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October 10, 2005

Gus Honeybun's Magic Birthdays

Writing about web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A749423

Wow, caught some of Test the Nation on saturday and who should turn up but Judi Spires.

Now this may not mean much to many people here, but Judy Spires loomed large in my childhood as one of the presenters of Gus Honeybuns Magic Birthdays – a show on South West television.

Now, Gus Honeybun was the big cheese for the under 7s in Devon and Cornwall in the late 70s early 80s. It was a 5 minute filler programme where a local newsreader shared the screen with a crappy puppet (Gus himself no less) and read out birthday wishes to excited under 5s. Gus would then hop up and down or alternatively would headbutt one of three levers in front of him to change the background screen to some whacked out visual.

I have memories of Judi breaking down with laughter at the absurdity of all of this, but most of all I remember kiddies parties where we all dutifully sat round the telly to hear the birthday boy/girl's name read out and watch GH do his epileptic thing.

Trust me, you can keep your bike, the real thing we all wanted was the love of a psyched out stuffed rabbit on local telly.

There was one time when we sat to watch the programme at a party of a friend who had sent some chocolates with the card as a gift to GH. Dear Judi read the card and then pronounced that the enclosed sweets had been crushed and/or melted in the post. Way to let us down gently! There were tears that day.

So it's nice to see Judi has done well for herself, despite the early experiences. Shame GH seems to have been sent to the Plymouth televisual archive. There aren't enough badly made, slightly scary, children's puppets on tv these days…


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