Good old John Craven. I’m not quite sure how he did it, but somehow he took the most boring programme on TV (the news) and turned it into something kids wanted to watch. Maybe it was his snazzy selection of jumpers, or perhaps his teacher like demeanour, or perhaps it was just because John Craven’s Newsround only lasted for about five minutes, so you didn’t have time to get bored?
John Craven’s Newsround first came on air in 1972, and from then until 1989 the legendary sweater wearer John Craven told kids what was going on in the world in a clear and straight forward way. It was never really dumbed down though, just told without a load of jargon, waffle and conjecture. John gave you the facts of the story, and it was up to you to decide what you thought about it.
Newsround, as it is now called since Craven left the series, is still airing today, and has gone through a succession of presenters including Krishnan Guru-Murthy, who now hosts Channel 4’s evening news and Juliet Morris, who went on to read BBC Breakfast News before going on to present a number of other shows. You can still see Mr. Craven on TV though, as he hosts the BBC countryside show Countryfile.
Of course, the stories chosen were usually ones that were more likely to appeal to children in the first place, such as the near endless stream of stories about Giant Pandas, but you did get real news too. In fact, Newsround (as it became known since John left) was the first British news programme to report on the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981, and was also first with news of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.
There are three more things that Newsround will always be remembered for though. One was the way the day of the week was repeated on the wall behind John Craven, the second was that intense theme song, and the third was the old rectangular phone sat on the desk behind John. Boy, how you wished that phone would ring, just once!