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Bill the Minder

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  • Bill the Minder

    Does anyone remember when Children's ITV had a five minute cartoon series stripped across the week just after the ten minute repeat f what was on at midday, and just before the mainstream CITV programmes? Think of the Telebugs; Thomas the Tank Engine; Victor and Maria, etc.

    Not to be confused with the 9.00 pm series Minder starring George Cole and Dennis Waterman, in around the spring or summer of 1986, there was a series called Bill the Minder (which I thought was called Bill the "Miner", rather than "Minder" thanks to a false memory) - I remember very little about the series apart from the fact that it was an animated five minute series on at 4.10 pm Monday to Fridays. Episodes are on YouTube right now so I watched a couple of them in order to jog my memory.

    I believed that it was a very northern-feel "Hovis advert" animation series, and was made by an independent company for Central - for some reason I remember it on Fridays most of all, probably before Emu's World, although it was stripped across the week in the same slot. The opening and closing titles had a very Edwardian to 1920s font and credits look to them, which felt very unusual for a 1986 children's television series - it could have been a history-themed series, showing youngsters "this is what things were like back then".

    The theme tune was a familiar piece of classical music that I just cannot put my finger on its title and its composer (Dvorak, perhaps?) Around the same time, the Saturday afternoon Wrestling on ITV (divorced the previous the year from the then defunct World of Sport, although Kent "Have a Good Week, Till Next Week" Walton was still doing commentary on it), also used the same piece of classical music when used at the venues where the wrestling took place, and was perhaps used when Big Daddy and Haystacks made their entrances. I certainly found it weird that they were using the same music as the same time as BIM was on, even though it was a well-known piece of classical music to any Radio 3 regular back then.

    Does anyone remember the series, and also know the name of the theme and composer? - I know that I might have a bit more luck with the former...
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  • #2
    Re: Bill the Minder

    I haven't seen the cartoon but it would be based on the old Children's book Bill The Minder. The book had art by William Heath-Robinson. I suppose that would've been published in Edwardian times, just before WWI.

    I'd imagine some of those eccentric Heath-Robinson devices might have featured in the cartoons?

    There should be a DVD of the 'best of' Big Daddy Crabtree vs. Giant Haystacks. I'd be curious to see them. I know we had Andre The Giant on our tv sometimes, and midegts, ladies and tag-teams. My Grandfather used to watch it each week and actually get upset if the referee had looked away when someone did something crooked... as did the audiences there at the venues.
    My virtual jigsaws: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/beccabear67/Original-photo-puzzles

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    • #3
      Re: Bill the Minder

      I found this page of a website about the tv cartoons:

      http://www.toonhound.com/billminder.htm
      My virtual jigsaws: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/beccabear67/Original-photo-puzzles

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      • #4
        Re: Bill the Minder

        I remember the theme being classical tune played by a brass band that fitted the feel of the show.

        Fittingly for a Heath-Robinson creation Bill seemed to make a gadget to solve a problem in each episode.
        The Trickster On The Roof

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        • #5
          Re: Bill the Minder

          This is the thing - I am not too aware of the book it is written on, otherwise I would have started this thread in the Books and Comics section. I am only aware of the TV series.

          The same with Thomas the Tank Engine - when the TV series was on Children's ITV, I only associated it with a TV programme rather than the Rev Awdry's books.
          Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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          • #6
            Re: Bill the Minder

            Originally posted by beccabear67 View Post
            I haven't seen the cartoon but it would be based on the old Children's book Bill The Minder. The book had art by William Heath-Robinson. I suppose that would've been published in Edwardian times, just before WWI.
            That would explain it - I think that the main problem was that the book in comparison to the TV series didn't have as much publicity in the 1980s as, let's say, the Mr Men, Postman Pat, Thomas the Tank Engine, etc. I have to admit that I had never seen the book version at my school or in the children's corner at my local library - I always thought of it as a TV series.
            Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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            • #7
              Re: Bill the Minder

              I'm sure the same can happen in terms of children first seeing an Alice or Winnie The Pooh cartoons before the books, especially in America as the first Alice cartoons were before sound and made by a very young Walt Disney (who later did an Alice In Wonderland feature and Winnie The Pooh). I think I saw Rupert the Bear on tv with puppets before I saw one of the Christmas gift books, I wouldn't have known which came first at that age.
              My virtual jigsaws: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/beccabear67/Original-photo-puzzles

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              • #8
                Re: Bill the Minder

                The thing about Rupert "the" Bear (who incidentally has done a "Captain Sir Tom Moore" and has turned 100 in 2020) was that not only did Rupert appeared in annuals, but he also appears in the Daily Express in a story and illustration strip for a century now - anyone who has read the Express for years would have certainly associated the character with appearing in that newspaper.

                Disney cartoon strips have been heavily syndicated in Great Britain just like anywhere else - Mickey Mouse used to appear in the Sunday Mirror magazine, while Donald Duck appeared in the News of the World's Sunday magazine section Funday (also inspired The Funday Times as well).
                Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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