Jamie & The Magic Torch (1977)

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Jamie and the Magic Torch was a stalwart of British '70s children's television, produced by Cosgrove-Hall Productions, the Manchester-based company of animators Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall, and funded by the London branch of ITV (Independent Television), Thames. The program made its debut in 1977 and was usually transmitted at midday, while regular repeats continued until the late 1980s. Three series were made, each consisting of thirteen ten-minute episodes. The opening sequence of each show pans across a suburban nocturnal street, up to a second-floor window, where we see a mother turning off her young sons bedroom light and shutting the door. Then, the perennially pyjama-clad Jamie climbs out of bed, his dog Wordsworth (an old English Sheepdog) crawls from underneath, and the young boy shines his torch onto the carpet. A psychedelic hole then appears, and the duo jump onto an equally eccentric helter skelter that carries them down to the Gateau Plateaux and Veronica Lakes of Cuckoo Land. Here, they meet up with the various natives: Mr Boo, the punctilious mayor; Jojo, the studiously unhelpful odd-job man; Officer Gotcha, the truncheon-eating neighbourhood policeman; ragdoll Nutmeg and, of course, Strumpus Plunkett, whom nobody ever quite understands the origin. Cue any number of unlikely troublesome adventures, always remedied by Jamie's magic torch before he has to return home to bed.