Top 5: Forgotten ’90s Kids Shows

Come and play with ANDREW BIDEN as he takes a trip down memory lane.

90s kids tv andrew biden hey arnold rosie and jim the amanda show top 5 tots tv TV

Kids shows. Every generation thinks theirs are the best. Sometimes I wonder what the kids of today will grow up to be like when their televisual output consists of nothing but the unrealistc dreams of the Disney Channel. Back in my day, not everyone could be a popstar, even if you were the spawn of ‘Achy Breaky Heart‘. Yep, back in the ’90s we had a wonderful kind of day.

5) Rosie and Jim

Ragdolls were clearly big business in the 1990s as there are two shows in this list with them in. This delight is led by the bearded and bespectacled John, who accompanies Rosie and Jim on their adventures on a canal boat. John now appears completely unsuited for television, especially in an age where presenters are now supposed to be as ADHD as the kids watching, but I prefer his calming presence.


4) Tots TV

Educational and fun? An elusive combination here in Cambridge. But Tots TV ticks both boxes. The fabulously eccentric Tilly will teach you how to say ‘l’autobus’ with the kind of Gallic flair that the MML students can only dream about. I also love the fact that the people remain completely calm when forced to share their journey with talking dolls. You now wonder why the oldies make such a fuss when a few kids blast music out from their Corsas.


3) Hey Arnold!

You can understand the brilliance of Hey Arnold! just from watching the opening credits. Basically, the show is about a boy with a football-shaped head who lives with his grandparents. He’s also just the nicest guy ever. Much like another classic ’90s show, Dexter’s Lab, the antagonist is an older, taller girl, this time in the form of Helga. It was good-natured, harmless fun which had moments of real poignancy. Well, as a 10-year-old I certainly thought so.


2) Clarissa Explains it All

Everyone remembers Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but let’s not forget where Melissa Joan Hart started out. Before Clarissa, how else would we know how to stand up to a bully or that you couldn’t drive a car until you were old enough? Some may say Clarissa explained nothing, but for me, its ordinariness was its appeal. She also did have some amazing outfits, and weirdly has become something of a fashion icon.


1) The Amanda Show

Sorry, but this was always the better version of Keenan and Kel. It’s the kind of show that just wouldn’t get made nowadays as kids have supposedly moved on from sketch-shows and comedy. This is a shame, because it still makes me laugh. And it was very forward looking – does the sketch below remind you of anything? Regina George from Mean Girls, perhaps?


And the show you wished you could forget…


The hilarious controversy over whether Tinky Winky was gay was probably the best bit about this show, but you kind of missed out on that whole debate when you were aged five. It was completely bizarre and not in a good way. It is also responsible for this monstrosity: