Button Moon was a children’s television programme by Thames Television
, which was aired between 1981 and 1987. Playboard Puppets, the shows creators, made nine series and ninety-one episodes before it was axed in 1987. The original Button Moon was a theatre show called “Mr Spoon on Button Moon”, it ran for several years, before its sequel took over in 1984, it was charmingly entitled “The Grotty Rotters of Button Moon”.
The show was written by Ian Allen, a partner in the animation
company Playboard Puppets. The company were leaders in their field, with Allen and his partner John Thirtle producing puppets for shows from “Top of the Pops
” to “Playdays
”. They were also the first company of their kind to receive an annual grant from the Arts Council of Great Britain
. After Button Moon the company was responsible for such wonders as Dutch kiddies show, “Medical Centre Mice”*, sadly John Thirtle died in the nineties.
Button Moon used a very basic set, the black backdrop of “Blanket Sky” emphasised the bright yellow button of the title. Mr and Mrs Spoon, and their daughter Tina Teaspoon would jet off in their bean can space ship each episode to land on Button Moon, have an adventure and get home in time for tea
. Always the most important part of any English adventure story is being home in time for tea and Button Moon was no exception, despite the adventurers being largely made of cutlery. Other characters included Egbert the ice-cream
vendor, Rag Doll, the Taps and the Bottles, appropriately enough all the characters and sets were made of ordinary household implements in bright primary colors
. The Spoons lived in a house shaped box, which, in case of doubt, was clearly labelled “Box”. Episodes included the typical “Hare and the Tortoise
” scenario, the classic “Rag Doll has a Cold” and the bizarre, “Snuffy and the Bone”.
This series was wonderfully surreal, involving people almost as big as the worlds they walked on, with spoons for arms, a telescope in their house/box and a recurring ice cream van which never seemed to sell any ice cream. Even more bizarrely, the theme tune was sung by Dr Who
star Peter Dickinson
and his wife Sandra Dickinson (Trillion in “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
”), the theme ran,
"We're off to Button Moon,
We've followed Mr Spoon,
And complimented perfectly the weird charm of the programme, a classic which spawned collectable toys, and more recently kitsch
t-shirts, posters and even desktop backgrounds. As all things retro go, this is one of the best, for kiddies and grown ups.
*It probably sounds much more dramatic in Dutch :P
Thankyou to the nice people at www.80scartoons.8k.net for their kitsch little site.