Another childhood nostalgia filled throwback Thursday this week. For those of a certain age, our focus today will be very familiar…it’s that adorable, heroic and slightly implausible superhero, SuperTed!
SuperTed is the story of a teddy bear who was cast aside in the bear-making-factory because his eyes were all wonky, from what I recall. Anyway, he’s tossed aside ‘like a piece of rubbish’ into an old storeroom until the Spotty Man (!) finds him, rescues him by bringing him to life and taking him to Mother Nature who makes him a superhero. SuperTed turns into his super self by whispering a secret word whenever someone needs his help. Together, he and Spotty fight injustice and help others, especially from the evil of Texas Pete, SuperTed’s nemesis.
Firstly, SuperTed has the sweetest backstory in the world: creator Mike Young came up with stories to help his son fall asleep when he was small and afraid of the dark. The best thing about this story is that it absolutely embodies what SuperTed was all about for me as a child. Here was this sweet looking teddy bear, one of the most comforting things you could imagine as a child, who was also brave and courageous and stood up for other people. The idea that your bear might secretly be a hero and protecting you was a very appealing one as a child. I was one of those kids that really believed that my toys came to life when I left the room, so it was very easy for me to buy into the SuperTed story.
One of the other truly great things that stayed with me about SuperTed was how unprepossessing he was. (Obviously, I didn’t think of it quite that way as a child, I would have been some sort of genius). But this was an important facet to the series – that SuperTed and Spotty didn’t look like heroes. They were a small brown teddy bear and a rather odd looking yellow alien with purple spots. They weren’t an obvious duo; they didn’t look especially strong or fearless. And yet they were, showing children that people’s perceptions of you were not as important as who you intended to be. I know that I definitely absorbed the unusual heroism and kindness of SuperTed when I was a kid.
Also, it turns out SuperTed was Welsh. Who knew?
Of course, no retrospective of SuperTed would be complete without revisiting some of his many adventures:
What were the standout TV shows of your childhood?