I read Past Bedtime



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10 Absolutely Stellar Kids TV Shows That You Would Still Watch Now If You Got Home By 3pm

You know those rare moments of pause sandwiched between the 9-5, working on the side hustle and catching up with friends and family? The moments when you stop for breath long enough to think 'seriously, what did I do with all that free time I had as a kid?'

Well, I've found the answer, my friend. TV. 

TV was bae for the entire period encompassing 2000-2012. And let's face it, if you could have afforded a TV license at uni or if work would let you leave at 2.45 to catch the Tweenies, TV would still be dominating now. 

Alas, at some point we had to kiss goodbye to the remote and save thoughts of sweet, sweet television for those poignant moments of nostalgia that hit whenever you dig out the photo albums or watch something you recorded on video ten years ago. 

But if, oh if, you were allowed to leave work at 3pm, here are the ten TV shows you just know you'd be dashin' home for.

1. Arthur

Image Source:  CBBC

Image Source: CBBC

There can be no TV themed listicle without mention of this heroic aardvark. Not only does Arthur teach a valuable lesson in diversity (where rabbits, aardvarks and whatever Binky was supposed to be live together in perfect harmony) and being a strong independent woman (hello DW), but it packed a moralistic punch as well. We all felt for Buster Baxter in this moving musical tribute, and learned a lot about ourselves and friendship along the way.

2. Jungle Run

Before the Crystal Maze became cool, Jungle Run was there to send the thrill of adventure coursing through your veins and leave you reeling at the amount of children trapped in the plastic Jungle Run caves, never to see the light of day again. 

An absolutely terrifying test of resolve.  Image Source:  YouTube

An absolutely terrifying test of resolve.

Image Source: YouTube

While the idea of fully-grown men donning monkey suits and chasing young children may raise a few eyebrows now, at the time it was some absolute 10/10 viewing. 

3. Raven

If you thought Jungle Run was bad, spare a thought for the contestants on Raven, who would face the world's most impossible challenge to date: The Way. Of the Warrior. (Full stop indicates the meaningful pause the presenter/strange bird man hybrid would always add in at that point). 

Nice knowing you, Danil.   Image Source:  YouTube

Nice knowing you, Danil. 

Image Source: YouTube

When someone was sent in to the Way of the Warrior you pretty much stopped watching, knowing their doom was at hand. I almost fell off the sofa the one time somebody actually completed it. Cracking TV, though. 

4. Best of Friends

Image Source:  CBBC

Image Source: CBBC

Perhaps a lesser-known but no less worthy trip down memory lane, Best of Friends was CBBC's finest attempt to test the mettle of its viewers by casually ripping their friendships apart on television. 

Famously ending with one team actually reconsidering their friendship after losing, this was not a gameshow to be entered lightly. 

5. Blue Peter

Ah, you know you're home when those blue sails glide onto your TV sets. A fun way to guess the age of the people around you is to ask them who their favourite Blue Peter presenter was (and, crucially, did they have a crush on Simon?) 

The ultimate Blue Peter lineup.   Image Source:  The Mirror

The ultimate Blue Peter lineup. 

Image Source: The Mirror

Whether you were the coolest kid in school or the class nerd, everyone wanted to get their hands on a Blue Peter badge. The skills learned watching an episode of this wholesome family show will carry you far in life. Just look at Matt Baker. 

6. The Wild Thornberrys

I bet the day the creator of Nigel Thornberry finished drawing, he hung up his hat, put his feet up and drank a cool glass of beer, fully in the knowledge that he could never top this as long as he lived. 

A show that screams adventure with hilariously relatable characters to boot, The Wild Thornberrys has it all. 

There's one in every family. The Thornberrys have six.   Image Source:  Teen.com

There's one in every family. The Thornberrys have six. 

Image Source: Teen.com

7. My Parents Are Aliens

Kids TV didn't turn its back on us as we drifted towards our teen years: it was there to hold our hands the whole way. Whether you were more like sassy Mel, cheeky Josh, sensible Lucy or (lord help us) the perfect Wendy, My Parents Are Aliens had thought of everyone. 

Watch this now and I guarantee you will still find it funny. The genius of Brian is timeless. 

Even my family is more normal than this one.   Image Source: Digital Spy

Even my family is more normal than this one. 

Image Source: Digital Spy

8. The Story of Tracy Beaker

Excluding the painful knowledge that all those children were probably still trapped in Jungle Run, up until this point our childhood viewing had been pretty idyllic. 

BAM. The TV version of Jacqueline Wilson's classic hit us like a tonne of bricks, and life was never the same again. Whether we were wrinkling our noses at Elaine the Pain or wondering why Cam wouldn't just hurry the heck up and adopt Tracey full time, this show really got our feelings working overtime. I still sing the theme song to myself now.

Seriously relating in this pic.  Image Source:  The Mirror

Seriously relating in this pic.

Image Source: The Mirror

9. Lizzie McGuire

Image Source:  Seventeen

Image Source: Seventeen

If Tracy Beaker opened our eyes to the harsh realities of life, Lizzie McGuire is the one to make all our teen dreams manifest. If you were watching this show, you knew you'd made it in life (not least because you had to pay for the Disney Channel). 

Young Hilary Duff was there to help us negotiate friends, parents and (gasp) boys in the big wide world. And teach us how to launch a pop career, of course. 



10. Smile

What Sunday morning was complete without Smile? This is the show where you could find Fearne Cotton, Reggie Yates and Rochelle Humes just hanging out, where you could discover cracking bands like Jet  and where the friendship between Barney and Ned the monkey blossomed into an unlikely bromance.

DOWN RIGHT DOWN!!  Image Source:  Gameogre


Image Source: Gameogre

But it was the phone-in games that truly made this show. Nothing got my heart racing like Bandit Bites. 

The best thing about Smile? It was on a Sunday, paving the way for a whole lifetime of lazy TV days. Work may keep us from watching these absolute classics, but nothing, nothing, can take away the joy of the omnibus. 

So there you have it, team. Which of these shows could you not get enough of, or are you raging that I've missed your favourite from the list? Let me know in the comments below.

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