Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Originating as a local program from the CBC's Ottawa outlet on November 7, 1969, the daily children's puppet show Hi Diddle Day was seen regionally in Montréal and the Maritime Provinces until it was picked up by the entire network on April 18, 1970. In the proud tradition of such American series as Johnny Jupiter and Rocky and His Friends, the series used its kiddie-show trappings as a forum for some extremely biting adult satire. The show was set in a reconditioned Victorian domicile in the town of Crabgrass, presided over by incompetent local mayor Gertrude Diddle (purported to be a spoof of real-life Ottawa mayor Charlotte Wynton). Designed by Noreen Young, the principal puppet characters included Basil the Beagle (who'd previously been "teamed" with Gertrude Diddle on the 1962 series Jack in the Box), Durwood the Dragon, Wolfgang the Wolf, Chico the Crow, Ti-French the Moose, Sebastian the Cat, and Lucy Goose. Every so often, a "new" character would emerge, generally a caricatured celebrity or politician à la Great Britain's Spitting Image. Though curiously reviled by the mainstream press, the series was extremely popular with the public, remaining on the air until March 29, 1976. Reruns of Hi Diddle Day were briefly broadcast in 1977.