I suppose it all starts with my birth, in the unforgettable summer of 1980something. Television had fortunately been invented by that point. I watched it for a bit and before I knew it, it was...
I had seen a message in a guestbook remarking on the lack of Spatz information on the internet. At my disposal I had various Spatz memories, an episode on video, some free webspace and the desire for a summer project. And so in July, my website, the poorly-titled The Nostalgia Annex, came about. I included pages for Pob and What's Up Doc? too, as these were also programmes I remembered fondly but felt deserved greater recognition online.
By November, the website looked like this: basic in presentation, with information the priority. I'd had some enthusiastic feedback, and the addition of sound files meant that internet users could rediscover the Spatz theme.
A great moment for What's Up Doc? nostalgia in January, when it was featured in clips on the 20th anniversary CITV Birthday Bash.
I was contacted by one of Spatz's creators, Grant Cathro. His contributions, including an episode guide to the entire series, gave the website more than a touch of class. By June 2003, I had started to incorporate them into the Spatz page. I also added some insider information to the Pob page, courtesy of Kjartan Poskitt, one of Pob's guests. By this time there was also a page of diatribes, What's Bothering Me ('the little annoyances that no-one else seems to share'). It had its fans, but eventually I decided that this formative stab at blog rants didn't fit with the rest of the site and I took it down.
I expanded my website to include SuperTed. Zoe Griffin told me that when she found herself quoted on the page, she fell off her chair, which remains some of my most memorable feedback. I had got hold of a copy of Two Idiots In Hollywood, having not seen it since 2001. I decided that this too deserved to be remembered online, so I worked on a Two Idiots section over the summer. Not long after it went up, I had heard from Wayne Winstead and Rex Rotsko, members of the barbershop quartet from the film.
I emailed Andy Crane to let him know about the What's Up Doc? page, and though he didn't reply, he did visit, and then told WUD? crew member Vanessa Hill, who got in touch in August and shared some behind-the-scenes facts.
I was contacted by the other creator of Spatz, Lee Pressman. Hugely supportive, he sent me a 'Super Spatz Starter Kit' in October that included copies of continuity polaroids and magazine articles, along with a video of episodes, giving a massive boost to the website.
December brought contact from Jonathan Copestake, who played Stanley in Spatz. Also this month, the counter on the homepage reached quadruple figures; though given the number of times I had visited the website myself to 'check it was OK', this probably wasn't the milestone it might have seemed. And I'd learnt by this point that the quality of my visitors meant more than the quantity.
Rex's contributions to the website continued, including a copy of a Two Idiots draft script which he sent to me in February. This was also the month when I met an internet friend for the first time, a fellow fan of Children's ITV's finest show, Knightmare. More followed later in the year. Having kept up a correspondence with Rex and become friends, we met too when he visited the UK in May. I joined him in his London tourism, and he treated me to a brief rendition of Blow The Man Down on the Underground. This may rank as the most unexpected outcome of my setting up a website.
In September, Melvyn Hayes signed the guestbook. I was able to tell him how much I'd enjoyed his roles not just in SuperTed as Skeleton, but also in two other childhood favourites of mine, Summer Holiday and The Dreamstone.
Paul Michael, who was TJ in Spatz, emailed with kind words about the website and his time on the show itself. I was able to put him back in touch with other Spatz alumni. By the end of the year, the website was broader than ever, including a page dedicated to one of Spatz's sister shows, Mike & Angelo. By no means definitive, it was based around my synopsis of a single episode - as the Spatz page originally was - but meant that Mike & Angelo was better covered online than it would otherwise have been.
A burst of New Year egotism led to the discovery that my website is now the top result of a Google search for the word spatz. This gave me confidence that it wouldn't escape the notice of anyone looking to reminisce online about the TV series. (Even though, for the same search term, certain other search engines didn't put The Nostalgia Annex in their first hundred.)
In February, my guestbook was signed by Robin Stevens, the man who gave Pob sound and movement.
A BBC researcher, for what I was told would be 'a landmark documentary series about the history of children's television', contacted me in April to discuss Pob, even raising the possibility of my appearing on screen to discuss it. Although this didn't materialise, saving a cameraman somewhere from insanity, I was able to recommend a Pob episode from which they could take clips, access permitting: Spike Milligan's. It was a privilege to draw this kind of attention via my website, and When Children's TV On Trial (specifically, the 1980s episode) was shown in May, it turned out that they'd been able to take me up on my suggestion.
With the closure of my Hometown webspace in October, I moved my webpages to join the guestbook on Yahoo! GeoCities. Feeling staggeringly uninspired, or maybe just ironically nostalgic, I kept the title. By now, YouTube had its feet well under the computer table, and I've been able to add links throughout the website to all sorts of clips. In some ways, YouTube is the easiest and most direct nostalgia trip for fans of old TV programmes, in a way undreamt of when I first set up my website; but I hope that the detail of my webpages, with their abundance of exclusive behind-the-scenes information, will give continued appeal.
GeoCities' webspace closed in October and The Nostalgia Annex went offline.
In July, my webpages moved into their new home on webs.com, under a title with which I'm much happier. The colour scheme is intended to evoke Spatz. Thank you for paying Glad You Remember a visit, be it your first or your umpteenth, and please feel free to email me (here, without the 'nospam.' part) or leave your email address in a guestbook message so I can thank you more directly.
In January, Katy Murphy (Freddy in Spatz, Katy in Mike & Angelo''s later series) signed my guestbook. In March, Jamie from The High-T Website, one of the great sites dedicated to T-Bag, got in touch with a treasure trove of scanned magazine cuttings covering Spatz and Mike & Angelo.
A favourite blogger of mine, Keith of Writing Privacy, has been kind enough to add a link to Glad You Remember this year.
