Focus on Rainbow

6 January 2014

What were they thinking? Up above the streets and houses… the theme encouraged us to envisage an average town, filled with average houses. Now, let’s choose the house with the rainbow on its door and what could possibly be inside? A pink hippopotamus, a man-sized bear and a spoilsport alien, along with Geoffrey Hayes, their affable and long-suffering guardian.

Each episode of Rainbow revolved around a particular activity or situation that would arise in the Rainbow House, where the main characters lived. Usually, it would involve some kind of squabble or dispute between the puppet characters of George, Bungle and Zippy, and Geoffrey’s attempts to calm them down and keep the peace. The main story would be interspersed with songs (usually from Rod, Jane and Freddy, although guest singers would occasionally take their place), animations and stories read from the Rainbow storybook, usually by Geoffrey. Some episodes would focus on a particular theme, such as sounds or opposites, and would consist mainly of short sketches or exchanges between the main characters, rather than a consistent storyline.

There have been plenty of people called George across the globe throughout the centuries but Bungle and Zippy would less frequently appear in historical records, one might think. Zippy appears as a middle name for two Nicola’s in the twentieth century – Nicola Zippy Wilson (1978) and Nicola Zippy Brook (1981). Marriage-wise, two Zippy‘s marry in Lewisham in the 1990s – Zippy Saunders and Zippy Brown, though no birth records have been located for either of them in England or Wales. Zippy K R Rayner marries in Gipping and Hartismere in 1992 and a further Zippy marriage in 2001 in Hackney – this time, Zippy Desser. But before Rainbow was even conceived, Zippy A. Rogers died in Tamworth in March quarter 1923 aged 70 (hence, born in 1853).

Can you add to the Zippy finds? Or get ahead of us with Bungle references for tomorrow?

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