Pre-school fun, songs and learning with a dedicated hard core adult following, Rainbow ran for almost twenty years on the ITV network as a production of Thames Television, starring Bungle the Bear (actor and voice artist, Roy Skelton, who had also supplied the grating, memorable voice of a Dalek more than once in the BBC's Doctor Who), alongside puppets George, a mild mannered, pink hippopotamus and the gruff, sarcastic and zip-mouthed creature know as Zippy, as well as human co-star, Geoffrey Hayes, formerly Detective Constable Scatliff at Newtown CID, in the BBC's classic Z-cars.
However, the original, now almost forgotten line-up when the series first appeared on the nation's TV screens in 1971, consisted of actor David Cook as the host along with Moony, a meek mauve puppet, and Sunshine, an aggressive yellow one.
Another well loved element which contributed greatly to Rainbow's enduring success was the resident musical trio of Rod, Jane and...Matthew. Future custodian of the mighty Sooty franchise, Matthew Corbett was one-third of the show's original musical trio before being replaced by the person who's name helped immortalise the threesome, Freddy!
In its early days Rainbow attracted a superb roster of talent for its rotating band of guest storytellers, including Dame Judi Dench and Stephanie Beacham. Charming, innocent and a mainstay of pre-school programming, Rainbow continues to be a fondly remembered and much admired example of the very best television for the very young...as well as the very young at heart.
Published on January 24th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.