Entertainment & Arts

Crackerjack is coming back with Sam and Mark presenting

Sam Nixon, Stu Francis and Mark Rhodes
Image caption Sam (left) and Mark (right) will host the show, which Stu Francis (centre) last presented

Children's TV favourite Crackerjack is to return to the BBC, 35 years after its last screen outing.

In the new series, hosts Sam and Mark will follow in the footsteps of previous presenters Eamonn Andrews, Ed "Stewpot" Stewart and Stu Francis.

Last seen in 1984, the teatime staple saw a live studio audience of children entertained by comedy sketches, playful games and music performances.

The 10-part series will air next year on CBBC and the BBC iPlayer.

Image caption Ian and Janette Krankie were among the show's regulars

In the 1980s, Stu Francis entertained young viewers with his catchphrase "Ooh, I could crush a grape!" and such variants as "I could mash a potato" and "I could rip a tissue".

Cheryl Taylor, head of content for BBC Children's, said the show would "usher in a new era of frenetic family fun and whizzbang audience antics".

Helen Bullough, head of BBC Children's In House Productions, added: "We can't wait to introduce a new set of Crackerjack 'crush-a-grape' catchphrases to a new generation of fans."

First broadcast in 1955, the show was also presented by Leslie Crowther and Michael Aspel over the years.

Image caption Other previous presenters include Eamonn Andrews and Ed Stewart

Regular performers included Bernie Clifton, The Krankies and Basil Brush, while Chas and Dave sang its jovial theme tune.

Other features included the audience yelling the show's title every time it was said, and games like Double or Drop, which will return in the new series.

The BBC said the programme would be "revitalised for today's connected generation, giving them an all-round, interactive experience".

Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes have carved successful careers as broadcasters since appearing on Pop Idol in 2003, co-hosting such shows as Sam & Mark's Big Friday Wind-Up.

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