When I sent Stephen Tobolowsky a link to the main Two Idiots page, he responded with 'hooray'! He later thanked me for a further message about the film and how it influenced me.
Glad You Remember is now on Twitter. I intend to tweet every so often about TV, advert and film nostalgia, with the odd near-unmissable quip thrown in too.
A milestone year for my website. In January, I received my first tweet when David Harewood responded very positively to a photo I'd tweeted him from his Spatz days. A month later, I received an email from Jennifer Calvert, who was also pleased to be reminded of how great Spatz was. I also made contact with Alan Dart, who did the handicraft segments on Pob's Programme and kindly put a link to this website on his. I've also been able to exchange tweets with two-thirds of the What's Up Doc? presenting team: Pat Sharp and Andy Crane.
September 7th 2012 marked the 25th anniversary of the first episode of Knightmare. Some of my tweets about the programme have been retweeted by a Knightmare twitter account this year. Knightmare continues to be gladly remembered and celebrated online, perhaps best so this year in a documentary masterminded by a friend of mine to honour the quarter-century.
Any fears that television might let us down over the festive period were put to rest with news of the hour-long documentary 30 Years Of CITV, which is to be shown on ITV1 on December 29th at 6:30. The press release doesn't mention any of the CITV shows covered by Glad You Remember, so it's not clear which of them, if any, will be included.
Then came some truly thrilling news. In the first weekend of January 2013 (5th-6th), in celebration Children's ITV turning 30, there will be a weekend of classic CITV programmes on the Children's ITV channel - including Spatz and Mike & Angelo. Having these and many more old favourites back on television, if only for two days, will be amazing.
And in the closing days of 2012, just when I thought that Spatz's star couldn't shine any brighter, a full episode became available to watch on YouTube for the first time - and it was the first ever episode. Also uploaded around the same time were extended clips of David Harewood in Series 3 episode Driving Miss Wesley. Spatz was David Harewood's big break in TV, leading 20 years later to acclaimed US drama Homeland, and it's great that his fans, new and old, can finally see some of it.
On 6th January at 9:50am, Spatz was on. The episode was Tango from Series 3, and has been uploaded to YouTube. Thank you to everyone who watched it and appreciated it, especially those that tweeted or got in touch, from fellow fans to Nicholas Parsons himself! There may well be more Spatz to watch online later this year. CITV's Old Skool Weekend was fantastic overall: the new in New Year can wait.
Two major additions to Glad You Remember since the Old Skool Weekend: a full Mike & Angelo episode guide and a table showing the numerous casting crossovers between Lee Pressman and Grant Cathro's TV shows. (It's situated under the Spatz episode guide.)
It's been good to see more Spatz and Mike & Angelo videos appearing on YouTube in February.
Lee Pressman has again shown great generosity by sending me another banquet of Spatz material, including two rehearsal scripts from Series 3. I am looking forward to updating the Spatz pages with this new information.
2013 has been a tremendously exciting year for Knightmare, with old episodes returning to TV after a 6-year gap (Challenge TV repurchased the rights to Series 1 and 2 from 1987 and 1988 - I spread the word to a few Knightmare actors), Knightmare Live bringing quests to the stage with wit and flare, and a brand clanking new Knightmare episode for the first time since 1994. And I use 'tremendous' literally. I trembled. I reflected on Knightmare's 2013 in one of my various articles for Knightmare.com, where I do quite a bit behind the scenes for both website and discussion forum.
This year's episode of Celebrity Fifteen to One was a joyous return by an old favourite.
In the closing days of 2013, a 1991/Series 4 episode of Mike & Angelo and five 1991/Series 2 episodes of Spatz were uploaded to YouTube!
With a triple double bill of Fun House, Finders Keepers and Knightmare on Challenge TV on Saturday mornings, when Neil Buchanan and Pat Sharp were in their element on Motormouth and What's Up Doc? respectively, Children's ITV nostalgia feels quite fashionable. Not that I'd care if it didn't!
In March, Mike & Angelo reached its 25th anniversary. I marked this with a substantial update, including interviews with Lee Pressman and Grant Cathro. Their support and generosity are things for which I'm very grateful.
March also saw the launch of an Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund the first ever Knightmare convention: Knightmare Convention. The amount to be raised is ambitious but realistic, and the organisers believe that the support is out there.
And it was! The convention met and exceeded its funding target and will take place on 10th-11th May in Norwich, where Knightmare was filmed. It's believed that it will be the first fan convention for any Children's ITV programme. 10th May this year will also be the 30th anniversary of Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman's paths crossing.
There is now an official Pink Panther YouTube channel, housing all of the original cartoons. Happy 50th anniversary to the best of nearly mute naturist cartoon felines.
The Knightmare Convention went very well. I was among the convention crew. While not effortless, it was a lot of fun and the guests, venue, contributors and fellow staff are to be commended. The event was, if not a milestone for British kids' TV nostalgia, certainly a personal one.
A year of round-number TV and film anniversaries, including Spatz's 25th and T-Bag's 30th. I enjoyed writing a crossover sketch to celebrate these.
Another special moment for Knightmare this year, with the hardback publication of David Rowe's Art of Knightmare, an exquisite work which I helped to crowdfund.
Thanks to a friend, I learned that Two Idiots In Hollywood is available to watch in full on YouTube, and has been since last year. While this upload isn't legal, I'm pleased that others are now able to watch this film with ease.
Pob's profile has been raised this year thanks to Michael Gove, who is often compared to Pob in looks.
The YouTube uploads of full episodes of Spatz and Mike & Angelo have been a massive boost and the next best thing to official releases. I have put together chronological playlists to help guide people through the range of episodes and clips available.
This year I finally met Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman, who have supported this website so substantially for so long. It was wonderful to hear their experiences in person.