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The Story of

Chock-A-Block

© Michael Cole Estate, by kind permission.

This Chockablock page was written by Dan for Little Gems and all credit & thanks go to him for producing a great page on what was a wonderful little program in the 1970-1980s era.

Click here for the start music (269Kb mp3) - thanks to Craig

Chock-A-Block was a legendary show. It was a television regular on the late 1970s-mid 1980s version of Watch With Mother, known as the ever-popular See-Saw.

The show itself was the only one that was illustrated by an empty See-Saw, no characters at all upon it.

Chock-A-Block featured Chockabloke and Chockagirl.

Chockabloke was played by Fred Harris and Chockagirl by Carol Leader both of whom were former Playschool presenters.

As with most of the See-Saw shows Chock-A-Block had just one series, containing thirteen episodes. In my mind the most memorable ones were the "Bee At The Sea", "The Train", "Magpie", "The Sheep" (number 8 who wouldn't jump the 5-bar gate) and who could ever forget probably the best episode ever, "The Sun and The Moon."

The "Sun and the Moon" episode featured Chockabloke and a wonderful song at the end of the show.

Each episode would always begin, with the presenter driving around in a little yellow cart (who wouldn't still fancy a go in one?) and then walking over to Chock-A-Block’s Block Stock and choosing a solid almost brick like video to put in to Chock-A-Block for each episode.

The ‘video’ would go into Chock-A-Block's block slot and then the coloured circles would reveal objects or scenes from Nursery Rhymes to entertain us with.

Then came the famous Rock-A-Blocks

“Lose the log and Rock the dog”

Both blocks would be rocked until a picture appeared and then Chockabloke or Chockagirl would then say what both things were.

If they rhymed a chime would sound, if they didn't a deflating Whoopee Cushion would be sounded, as they rock the bottom block again.

The most common picture was one of a green background, with a big toe sticking out of a white sock. On almost every occasion it would be something that rhymes with ‘Crow’…… “Sock?” (Fffaarrrppp!) “Ah! Toe”. Crow and Toe.

Then for one episode featuring Chockabloke (Fred Harris), something appeared that actually rhymed with Sock and he said Toe.

I loved the irony of that episode, to think how many times they'd said ‘sock’ on that picture and now he said ‘toe’ He'd still got it wrong, first time.

I still believe that Chock-A-Block and the Rock-A-Block section, helped me to write poems and make lines rhyme, I loved watching Chock-A-Block all of the time.

(Ding Dong.)

Then the song followed. Chock-A-Block’s block for the day would be ejected, turned over and then inserted again, in order to show the images for the song.

The episode ended on a sad note as the presenter drove away

Leaving Chock-A-Block to power down into total darkness.

The Men Behind The Machine.

Made in the glory year of 1981, Michael Cole's genius again behind it, with his right hand man and director Nick Wilson. A partnership which deserved more credit than it got for the impact they made on childrens' lives, in the early 80s in particular. Sadly, Michael Cole passed away in 2001, sixteen years after his co-partner in work and in life, Joanne Cole. Michael & Joanne worked together on projects such as Bod, Fingerbobs, Gran & PlaySchool.


I used the terms 'glory year' and 'genius', because aside from creating the See-Saw itself, Michael Cole also made shows in the 70s like Bod & Fingerbobs, and in 1981 did Pigeon Street, Bric-A-Brac, Heads & Tails, and Chock-A-Block, to name a few.
Alongside Oliver Postgate & Peter Firmin, Michael Cole is the fellow genius of classic childrens television, as far as I'm concerned.

Chock-A-Block BBC1 1981

Credits

Chockagirl - Carol Leader

Chockabloke - Fred Harris

Chockatunes - Peter Gosling

Costume - Velma Buckle

Sound Effects - John Downes

VT Editor - Peter Francis

Vision Mixer - Stuart McDonald

Electronic Effects - Robin Lobb

Senior Cameraman - Robert Baxter

Technical Manager - Clive Gulliver

Lighting - Ron Bristow

Sound - Trevor Webster

Graphic Designer - Mina Martinez

Designer - Mary Penley-Edwards

Producer - Michael Cole

Written & Directed by Nick Wilson

© B.B.C. 1981

(© Michael Cole Estate, by kind permission)