Monday 9 September 1985 saw the introduction of a new presentation format between afternoon children's programmes on BBC1.

An in-vision presenter was hired, bringing the Corporation up to date with rival ITV which had linked its children's output in this way since February 1983. But the BBC service differed in one major respect - it was live.

Officially titled BBC Children's Presentation, the service was originally abbreviated on air to BBC Children's, although this was quickly changed to Children's BBC.

The presenter was Phillip Schofield. who had recently returned to the UK (he was born in Oldham and grew up in Newquay) after several years of living in New Zealand. Although he was unknown here, he was rather more famous there, as a presenter of children's and young people's programmes, in particular a series called Shazam!

Children's BBC was produced on a shoestring budget and although two small studios were available within the Presentation department at Television Centre, the expense involved in their daily operation would be prohibitive. And so Children's BBC was presented from a continuity suite, a small room adjoining the BBC1 Presentation Control Room (officially known as Network Control One, or NC1. This suite was the usual home of the continuity announcer, who would announce programmes out-of-vision and do his or her own vision mixing.

A single, locked off camera was installed, and this tiny room was home to Children's BBC for nearly ten years.

Out with the old. One of the BBC 'B' generated animations used immediately prior to the launch of Children's BBC. This one was known internally as the 'w**king robot'!

Programmes shown on the first day of Children's BBC included the acquired animation series Spiderman, the quiz game Beat The Teacher hosted by Paul Jones and the perennial Blue Peter.

Phillip was immediately popular and his obvious enthusiasm for the job was genuine. He would stay up half the night personally answering viewer's letters. But when multiple sacks of mail started to arrive each day - a good indication of how well the viewers were taking to the new look - secretarial assistance was brought in!

Prior to September 1985, much use had been made of BBC "B" computer animations, which were generated live and voiced out of vision by the BBC1 announcer. The first Children's BBC symbol was created by BBC graphic designer Brian Treggiden, and was also animated using a BBC "B" computer. It was generated live from the machine each afternoon.

The symbol first appeared on a blue background with the legend 'Children's' underneath the BBC device, so reading "BBC Children's". At this stage it was accompanied by a very short sound effect.

The position of the 'Children's' Wording was soon changed so that the screen read "Children's BBC" in keeping with the correct on-air name. A short musical sting was introduced to accompany the animation.

The background colour of this symbol later changed to black, and for the summer morning schedule of 1986, yellow was adopted.
This frame is taken from some of the earliest surviving footage of Phillip in action, September 1985.Here Phillip introduces Dogtanian. Note his changing hair colour!
Occasional schedule changes such as the annual budget meant that Children's BBC transferred from BBC1 to BBC2 for the afternoon. This meant that Phillip would have to present from a different continuity suite, which is why there is no set in the frame opposite. One of Phillip's running gags about BBC2 was that it was rather highbrow, hence the dinner jacket

A further change of location for Children's BBC was occasioned by routine maintenance taking place. When this was happening, a spare Presentation Control Room and associated continuity suite were brought into use. This was known as "sub control" (aka Network Control Three, or NC3) and differed from the normal facilities used. It was much smaller, was some distance down the corridor from the associated Presentation Control Room, and the equipment within was rather antiquated. It was during a stint in "sub control" that Phillip coined the phrase "broom cupboard" in reference to the cramped conditions. The name stuck and the original reference to the reduced confines of a temporary location were forgotten.

During Phillip's time on Children's BBC there were various features in addition to the usual programme news, trails and schedule information. These included Class of 86, for which viewers were invited to send in a photograph of their school class, and Downtown, which comprised photographs of viewers and their friends, snapped in town. The Tony Hatch song of the same name, sung by Petula Clark, was played whilst the pictures were shown, and a rebirth of interest in the track (the whole idea inspired by the high chart position of Tom Jones' sixties' hit It's Not Unusual) led to a re-release.

Guests often joined Phillip in the Broom Cupboard to talk about their programmes, the camera angle being widened to fit them in shot. Many guests appeared in the Broom Cupboard over the years, including Tom Jones, Bruce Forsyth and most of the cast of Neighbours (though not all at the same time!)
Here's Phillip presenting Children's BBC on BBC2, because BBC1 is showing coverage of the Chancellor's budget. As it's the BBC2 Broom Cupboard the familiar set is missing.
The original 'Broom Cupboard', from which Children's BBC was presented when the usual continuity suite was undergoing maintenance.

Guest Vince Purity (from You Should Be So Lucky) presents Phillip, 'for his services to showbiz', with the curtains which sat in front of his in-vision monitor for some months afterwards!Courtney Roper-Knight, who played Barnacle in The December Rose drops in for a chat.Think It Do It's Johnny Ball pops in for a natter.Here's Phillip with Aled Jones.
Here's Phillip introducing Grange Hill - with soft toy monkey Hogan on the chair. Hogan later mysteriously vanished in a shock Broom Cupboard theft!
1 April 1986, and it's Phillip's last day before his holiday. Debbie Flint joins him in cutting his birthday cake!

