Tuesday, 16 December 2014
38 Vision On
First watched : Uncertain
Vision On , which returned for its latest series on Wednesday 22 April 1970 was always the oddest of the recurring shows, a programme aimed at a small minority of children that managed to hold an audience of millions.
Vision On was targeted at deaf children so there was a minimum amount of speech and even sparer use of captions and subtitles as these would slow down the pace. The main presenter was curly-haired Pat Keysell ( the only one who spoke ) an experienced signer who would introduce a rough theme for the programme. Beyond that almost anything went so Vision On was a heady mix of slapstick, art , animation , mime, music ( necessarily ) and odd bits of film that defied any categorisation. Her chief honchos at the time I was watching were skilled artist and animator Tony Hart ( who'd nevertheless join in the sketches ) and mime artist and future Dr Who Sylvester McCoy (wearing a silly moustache ).
The frenetic pace only really slowed for the "Gallery" section where artwork sent in by children was displayed to the maddening lounge pop sound of Wayne Hill's "Left Bank Two" . Keysell always promised a prize for the work that was selected but never specified what it was.
I usually found enough in it to enjoy without it ever becoming a favourite.
It ran from 1964 to 1976 when the producers decided to call it a day because ideas were running thin. Tony Hart remained on screen in spin-off series, McCoy eventually got the keys to the TARDIS and Keysell continued working with various ventures to help the disabled , occasionally reappearing on TV as part of her latest project. She died in 2009 aged 83.