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18 June 2014
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Classic TV | Crackerjack
Crackerjack "It's Friday, it's five to five... it's Crackerjack"


Crackerjack made its debut on 12 September 1955. Each week thousands of kids would pile into the Shepherd's Bush Theatre (later Television Centre) for 45 minutes of games, comedy and music.

The show was originally presented by This Is Your Life's Eamonn Andrews. He was followed by Leslie Crowther, Michael Aspel, Ed Stewart and, finally, Stu 'Ooh, I could crush a grape' Francis.

Comedy and song were provided over the years by the likes of Carry On's Jack Douglas, Ronnie Corbet, Don Maclean, Peter Glaze and The Krankies. They often performed plays and sketches containing pun-laden reworkings of chart hits.

But central to events was the game Double or Drop, where children were picked from the audience to answer questions, winning prizes for a right answer and cabbages for a wrong 'un. All had to be held (and not dropped) for the duration of the game.

There were no losers, however, with everyone going home with the much-coveted Crackerjack pencil.

In later years, Double or Drop was replaced by gunge, lots of it, a factor which probably led to the shows cancellation.

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