Originally called For The Children, Watch With Mother was an umbrella title for a variety of children's programmes that began in 1950 and ran until 1980 in a midweek lunchtime slot on BBC television. The new title was to compliment the radio version Listen With Mother, for which a generation of children would hang on the words "Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin."
It was the brainwave of Freda Lingstrom, head of children's television at the BBC, and was the first coherently planned scheduling especially for small children, with a mix of educational and entertainment programmes for each day. Lingstrom also came up with the ideas for most of the programmes: Muffin the Mule, Andy Pandy, Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, Rag, Tag and Bobtail, Picture Book and The Woodentops. In the latter part of the 1960s additions to Watch With Mother came in the form of Tales From The Riverbank, Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley, The Herbs, Mary Mungo and Midge, and Pogles Wood. Later still came the brilliant Mr Benn, and lovely, lovely Bagpuss.
When, in 1987, the BBC put together a compilation of episodes from as early as 1952 up to 1963, it became a best selling video.
These programmes enjoy near-legendary status. They were watched by generations of kids, and are part of the collective memory of most of the adult British population over the age of 24.