Who can't remember Mr. Benn from their childhood? It was a classic, almost seminal part of our lives for those in the late 20's to late 30's with viewing occurring around 1pm during the week. Who'd have thought that there was actually only 13 episodes too? It seemed to go on and on, but nope, 13 is it. Kinda.
Mr. Benn lives at 52 Festive Road and one day, receives an invitation to a fancy dress party, but alas he couldn't find anything around the town where he lives, until he finds an unusual fancy dress shop down a small road, which he enters and, as if by magic, the shopkeeper appears. On his first visit, he decides to go as a knight and changes into the outfit, then notices a second door in the changing room, which he opens and enters into another time where he has a thrilling adventure. When he finally leaves, with the aid of a certain shopkeeper, he always has a little something to remember his adventure with, which then means that when he fancies an adventure, he knows just the place to visit.
That's it in a nutshell, with all the adventures you can remember, from being an astronaut to being a wizard, all 13 are here. However, unbeknown to myself, there is actually a 14th adventure which was made by Nickelodeon, with Mr. Benn as a gladiator (surely this should have been an extra on a certain Mr. Scott disk?), which mirrors the style of the originals completely but, and it's an important but, it loses some of its charm as the drawing is much more detailed than the originals.
When all is said and done though, this is simplistic storytelling but then it's aimed at 5 year olds, so we don't need anything complicated and each tale has the necessary beginning, situation and resolution, even though nothing bad ever happens - it's all very tea-and-biscuits-with-the-vicar in a sense. The world is wonderful, nothing terrible happens and it can all be resolved in a peaceful manner involving discussion. OK, so that also holds true with Star Trek:The Next Generation (joke guys - don't need angry Trekkies!), but here it captures the age of innocence incredibly well from when I originally watched it in the 70's. Sure the animation is abysmal, but who cares when we can reminisce out misspent youths in front of the TV. On that score, it gets a proverbial thumbs up.
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