Phillip's producer was known as "Sid". In reality, Sid was a number of different people, since the job of producing Children's BBC fell on a rota basis to staff Assistant Producers in the Presentation department. Sid was never wholly seen in vision, viewers only ever catching a shoulder or an arm on screen.

A new face came to Children's BBC on 1 April 1986, to allow Phillip to take a holiday and to present the 1986 series of Take Two. She was a one-time contestant on Bruce Forsyth's Generation Game and her name was Debbie Flint.

Debbie hosted Children's BBC for eight weeks before Phillip returned. Her link features included Silly Snaps, where amusing photographs sent in by viewers were shown. Debbie also had a bizarre obsession with wigwams. She called her producer - also never seen in vision - "Aristotle".

For Summer 1986, the decision was taken to move Children's BBC to the mornings. The traditional BBC1 afternoon schedule was abandoned (though BBC2 ran dubbed drama Heidi and Hanna-Barbera's The Roman Holidays with standard out-of-vision, announcer-led presentation). The summer morning line up of programmes including repeats of Record Breakers, the acquired drama Silas, a summer version of Newsround presented from alongside the Radio 1 Roadshow, and the long running Play School.

A new presenter joined Children's BBC to link the morning schedule. His name was Andy Crane, a former DJ at Piccadilly Radio in Manchester. He spent almost four years with Children's BBC and in that time sported a variety of hairstyles, most of which can be seen on this website!
Summer 1986 - and here's a very bouncy Andy Crane, replete with early mullet. Unlike Andy, the mullet didn't survive after the end of the summer season.Debbie is astonished by the amount of post she's received.
Of five weeks of summer mornings, Andy hosted the first three and Debbie Flint returned to complete the final two. This was to be Debbie's last stint on Children's BBC. Afterwards she joined the new daytime series Open Air as a reporter. Nowadays she's become something of a legend in the shopping TV world.

The transfer of schools programmes to BBC2 led to the introduction of a daytime schedule on BBC1 in late 1986 and this signified further expansion for Children's BBC. Phillip would pop up before and after Play School to read out the cards of children celebrating birthdays. The birthdays were always presented from one of the two small Presentation studios, from a small set which included a giant cake.

Gordon The Gopher came to the Broom Cupboard at Christmas 1986, courtesy of Phillip's Auntie Diane. The squeaky puppet soon became a firm favourite with viewers, and the bane of executives at BBC Enterprises, as Phillip shrewdly retained the merchandising rights.

In later years Phillip was to become a West End star in Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. These musical ambitions can perhaps be traced back to the Broom Cupboard, for he (and Gordon) first mimed the Ulysses 31 opening theme and on two occasions also sang along with closing theme to The Mysterious Cities Of Gold. He had previously copied out the song words by hand and sent photocopies to all those who wrote in to request them.

Phillip and Gordon, 1987.Phillip and Gordon react to a repeat showing of Les Dennis' impersonation of him from the previous Saturday's edition of The Laughter Show.Phillip examines the contents of Gordon's toy box!
Phillip single-handedly broadcasts a myriad incorrect visuals while killing all sound on BBC1!
Phillip gracefully accepts his Golden Egg from Noel Edmonds.
It was the responsibility of the Children's BBC presenter to work microphones, cue sounds and select pictures, etc., using the mixer desk in the continuity suite. On one memorable occasion, oft since repeated on outtake shows, Phillip pressed the wrong button. He'd intended to start an audio cartridge of the Champion The Wonder Horse theme but instead broadcast the BBC1 symbol, something he was strictly forbidden to do. Things went from bad to worse as Phillip became hopelessly confused, with all manner of items being mistakenly broadcast. Phillip feared the sack but Pat Hubbard - Head of Presentation - found it hilarious, dubbing it one of the worst breakdowns he'd ever seen. So Phillip kept his job and as a bonus, won a Golden Egg from Noel Edmonds on the Late Late Breakfast Show in recognition.

Phillip's last day was a memorable one. He'd announced some weeks previously that he would be leaving, but in the first link of the final day he and Gordon were seen making their way to the office of the then BBC1 controller, Michael Grade. Phillip was sacked and Gordon invited to remake Gone With The Wind with Selina Scott!

The BBC switchboard was jammed with calls of protest, but the final link of the day, presented from the "doughnut" at Television Centre, revealed the spoof and that he and Gordon would in fact be staying and joining Sarah Greene that September, to host the new Saturday morning show, which was called Going Live!

