BLE 2012: Fremantle Media celebrates 40 years of Rainbow

By Aaron Lee

October 17th 2012 at 10:09AM
BLE 2012: Fremantle Media celebrates 40 years of Rainbow

Zippy the MC and 39 other nuggets of trivia.

Cult children’s TV show Rainbow is 40 years old, and Fremantle Media is marking the occasion at its BLE stand.

Iconic children’s character Bungle join Pindy O’Brien, VP of UK licensing and retail at Fremantle Media, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the cult classic, which first aired on October 16th, 1972.

40 bits of Rainbow trivia:
1. Rainbow first aired on ITV on 16 October 16th, 1972 and ran for 20 years on ITV
2. The series was set in Rainbow House and in each episode the presenter would attempt to keep the peace between puppets Bungle, Zippy and George.
3. Rainbow was produced by Thames TV and filmed at Teddington Studios and ran for 15 series
4. In total 1,071 episodes were produced – over 260 hours or action
5. Did you know – George is only meant to be 7 years old, Zippy, 8 years old and Bungle, a wise 12 years old?
6. Zippy was well known for saying FANTASTICOLA!” and “OH BUNGLE BONCE”
7. George loved saying “OH GOODY!!” and most famously “OH DEAR, YOU ARE NAUGHTY”
8. The original voices for Zippy and George - Roy Skelton & Peter Hawkins – were better known for voicing the Daleks in Doctor Who.
9. The first presenter of Rainbow was David Cook but he was later replaced by Geoffrey Hayes
10. The Rainbow characters continue to support The Rainbow Trust, a charity that supports families with terminally ill children
11. Zippy’s head is actually based on the shape of a rugby ball!
12. Zippy’s mouth is a zip so that when he becomes too bossy or irritating he could be zipped shut to prevent him from continuing: on at least one occasion he unzipped himself, though he appears unable to do so on other occasions.
13. Zippo was Zippy's cousin almost identical in appearance to Zippy, but slightly brighter in colour. Zippo was originally portrayed as an eloquent Frenchman, but in a later episode he was an American rapper with loud, flashy clothing
14. The episode Naughty Zippy has had nearly 1.5million hits on YouTube
15. Nearly 70 per cent of adults aged 45+ in the UK watched Rainbow on television
16. 91 per cent of 25 to 44-year-olds are aware of Rainbow1
17. Zippy’s favourite food is sausages
18. For Comic Relief 2012, Bungle appeared in a short remake of Jaws. Playing a sailor confronted by a shark, Bungle shouts his catchphrase: “OH CRUMBS”. It has received over 56k hits on YouTube to date.
19. George was originally made by his puppeteer’s mother as a gift on St George’s Day. He has since had three puppeteers in his lifetime.
20. Bungle loves to dance and admitted in a One Show interview that he loves Strictly Come Dancing
21. What really happened at the end of the Rainbow? You can find out in Zippy, George and Bungle’s fascinating autobiography ‘Rainbow Unzipped’.
22. The famous theme song was written by Hugh Portnow, Hugh Fraser and Tim Thomas and has since been remixed several times into dance floor hits.
23. In an interview Roy Skelton was asked if Zippy ever wanted to punch Bungle. He answered “…Yes!”
24. George had a cousin called Georgina; she was a spitting image of George but had longer eyelashes and floppy hat
25. The character of Auntie was played by numerous actresses; however no one really knows to whom she was related
26. An urban myth suggests that one actor playing Bungle was fired after swearing at a child who had deliberately stood on his foot during a live show
27. MC Zippy and DJ George took to the road this summer with Rainbow Live Superstar performing at  Pontins for over 8,000 Rainbow fans
28. George and Zippy remain in the spotlight today with appearances on the Weakest Link, The One Show, Children In Need, Red Nose Day, The Xtra Factor and Celebrity Juice and many, many more!
29. Bungle’s acting career continues to take off with guest appearances in 'Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps,’ and ‘Bo Selecta A Bear’s Tail.’
30. Zippy, Bungle and George can be found adorning masks, t-shirts, bags and nightwear.
31. Over 315K Rainbow soft toys from Whitehouse Leisure have been sold in 2008 & 2009 alone!
32. In the UK over 50,000 Rainbow T-shirts have been sold
33. Singing trio Rod, Jane and Freddy were best known for their musical appearances in Rainbow but also had a show of their own.  With several different line-ups, throughout their career in children’s television they have written and produced 10 albums
34. Matthew Corbett from the The Sooty Show was a regular on Rainbow as part of the singing trio Rod, Jane and Freddy.
35. The original ‘stars’ were Sunshine and Moonie but they were phased out in 1973 to make more room for George and Bungle.
36. Rainbow was revived in 1994 by a company called Tetra Films.  The line-up included a blue rabbit with a Liverpudlian accent called Cleo.
37. Rainbow was voted the 7th greatest kids show of all time in an onscreen television poll on Channel 4.
38. Rainbow won the Society of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Children's Programme in 1975.
39. Smiffy’s range of Rainbow adult fancy dress costumes took the prize for Best Dress-Up or Partyware Range at this year’s  Licensing Awards
40. In 2006 Rainbow presenter Geoffrey Hayes and Bungle appeared in the all-star video for Peter Kay’s number 1 single Is This The Way To Amarillo?”

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