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Nostalgia is a buffer against the misery of 2020 so let's cling onto our old favourites even as they disappear

4 1 0
01.08.2020

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Just to add to that general 2020 vibe that the entire world is unravelling and life as we know it will never be the same again, they’ve only gone and axed the Argos catalogue.

And just when we were still reeling from the loss of the laminated Book of Dreams, the announcement came that John Craven’s Newsround is also for the chop.

Yes, I know he hasn’t actually presented the afternoon bulletin for kids since the Miners’ Strike and he migrated to the pastures new of Countryfile 30 years ago, but to a generation of us it will always be John Craven’s Newsround.

Craven was like the teacher you liked and respected rather than the cool older brother of later children’s television. If it wasn’t for the reassuring jumper-clad figure, our childhood cultural hinterland wouldn’t have expanded further than Sindy dolls and Enid Blyton. He is the reason I can remember when the Vietnam War ended – and I was just six. Ditto Pol Pot’s murderous reign in Cambodia.

In the next decade, Newsround embedded other huge stories in the memory banks of its young audience along with the earworm of its percussive theme tune.

It scooped the grown-up bulletins with the first report on the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II and in 1986 broke the tragic news of the Challenger shuttle disaster which occurred just minutes before they went on air. This had a particular resonance for the youngsters watching. Space travel stories were a Newsround speciality and we had been following the Challenger mission for weeks.

Such was the quality of Newsround’s bitesize journalism, 40% of its audience were adults while future anchors Julie Etchingham (ITN) and Krishnan Guru-Murthy (C4 News) learned their craft on its beat and hardened hacks like John Humphreys and Martin Bell lent it their foreign correspondent skills. The latter’s powerful report on the Vietnam war through the eyes of a child made such an impact it was lifted unchanged by the Nine o’Clock News.

When Newsround started in 1972 a short shelf life was predicted as it was assumed kids wouldn’t respond to current affairs.

Interviewed on its 40th anniversary, John Craven recalled: “When it began we had no real hopes for it. All the researchers said children were bored of the news and tired of being........

© Wales Online