Phillip made a final appearance on Children's BBC in a film made at his flat, for But First This, which was the name given to the summer holiday morning version of Children's BBC for summer 1987. In this, presenter Siobhan Maher interviewed him. The film was memorable in that it included cameo appearances from Phillip's supposed cleaner, who was also played by Siobhan, in something of a homage to Acorn Antiques' Mrs Overall - complete with Birmingham accent and lumpy tights!
Phillip's last Children's BBC link - he thanks everyone for their support.Phillip's 'cleaner' pops up during the But First This film made at his flat!The But First This logo.
But First This had a separate team of presenters, studio and production office. Those who presented during summer 1987 were Andy Crane (by this time also covering the afternoons following Phillip's departure), singer and actress Siobhan Maher, actress Tracy Brabin who went on to appear in Coronation Street as Tricia Armstrong, Super Channel presenter Simon Potter and and even a very youthful Anthea Turner! Each did a week or two.

As part of But First This, the team produced a spoof version of A-ha's pop video for the single Love Is Reason. Simon Potter, Andy Crane, Siobhan Maher and Anthea Turner all took part in the video, which was shown at the end of the run.

Phillip's departure left a void in the Broom Cupboard and to re-establish Children's BBC without him, it was relaunched with a new look in September 1987. Andy Crane, complete with new hairstyle, became the new regular afternoon presenter.

Out went the computer generated ident, replaced by an animated logo which was played in from videotape at the start of each afternoon. The ident cycled through the letters comprising the world "Children's", with animating lines forming and re-forming appropriate objects behind each letter - car for "C", horse for "H", and so on. This idea reprised, in an early off-screen branding exercise, on specially-printed stationery used for all letters sent out by the production office.

A specially constructed yellow set was installed in the continuity booth for the first time. This was yellow in colour with two-tone blue edging, and allowed for the display of many more viewer pictures than previously.
A further frame from the Children's BBC interpretation of A-Ha's video for the single Love Is Reason.
A third and final frame from the Children's BBC interpretation of A-Ha's video for the single Love Is Reason.
A frame from the September 1987 opening animation.
Another frame from the September 1987 opening animation.A second frame from the September 1987 opening animation.

Now On Two presenter Simon Potter.

Features and running gags continued to populate the link time. Andy was a compulsive nail-biter, and his efforts to stave off the habit were chronicled occasionally with the bringing out of the Nail File, which contained suggestions sent in by viewers.

In September 1987, Children's BBC expanded again into Sunday mornings on BBC2, with a further schedule including an "omnibus" of the two weekday editions of Blue Peter. Simon Potter returned to present the links, titled Now On Two.

There was an unexpected appearance for the Broom Cupboard on 16 October 1987 when, as the massive "great storm" had lashed the South East of England, Television Centre was left without power in all areas except Presentation, which was powered by a standby generator. Newsreader Nicholas Witchell was rushed into the yellow Broom Cupboard, hastily stripped of Children's BBC identity, to introduce a skeleton news service! Extracts of this broadcast have been added to YouTube in recent months - click the picture opposite to see them.

A new presenter joined the fold to look after the Christmas 1987 morning links, which originated in Presentation Studio A, from a set comprising 2D Christmas trees on casters! The presenter was Simon Parkin, a former DJ at Radio Tees in Middlesbrough. As the owner of probably the only ginger mullet ever to feature on British television, Simon's time at Children's BBC spanned four years and saw him present almost every variant during that time.
From the same link - the camera zooms out to reveal Mr Bronson standing menacingly alongside!It's Comic Relief night in February 1988 and Andy's all set for a dunking.Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie do the honours.
The first ever Comic Relief night was stagedin February 1988 and Children's BBC viewers were charged with voting for the celebrity they'd most like to see plunged into the horrific sounding "gunk tank". The voting arrangements were very informal (viewers just had to write in), and Andy gave regular updates on how the scores were looking. He was very vocal in encouraging viewers to vote for Grange Hill's Mr Bronson - only to find the erudite disciplinarian standing menacingly beside him immediately after one impassioned plea. Actor Michael Sheard stayed in character for the whole link, with Andy playing the nervous schoolboy.

The results were announced one afternoon in a taped insert, voiced by Simon Potter in the style of a Top Of The Pops style chart countdown. Beating off fierce competition from contemporaries such as Mark Curry and Phillip Schofield, and even Mrs Thatcher, the winner was none other than "the boy with the cast iron hair-do", Andy himself, who was duly plunged into the gunk on the night in question, by Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.

The producer of Children's BBC at this time was personnified by the very annoying Caretaker - always unseen save for his trademark broom. Opposite you can see Andy demonstrating the latest emergency measures supplied by viewers in the Ban The Broom campaign - a hacksaw!

