Most Popular Children's TV Characters


Oct 29, 2014 by Smart Blog

In mid 2014, the Radio Times decided to find out which were the most loved and enduring characters to have graced children's television since the 1950s. What they discovered is rather heart warming: despite childhood having changed immensely in the last 60 years, children across the generations have loved, and still love, good stories and great characters.


Best Loved

According to the Radio Times survey, the best-loved children's character of all time is Shaun the Sheep. Shaun began his showbiz career in a Wallace and Gromit film in the mid-nineties, but finally got his own show in 2007. Like many of the most popular children's characters, Shaun lives in a detailed, welcoming and completely invented world.

Runner up to Shaun in the 'all time favourites' came Postman Pat, the flame-haired postman of Greendale, who has been charming audiences since 1981 - although neither Pat nor his six year old son Julian have aged a bit in that time! Like Shaun, Pat is presented through stop-motion animation, and can still be seen on children's TV channel CBeebies.

The third most popular character is vastly more 'old school': Sooty, latterly along with his friends Sweep and Soo, been on TV since the 1950s, holds the world record for longest-running children's programme in the UK and is still touring now!

Little-known facts about Sooty are that his creator, Harry Corbett, was a nephew of Harry Ramsden, of fish and chip fame, that Sooty released a single and an album in the early 1970s, and that 'Sooty: The Movie' is due for release in 2016.


Through The Years

Over the decades, British children have taken a range of characters to their hearts. Those given special mentions in the recent survey include:



The 1960s did not just give the UK flower power; it also gave us The Magic Roundabout, Camberwick Green and Clangers. The Clangers were, once again, a stop-motion animation, and ran from 1969 to 1972. Included in the cast was the Soup Dragon - whose name was later to recur as the title of a Scottish alternative rock band in the late 1980s.



This was the decade that produced The Wombles and the original TV version of Paddington Bear (the books having been published much earlier). Paddington had stowed away from "Darkest Peru,” only to end up living in London. Although several other television versions of Paddington have been produced since, it seems that the 1970s BBC version reigns supreme in the hearts of viewers.



Postman Pat (see above) arrived in the 1980s, as did the frankly surreal British/Swiss collaboration that is Pingu; both of these are still running on children's TV today. In 1993, David Hasselhoff released a single about Pingu - but only in Switzerland.



In the 1990s, a joyful generation of children was introduced to Bob the Builder and the Teletubbies. The Teletubbies also had a foray into the music world, with an insanely catchy version of the theme tune hitting number one in the UK. Despite the last episode having been made in 2001, the Teletubbies have never really gone away, and in June 2014 the BBC announced that a new series is being made.