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Science friction meant family fun; REWIND Proof telly isn't as good as it was.

Metal Mickey (ITV 1980-1983) SOME shows just don't date well and this is one that falls into that category.

But if you were a kid in the early 1980s this was part of your staple weekend viewing. It went out on a Saturday teatime straight after the football results and in that pre-internet era, this was almost a guarantee of picking up a sizeable audience. The show was set in the home of the Wilberforce family, whose youngest child was a science boffin, who had created 5ft tall Metal Mickey to help around the home. Perhaps not surprisingly this led to all manner of comedy adventures. Metal Micksey's catchphrase was "boogie, boogie, boogie", and he was at the height of his powers after consuming an Atomic Thunderbuster, which looked a bit like a lemon bonbon.

The show's standard sitcom format - with its breadwinning husband, stay-at-home wife and unruly teenage kids - are as outmoded now as the haircuts. The series relied on recurring gags - such as Mother's worryingly low IQ and Gran's fondness for gin.

Metal Mickey - who was always listed in the credits as being played by himself - was created, controlled and voiced by musician Johnny Edward.

Edward was once in a band called The Manish Boys with David Bowie and gave the world Rene and Renato and their hit Save Your Love. Bless him.

Looking like the Buck Rogers robot Twiki after he'd let himself go, Metal Mickey first appeared on children's morning magazine show The Saturday Banana.

The commercial television rights were snapped up by Edwards' friend Micky Dolenz, formerly of 1960s popsters The Monkees.

Dolenz then produced and directed the series, which swapped to that slot when kids used to eat their tea in front of the telly, as opposed to drinking on street corners and collecting ASBOs.

Veteran comedy actress Irene Handl played Gran, who Mickey affectionately called My Little Fruitbat. He also referred to his inventor as Brains, his inventor's sister as Stringbean and their father as Bootface.

That's the kind of humour we're talking, people. Still, at its height it pulled in a staggering 12m viewers.

Handl was never at home with science fiction, either watching it or appearing in it. She famously said in an interview, when asked if she cried over the death of ET: "Why should I cry over a bleedin' Hoover attachment?" When asked, therefore, why she was appearing in Metal Mickey, she gave the pragmatic reply: "Cos I've got a mortgage, love!" Probably a better line than anything from the series.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Nov 6, 2010
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