Two further "stars" from this period in Broom Cupboard history were simply inanimate props - the Isetta car and the koala. Both had been sent in by viewers. The Isetta (bubble car) was a plastic toy which it seems proved very desirable to collectors, but had actually just been sent to Children's BBC as an alternative to the dustbin. The koala too found refuge in the Broom Cupboard and was soon joined by many more sent in by viewers.
Andy Crane at home in the yellow broom cupboard. Early 1988.

In this frame can be seen the Isetta car and the koala - two static props which attracted much attention!
Andy reacts to the Spanish version of the Willy Fog theme song.More of Andy singing!A frame from the titles to Around The World With Willy Fog.
Andy Crane appears on-air unexpectedly due to a breakdown with Willy Fog. Knock Knock presenter Steve Colman is in as a guest, ready for the next link.

The next Broom Cupboard set - complete with coat pegs, shelf and pipework!
A very popular series running on Children's BBC at this time was BRB Internacional's 26-episode Around The World With Willy Fog. BRB, based in Madrid, had produced the hugely successful Dogtanian series which the BBC had acquired and shown several times previously on Children's BBC. Willy Fog was based on the novel by Jules Verne and portrayed all the characters as animals. The theme tune was rather catchy and was sung by Andy on more than one occasion, who even trotted out the Spanish version one afternoon. Accompanied by postally distributed songsheets, the interest peaked with the mounting of National Willy Fog Day, on which Andy again sang the opening title music, only this time he did so from one of the Presentation studios, keyed afront of the titles and dressed up in turn as all of the characters.

Breakdowns during programmes on Children's BBC were infrequent but when they occurred were often entertaining. One episode of Willy Fog suddenly lost picture part way through, before "falling off air" completely, resulting in an unscheduled appearance by Andy Crane and guest Steve Colman (presenter of quiz game Knock Knock) for some hastily improvised filling.

In Spring 1988, the BBC1 and BBC2 Presentation Control Rooms were swapped. The new BBC1 continuity booth was much larger and consequently a new set was built. This was light brown in colour, and featured new additions such as a shelf, coat pegs and pipework to the rear!
But First This logo.A wide shot of the But First This junkyard set.Andy Crane (in But First This t-shirt), introduces The Pink Panther.
For Summer 1988, the morning schedule was re-introduced, again under the banner heading But First This. Links were again presented from one of the two Presentation studios at Television Centre, from a set resembling a junkyard. This time four presenters worked on the series concurrently. Joining Andy Crane were, once again, actress and singer Siobhan Maher and two new faces - Colin Heywood and Sue Devaney. Sue was an actress, perhaps best known to Children's BBC viewers as "Our Rita" in Jonny Briggs. Not much is known about Colin's background - though he did re-appear the following year with a new name and ten years shaved off his age, as part of short-lived pop act Yell. He was last seen - by Simon Parkin - driving down the M4.

The morning schedules for Summer 1988 included The Pink Panther, Silas (again!) and Play School. Various components of the regular daytime BBC1 schedule, such as the hourly news bulletins and the bizarre anthology series Five To Eleven, remained. These looked rather odd surrounded by But First This presentation - with the presenters doing their best to look sombre while linking into the news, often in fancy dress. It was rather surreal.

Theme days again populated this season of But First This - there was a day themed around chocolate, one around noses (Siobhan taking offence, because she was convinced everyone thought she had massive nostrils) and so on. There was also a canine counterpart for the four presenters, Woof The Dog, whose training was chronicled in various inserts. And Siobhan created a comic fashion expert by the name of Phidelma Gusset (with a silent "t"). Phidelma would pop up periodically to relay her thoughts on the latest fashion trends - the return of the ra-ra dress, for example!
But First This presenter Sue Devaney.

For the umpteenth time, it's Silas! With Ceefax subtitles on 888!

Simon chats to Andy about the upcoming Summer run of But First This.
One inch videotape rewinding at full throttle!
But First This also "discovered" a band from the North East of England called A Tribe Of Toffs. Their demo tape, sent to Children's BBC, included a song called John Kettley (Is A Weatherman) and this was featured on air, accompanied by a specially-shot video made by the production team.

While Andy was busy working on But First This, Simon Parkin returned to present the afternoon links, around a summer schedule including Gentle Ben, BBC Manchester's sport series Move It!, a We Are The Champions special with Ron Pickering and the 1979 German drama The Legend Of Tim Tyler, dubbed into English. Simon's features included namesakes - for example the two Paul Daniels seen here, more silly photos and his one-off, yet legendary, impression of Mickey Mouse.

