Jackanory (BBC-1 1965-1996 and 2006)

Storytime in which a children’s story was read by many a famous actor over the years (even Prince Charles in 1984). Very straight forward (and all the better for it) the episodes were minimal of set and the featured reader told the story as if they had a group of children gathered around them. Occasional illustrations would be used to punctuate the story.

Everybody who is anybody has contributed at some time or another both in terms of stories and actors reading them, however Kenneth Williams and Bernard Cribbens probably chalked up the most appearances.

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The first story was Cap-o’-Rushes which was read by Lee Montague and the final story was A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner read by Alan Bennett.

JACKANORY PLAYHOUSE was a 6×25 minutes series from 1972 (also BBC-1), featuring six mini playlets. Hannah Gordon, Roy Kinnear, James Bolam and Joan Sims featured in the cast.

In late 2006 two new stories emerged using a mixture of CGI and traditional storytelling. The stories were Muddle Earth told by John Sessions and The Magician of Samarkand told by Ben Kingsley. Meanwhile CBeebies revived the format with Jackanory Junior between 2007 and 2008. Bedtime Stories, which is another CBeebies series, is basically the same format but attracts heavyweight stars such as Dolly Parton and Captain America’s Chris Evans to the story telling chair.

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production details
UK | BBC One | 3500x15m-e | Broadcast 13 December 1965 – 24 March 1996 and 27 November 2006

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.