Children's Favourites

Derek McCulloch ("Uncle Mac)"
Derek McCulloch ("Uncle Mac")

From 1954, for generations of children, Saturday morning was one of the great highlights of the week. Although the weekday "Children's Hour" provided rich entertainment for those between the ages of potty and puberty, the selection of record requests was something very special: you might even hear your name being read out! Sheer bliss!!! The opening words "Hello Children Everywhere!" and the string orchestra signature tune of 'Puffing Billy', became symbols of the Fifties every bit as evocative as Dan Dare, Meccano and grey flannel shorts.

Larry the Lamb and Norman and Henry Bones the Boy Detectives, were all very well in their way, but to have your spine chilled by the evil Troll in The Three Billy Goats Gruff or listen to The Runaway Train blowing its erratic way down the track - now that was a different thing entirely.

Why, you could even bear sitting through those ghastly, relentlessly cheerful Austrian children fal-da-reeing their way through The Happy Wanderer. Or "dear" little Christopher Robin kneeling down at the foot of his bed in order to say his prayers for the keenly anticipated pleasures of The Three little Fishes and Arthur Askey's Bee Song.

Derek McCulloch (Uncle Mac) was the presenter of choice. One of the old school BBC men, he was rather like a favourite elderly relation, firm but friendly; and a certain decorum was expected.

Click Here! Children's Favourites introduction (around 1958)

As spotty adolescents caused hormones to run riot and began to turn a young man's fancy to pursuits rather more visceral than logarithm tables or the county cricket averages, the tenor of the programme changed as well. While Nellie the Elephant continued to trundle back to the jungle, new presenters had taken over and faint stirrings of the embryonic "teenage revolution" could be detected as ultra-modernists like The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers began to invade the territory previously occupied by Sir Hamilton Harty and the Manchester Children's Choir. Requests for Terry Scott singing My Brother or any other old favourites were usually from conservative parents who disapproved of the cacophonous, electric-guitar-based sound that their easily deluded offspring liked to refer to as music.

When Cliff and Elvis started to replace teddy bear's picnics and runaway trains in the affections of the audience, the programme couldn't continue to be safe and square and it died with the Light Programme in 1967.

Here is a list of some of the recordings which were most popularly requested by the young listeners:

