malicious. But during a spying visit Kiki left a pink hat behind in Hector’s garden. When she tried to recover it, the hound caught her red-handed.

Frog’s legs for the dog’s dinner?
Hardly. The encounter led to them becoming best friends. She was given a special vantage point on the fence from which to view Hector and Zaza’s antics and a hole through which to enter.

Harmless fun along the lines of a lost pair of garden shears or someone snaffling the plums?
The format was that minxes Mrs Kiki and Zaza would get up to mischief with Hector as the victim. But he would gallantly forgive them, trotting out the line: “I’m a big (whatever he was) old Hector.”

He did get his own back sometimes, such as when he made Kiki a necklace out of thistles and in Hector’s Big Tidy, he tried to tidy them away.

Origins of this sad-eyed dog story?
It was actually imported from France where it was called La Maison de Tu Tu. George Croses was the creator.

Afraid so, Mr Blair. But British audiences weren’t left to translate. Cut-glass toned actress Joanna Lumley did the female voices.

Quality production?
Done on the cheap using finger puppets. It meant Hector and co moved with their arms sticking out, rather like horror film zombies.

An enduring children’s classic?
Lacks the cross-generation appeal of the likes of Roobarb and The Magic Roundabout. But it is fondly remembered by many around the primary school age during the ’70s. The series, which ran to 30 episodes, first aired in 1968 but took off when repeated.

Distinguishing features?
Five-minutes long, blooming garden, sad-eyed, but chivalrous dog and a mischief-making giggly frog and cat.

Do say?
I’m just a big, silly old Hector, I’m just a big, sad old Hector, I’m just a big, sensible old Hector.

Don’t say?
Call the dog-catcher — it’s medical experiments for you.

Not to be confused with?
Ali G Indahouse, Doctor In The House

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.