A further notable breakdown took place not long after Simon began to present the afternoon links. He had been joined in the Broom Cupboard by Andy Crane who, for the duration of the closing link, talked about the upcoming series of But First This (while wearing an assortment of "BFT" branded baseball caps) and solicited contributions from viewers. As the presenters said goodbye, the next schedule item - a trail - rewound on air and the presenters were hastily restored to the screen, with Andy rather taking charge of the situation - despite being in as a guest!

Greater emphasis was being placed on the use of trailers throughout the television industry at this time. A notable exercise in the run up to the launch of the 1988 season of But First This was the suffixing of all trails with a further generic mini-trail for But First This, using part of the opening titles and theme music. This caused confusion on more than one occasion, with Simon being put back on air too early before the second part of trailer had finished!
The Broom Cupboard is restored to air and Andy leaps onto the controls!Simon gets ready to wander round to the other side of the Broom Cupboard, to show viewers how the phone flasher works!
Simon was caught off guard again one afternoon when, whilst on air for the closing link of the day, the telephone rang. As is common practice in broadcast studios, the telephone did not audibly ring, but Simon was alerted to it by a flashing light situated alongside the camera. Simon explained everything the following week and even gave viewers a brief tour of the other side of the Broom Cupboard, including a look at the flasher, and his monitor stack.

The Summer over, in September 1988, Andy Crane returned to presenting the afternoons. Over the next few months the Broom Cupboard grew more and more cluttered, with no effort being made to tidy up the accumulated junk. This gave a rather anarchic feel to the links, a feel that was added to when, in late 1988, a noisy young duck made his home in the Broom Cupboard.

Edd, a six-year old showbiz mallard with a green mohican and ambitions to become a Blue Peter pet, became a Broom Cupboard fixture for almost four years, forming something of a double act with both Andy Crane and successive presenter Andi Peters. Edd was huge - releasing his own record (Awesome Dood), and even featuring in his own programmes. He was actively merchandised by BBC Enterprises, appearing on mugs, badges and even in a computer game, and was adopted by the British Olympic team as their mascot for the 1990 Games.

Andy and Edd were joined in December 1988 by another long-running character. Wilson the Butler. As had become traditional for supporting human characters, Wilson's face was never seen (though we did see the back of his head during a spectacular fall during an outside broadcast from Peterborough in 1991.) Wilson was a butler at Buckingham Palace who arrived with The Queen (aka impressionist Jeanette Charles) to switch on the Broom Cupboard Christmas lights! Edd offered him a job, and he stayed until 1992. Edd and Wilson each disliked the other - Edd called Wilson "stinky", while Wilson thought Edd was "stupid" and often demonstrated his desire to "get the duck off!" Wilson could often be seen slapping Edd about the head, and attempted to do away with him many times!

The emergence of Edd and Wilson as a comic double act was to lead to the eventual disappearance of Bobby The Banana. Bobby had appeared in the Broom Cupboard earlier in 1989 and despite being largely inanimate had somehow captivated the audience, triggering a mailbag brimming with all kinds of soft toy fruit and vegetables - Chris The Carrot, Olive The Orange etc.

Andy, Edd and short-lived puppet Jock The Croc!
Here's Andy, Edd and Wilson. Edd's built a spaceship called the Starship Edderprise, as a tribute to crazy old Professor Wagstaff from the CFF feature, 'A Hitch In Time'.
The BFT presenters join Andy, Edd and Wilson in the Broom Cupboard. That's six people in one tiny space. Andy counts down the remaining seconds.Easter 1989 and here's Simon covering one afternoon for Andy. 'Now It's Daft' is a play on the title given to the morning links which Simon was presenting - Now It's Daffs.Wilson's having Edd read a contract of some sort - presumably his latest attempt to do away with the duck!Andy shows a letter from Mrs D Duck - Edd's mum - explaining his absence. Andy reckons the writing looks just like Edd's...

A running feature which appeared around this time, at the end of each afternoon, was The Credits. This was simply a paper till-roll with various credits written on in marker, which would be pulled across the screen by Andy!

Construction works of some sort appeared to be taking place in the Broom Cupboard towards the end of 1988 and on their completion, a new addition was revealed - a window. This was simply a wooden frame into which viewers' pictures (four sides of A4 stuck together would produce paper in the desired size) could be put, thus creating a different view each week.

Edd was becoming particularly popular and was the subject of an occasional series of taped inserts - Duck Dares. For each of these, Edd took up a viewer-suggested challenge.

Summer morning links appeared again in 1989, under the abbreviated title of BFT. Simon Parkin was joined by two new presenters - 19-year old Andi Peters, who had previously presented Freetime on Children's ITV and actually joined Children's BBC for the half term holiday morning links a couple of months previously, and a former BBC production assistant called Stephanie Lowe, who is now Mrs Phillip Schofield!

