I’d seen clips before of this unique Quentin Blake Jackanory series a few years ago. But it’s brilliant to be able to see an episode of the Adventures of Lester in its entirety.
Jackanory was a children’s storytelling series in which actors and writers brought classic and contemporary children’s books to life. Bernard Cribbins was the undisputed master, particularly when reading Joan Aiken’s Arabel’s Raven stories and I’ll never forget Rik Mayall – fresh from the Young Ones – bringing total anarchy to Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine. But Quentin Blake does something special in this series, not just reading the story but drawing it at the same time. It’s a total masterclass in storytelling and illustration.
This particular story concerns Lester (a sort of crocodile / dinosaur type creature), his friend Lorna (a big eared roller-skating girl) and Otto (a massive toad), as they attempt to watch the Olympics on their knackered old telly. Unfortunately the set doesn’t work. Anyone who had a low quality TV in the 70s will remember that thing where the picture rolled ‘showing people’s heads at the bottom and feet at the top of the screen.’
So they decide to embark on their own Olympic games. The high jump proves a little tricky particularly for Lorna who refuses to take off her roller skates. Then they get creative, playing games like toss the wellies (from the wellie tree) and guess the weight of the cake (much harder than it sounds).
Happily everyone wins a prize, and a wild flying boot solves their TV problems. Quentin Blake’s Jackanory Olympics, perfect for Brazil 2016 avoiders.