The Laughing Policeman : Charles Penrose (lyrics)
Twenty Tiny Fingers : Alma Cogan (lyrics)
Little Red Monkey : Rosemary Clooney (lyrics)
Buttons and Bows : Dinah Shore (lyrics)
Pretty Little Black Eyed Susie : Guy Mitchell (lyrics)
Run, Rabbit, Run : Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen (lyrics)
The Runaway Train : Vernon Dalhart (lyrics)
The Animals Went In Two-by-Two : (lyrics)
When you come to the end of a lollipop : Max Bygraves
Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzellen Bogen by the sea : Max Bygraves (lyrics)
Swedish Rhapsody : Mantovani and his Orchestra
Nellie the Elephant : Mandy Miller (lyrics)
Poppa Piccolino : Petula Clark (lyrics)
I tawt I saw a puddy tat : Mel Blanc (lyrics)
The Bee Song : Arthur Askey (lyrics)
The Big Rock Candy Mountain : Burl Ives (lyrics)
How much is that doggy in the window : Patti Page (lyrics)
Hey Little Hen : Harry Roy
Bimbo : Suzi Miller (lyrics)
The yellow rose of Texas : Stan Freburg (lyrics)
Inch Worm : Danny Kaye (lyrics)
The King's New Clothes : Danny Kaye (lyrics)
The Three Billy Goats Gruff : Frank Luther (lyrics) (listen)
The Ugly Duckling : Danny Kaye (lyrics)
The Three Little Fishes : Frankie Howerd (lyrics)
The Hippopotamus Song : Flanders and Swann (lyrics)
Little White Duck : Danny Kaye (lyrics)
A Four Legged Friend : Roy Rogers (lyrics)
The Deadwood Stage : Doris Day (lyrics)
The Black Hills of Dakota : Doris Day (lyrics)
Tubby the Tuba : Danny Kaye (lyrics)
Part 2
Sparky's Magic Piano : Henry Blair (link)
Mairzy doats and dozy doats : Johnny Dennis
My Old Man's a Dustman : Lonnie Donegan (lyrics)
Old Macdonald had a Farm (lyrics)
There's a Hole in my Bucket!, Dear Liza : Harry Belafonte (lyrics)
The Owl and The Pussycat : Elton Hayes (lyrics)
Thumbelina : Danny Kaye (lyrics)
Little White Bull : Tommy Steele (lyrics)
She'll be Coming Round the Mountain, When she Comes : ? (lyrics)
Me and My Teddy Bear : Rosemary Clooney (lyrics)
Little boy fishing : Shirley Abicair (lyrics)
The Teddy Bear's Picnic : Henry Hall (lyrics)
I'm a Pink Toothbrush, you're a Blue Toothbrush : Max Bygraves (lyrics)
My Brother : Terry Scott (lyrics)
All I want for Christmas, is my Two Front Teeth : Spike Jones City Slickers (lyrics)
A Windmill in Old Amsterdam : Ronnie Hilton (lyrics)
Carbon the Copy Cat : Tex Ritter
Puff, The Magic Dragon : Peter, Paul and Mary (lyrics)
Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen : Danny Kaye (lyrics)
Buffalo Billy (Cowboys and Indians) : Roy Rogers
The Ballad of Davy Crockett : Fess Parker (lyrics)
Beep Beep (The Bubble Car Song) : The Playmates (lyrics)
Ragtime Cowboy Joe :The Chipmunks (lyrics)
Barney the Bashful Bullfrog : Gene Autry (lyrics)
This Ole House : Rosemary Clooney (lyrics)
Close the Door : Stargazers (lyrics)
Mommy, Gimme a Drinka Water : Danny Kaye (lyrics)
Christmas Alphabet : The McGuire Sisters (lyrics)
The Children's Marching Song (Nick Nack Paddy Whack) : Mitch Miller and His Orchestra (lyrics)
The Happy Wanderer : The Obenkirchen Children's Choir (lyrics)
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf : Henry Hall and his Orchestra (lyrics)
Michael Row the Boat Ashore : The Highwaymen (lyrics)
Three Wheels on My Wagon : The New Christy Minstrels (lyrics)
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly : Burl Ives (lyrics)
The Whistling Gipsy Rover : Elton Hayes (lyrics)
The Blue-Tail Fly (Jimmy Crack Corn) : Burl Ives (lyrics)
In the Middle of the House : Alma Cogan (lyrics)
Que Sera, Sera : Doris Day (lyrics)
The Mama Doll Song : Patti Page (lyrics)
Kitty in a Basket : Diana Decker (lyrics)
They're Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace : Ann Stephens (lyrics,YouTube)
Pickin' a Chicken : Eve Boswell (lyrics)
I am a Mole and I live in a Hole : The Southlanders (lyrics)
Messing About on the River : Josh McCrae
Troika Movement from the Lt. Kije Suite by Prokofiev
Peter and the Wolf
The Hall of the Mountain King
O’Rafferty’s Motor Car : Val Doonican (lyrics)
The Marvellous Toy : Val Doonican (lyrics)
The Ugly Bug Ball : Burl Ives (lyrics)
Goodness Gracious Me : Peter Sellers/Sophie Loren (lyrics)
Flash, Bang Wallop! : Tommy Steele (lyrics)
Donald Where’s Your Troosers? : Andy Stewart (lyrics)
Delaware : Perry Como (lyrics)
Magic Moments : Perry Como (lyrics)
The Little Shoemaker : Petula Clark (lyrics)
Champion The Wonder Horse : Frankie Laine (lyrics)
My Boomerang Won't Come Back : Charlie Drake (lyrics)
The Little Blue Man : Betty Johnson (lyrics)
Sugartime : Alma Cogan (lyrics)

Please feel free to let us know of any missing items and also, if anyone can remember the words to any of these songs, please let us know and we will publish them here!

Click Here!Signature Tune
The programme's signature tune was called Puffin' Billy by Edward White

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