Links were presented from the inside of an orbiting satellite - really another set in the small Presentation studio - and "The BFT Base Station", which was an outside set on the roof.

In the summer of 1989, the BBC1 Presentation Control Room was re-equipped for NICAM digital stereo and during this time, Children's BBC decamped to "sub control", down the corridor, once more. The new location was referred to on screen as "The Boiler Room" - a fitting term giving the ageing equipment in use in there. Unusually the camera angle used differed - the presenter sat not behind the desk, but stood in front of the monitor stack.
Andi Peters presents an afternoon, summer 1989. Edd's wearing the gold lamé normally draped over the Mysterious Cities Of Gold tribute statuette, Venus. Moments later Venus appears, wearing one of Edd's jumpers.There's a breakdown during Newsround. Andy accuses Wilson of being responsible, as well as for doing away with Edd, who'd mysteriously vanished!
The rewiring complete, Children's BBC was back in the usual Broom Cupboard in September 1989. A new ident was unveiled to accompany the new autumn schedule. This was electronic, an Acorn Archimedes computer being used to generate the animation live each day. The opening animation was a five second form up of the Children's BBC logo, accompanied by either a sting of the same length, or same followed by a musical bed which was played underneath the opening link. Notably the ident was also used, for the first time, at the end of each section of Children's BBC, where it was played in reverse.

The move back to the usual Broom Cupboard revealed a new set. Gone were the brown walls, coat pegs and shelf, replaced by brickwork (or at least, wallpaper printed to give a brickwork impression.) The old window remained. Viewer's pictures were added to the Broom Cupboard walls much more infrequently over the next few months.

The Great Children's BBC Memorabilia Giveaway took place in September 1989. This was a write-in competition in which viewers had to correctly guess the number of programmes featured in a "new season" trail which had been run in the week or so preceeding the launch of the new look. Those with the right answer were picked at random to receive miscellaneous items which were no longer needed, such as Edd's old jumpers, the old Children's BBC sign from the wall, and Wilson's beloved picture of Mrs Mangel from Neighbours.

For Christmas, a morning schedule was broadcast, presented by Andi Peters and Lisa Jones, a former Butlins redcoat. These links came from the satellite set which had been used over the Summer. And a short pantomime was also produced, broadcast one afternoon. The highlight of this was Andi Peters dressed as a fairy, complete with tutu!

There was a change in the afternoon line-up from Christmas 1989. Andi Peters began to present Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, reducing Andy Crane's appearances to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This allowed Andy to accommodate his occasional presenting of Top Of The Pops (recorded at Elstree on Tuesdays), and the audience to get used to his eventual successor - for only a few weeks later Andy announced, on Going Live!, that he was leaving Children's BBC.

A frame from the Christmas 1989 morning links, with Andi Peters and Lisa Jones.
Andy and Edd do their till-roll credits for one final time during Andy's last link.Wilson returns specially for Andy's last day, much to Edd's chagrin!Andy reveals he is leaving Children's BBC on Going Live! in February 1990.
He said 'Andi Peters will be here at ten to four on Monday - until then... there's a very large cake! I love you - bye bye!
Andi takes over the following Monday.
Here's Andi presenting from the next set which went into the Broom Cupboard.
Andy's last afternoon, Friday 20 April 1990, saw Wilson return from holiday and the old threesome were reunited once more. As the programmes of the afternoon (including quiz Eyespy with Christopher Rowe, and Australian sitcom Round The Twist), played out, the Broom Cupboard was slowly stripped of pictures. In the last link of the day Andy was joined by Andi Peters, as well as Roger Finn and Terry Baddoo from Newsround, who all came to say goodbye. Andy and Edd reprised their low-budget till-roll credits, acknowledging many of the stars of Children's BBC from the last two and a half years, before Andy said goodbye - only to find out he'd been given a false count and had airtime remaining. Children's BBC's two production secretaries then appeared with a huge cake which Andy hid behind after saying an emotional goodbye. Aww!

The following Monday saw Andi Peters take over the afternoons full time. He was very much on his own - for both Edd and Wilson were absent for the next few weeks.

A new set was soon unveiled, which was blue in colour and featured an enlarged window in which more viewer's pictures could be displayed.

An Australia Day augmented the transmission of Round The Twist one Friday afternoon, with none other than Kylie Minogue dropping in to share her thoughts with Andi and a cork hat-wearing Edd.

Andi continued the tradition of singing along to the theme songs of programmes, first with Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in June 1990. Other animated series to get this treatment in later times were The Chipmunks (more on this later) and the 13-part series, Bucky O'Hare.
Andi concentrates on singing the theme song to Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles.Here's Andi with Edd - as Duck Tracy. The second duck is Quackless Baloney, who was mute!
Edd and Wilson eventually returned to the Broom Cupboard. Edd particularly liked the theatrical release Dick Tracy, starring Warren Beatty and Madonna, and regularly appeared in tribute, wearing a yellow raincoat and hat, as Duck Tracy. In the movie, Madonna's character was called Breathless Mahoney and so in The Broom Cupboard, one of Edd's feathered friends appeared - as the mute Quackless Baloney!

The phenomenon of corn - or crop - circles was at its peak in the summer of 1990, with Newsround reporting on various scientific experiments to prove or disprove their origin. Coincidentally, the mysterious Quack Circles started to appear in the Broom Cupboard one afternoon. These were simply yellow paper circles with "quack" written on them - and they appeared in greater number with each successive link. Andi eventually realised that Edd was behind them - but not before they had appeared on his face and even on the BBC1 symbol before Neighbours!

Summer 1990 saw the return of BFT and the summer morning schedule. The setting this time was a submarine, the interior set being builtin Presentation A, complete with staircase and portholes, while the exterior set, on the roof once more, depicted the top of the BFT sub. Simon Parkin fronted this season of BFT along with two new recruits. They were Philippa Forrester, a university student who stayed with Children's BBC well beyond this initial tenure, and Claudia Simon. The opening titles featured a paper maché submarine making its way through an underwater world, to a theme tune specially composed by Stock Aitken and Waterman!

BFT 1990 included a phone-in game called Wizz Vid. At 9am, in the opening link, contestants would be invited to call in to play. And following the first programme, the animated epic Belle and Sebastian, a caller would be picked to play the game. The idea was to identify a pop video, which was distorted and obscured, with the contestant having to do so within a time limit, ably assisted by clues from the presenters.

In addition to music show The O Zone, which had a second run during BFT 1990, a second programme was produced by the Children's BBC unit for the summer morning schedule. This was TNT, presented by Andi Peters, the title reflecting the transmission days of Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was a short programme which looked at developments in the world of television, film and showbusiness.

Edd feigns shock as more of his Quack Circles appear!
A Quack Circle appears over the BBC1 symbol before Neighbours! Sacrilege!
The breakdown slide for the 1990 season of BFT / But First This.

Andi introducing programmes in the Broom Cupboard, September 1990.
Here's a frame from Children's BBC TWO on a Sunday morning. Simon's on the phone to a contestant for The 9.25 Express - but they're engaged!
The new autumn season of afternoon programmes was heralded as New Progs On The Box in a long-form trail cut to the New Kids On The Block hit, The Right Stuff. In addition to clips of programmes from the new schedule, the trailer included specially shot scenes featuring Andi, Edd and Wilson. These included London's Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus where the Children's BBC logo appeared on one of the famous electronic advertising hoardings.

Children's BBC TWO returned in autumn 1990 with a further season introduced by Andi and Simon. Programmes once again included an omnibus edition of the previous week's two editions of Blue Peter and the acclaimed culture series, Boxpops. In addition to features and guests populating the links, a phone-in game, The 9.25 Express was played each Sunday. In this two callers competed against each other for the chance to win prizes, the eventual winner being shown a selection of prizes in quick succession and having to shout "stop" on the one they wanted.

Inclement weather almost put paid to Children's BBC TWO's planned outside broadcast from the Clothes Show Live exhibition, at Birmingham's NEC, one Sunday morning towards the end of 1990. Heavy snow had fallen, effectively cutting off the venue from the outside world. But with assistance from the RAF, presenters Andi Peters and Philippa Forrester made it to Birmingham and the outside broadcast made it to air - but not before Simon Parkin had been rushed into the BBC2 Broom Cupboard, bedecked with a random selection of clothes, as a contingency.

At Christmas 1990, the holiday morning schedule was again linked by Children's BBC, And a second CBBC pantomine, titled Edd's Christmas Rap was broadcast one afternoon. Amazingly this featured Andy Crane, brought back after eight months, as the Ghost Of Christmas Past!
A frame from the end of the Children's BBC TWO titles.Simon is rushed into the BBC2 Broom Cupboard, complete with part of the usual set and a random selection of clothes, as a precautionary measure given the inclement weather affecting the planned Clothes Show Live OB!It's the switching on of the Broom Cupboard Christmas lights!Rachel Friend (Bronwyn Davies in Neighbours) pops in for a chat with Edd.
Christmas 1990 saw a number of members of the Neighbours cast drop into the Broom Cupboard - ostensibly to add to Edd's collection of baubles - but usually to plug their UK pantomimes!

Philippa Forrester had stayed with Children's BBC and presented short bursts of Children's BBC in the mornings as her studies permitted. She also provided holiday cover for the afternoons, becoming the first female presenter to do so since Debbie Flint.

Andi Peters had settled in nicely to the job of linking the afternoons and his chemistry with both Edd and Wilson was priceless, often making for hugely entertaining links. Andi's on-air panics were even funnier, usually during a technical mishap or breakdown.

The classics include Andi not opening his microphones, and remaining mute for a whole link (although in fairness, most Broom Cupboard presenters did this at least once); Andi using the "wipe" effect on the vision mixer to intentionally obscure his new haircut, but forgetting to tell his technical crew in the gallery next door who went into meltdown when they saw the on air effect; and Andi's absolute hysterics - to the point of barely being able to speak - when the planned use of visual effects in one link, which set up a vote on whether he should continue to sing the theme from The Chipmunks, went disastrously wrong.
And here's Kristian Schmid (Neighbours' Todd Landers) too.

Just prior to July 1991's new set the Broom Cupboard received this foul decor - courtesy of Edd and Wilson!

A frame from the BFT opening titles.
Philippa and Esther - in period dress - close the August Bank Holiday morning of BFT with traditional credits!
In July 1991 a new set was installed in the Broom Cupboard. This was predominantly yellow in colour, with purple and blue flashes. The original intention was to augment the design with neon signage but this took some while longer to arrive.

Summer 1991's morning links were introduced by Simon Parkin, Philippa Forrester and a new presenter, Esther McVey. BFT was used once more as a title, with the links being presented from Presentation A/B, from a set designed to look like a 1950s American diner. The rooftop at Television Centre was also used occasionally.

BFT 1991 featured 3D computer animated opening titles, and a character named "Jet" by viewers during a write-in competition staged over the run. As in 1990, a promotional t-shirt was produced as a competition prize offered on various occasions. There was also a heat-sensitive colour change mug!

The phone-in game for this season was called Alphabet Attack. Like the Children's BBC opening and closing animation, this was powered by an Acorn Archimedes computer. Players would be given a subject, and would then be asked to name something associated with said topic beginning with a letter generated by the computer. The operator of the game had control over letters selected, and on occasions when a phone line failed and a caller played against a presenter instead, the latter would be given hugely difficult letters - English town names beginning with X, for example.

Theme days again populated the morning links, with the late August Bank Holiday being given over to a celebration of the life and times of the Lime Grove studios in Shepherd's Bush, which had just closed. All three presenters appeared in period dress and the links were broadcast in black and white!

Various short films starring Edd and Wilson were also broadcast during BFT 1991. These were handily repackaged for Edd's first and only sell through video which hit the shops before Christmas.

Edd The Duck's Silent Movie, a short film produced by the Children's BBC unit and starring Edd, Wilson, Andi, Simon and Philippa was also broadcast on August Bank Holiday 1991.
Edd presents Wilson with 'another joke bomb' at the end of his Silent Movie.A frame from September 1991's new ident for Children's BBC.The September 1991 ident, fully resolved.z
A new animated ident appeared in September 1991. This was computer-animated and was played in from recordable laserdisc, which was the format then being used to play the BBC1 and BBC2 symbols. The original version of the music used on the ident was not particularly distinctive and was replaced by a much more upbeat suite of music in April 1992. Some of the cuts of the new music included spoken lyrics, including "Tell that aardvark it's a wrap!" and "Essential viewing coming up". The new ident was augmented by the unveiling of new neon signage in the Broom Cupboard and on the set used for the morning birthdays links.

The autumn and winter season of Sunday morning children's programmes on BBC2 was given a new title, BFT2. Links were presented by Simon Parkin and Philippa Forrester, joined occasionally by Andi Peters. The diner set was re-used, following a small revamp. Simon Parkin left Children's BBC after the final edition of BFT2, populated by celebrity American lookalikes, in February 1992. Simon was to become GMTV's main children's presenter at launch and now looks after the weather for ITV's Thames Valley regional service.

A new presenter joined Children's BBC in April 1992 - Toby Anstis. Toby was a former ballet dancer who joined Philippa Forrester for the holiday morning links broadcast at Easter. These had a new and rather long-winded title - Children's BBC But First This. The two small Presentation studios were again used, with the studio set featuring a city skyline and a dot matrix sign.

A new phone-in game appeared at Easter 1992 and remained a fixture for quite some time afterwards. It was devised and coded by BBC Special Projects and was called Maggot Moments. The star of the game, Mervyn the Maggot, was guided around a maze by callers shouting directions. The game ended when time ran out or when a marauding crow caught up with Mervyn, and prizes were awarded according to the number of apples munched during the game.

The first part of this history of the Broom Cupboard ends at September 1992, as the autumn season kicked off with more new series than ever before. In celebration a package of trailers, were produced, featuring an animated Andi and Edd.
The BFT2 logo, from the end of the opening titles.

A frame from the new season autumn 1992 trailer.

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