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You and Me (British TV series) facts for kids

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You and Me
Opening title from 1970s
Presented by Frances Kay (Cosmo) and Francis Wright (Dibs) (1983-1992)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Producer(s) BBC
Running time 15 minutes
Original network BBC1 1974-1983
BBC2 1983-1992
Picture format 4:3
Original release 14 January 1974 (1974-01-14) – 26 March 1992 (1992-03-26)

You and Me is a BBC television programme for pre-school children broadcast in the 1970s to 1990s. The programmes consisted of various segments intended to educate and entertain young children and included elements for early literacy and numeracy. Although the programme ended in 1992, repeats of the programme continued until 1995.


The first programme, called "Moving house", was broadcast at 10:45 am 14 January 1974 on BBC1, The series was influenced by the American series Sesame Street and the research done by the Children's Television Workshop. It also took guidance from the analysis of children's needs in The Warnock Report, 1978. It aimed therefore, in the jargon of the time, to be very much a "child-centred series" with an emphasis on a child's independence, enjoyment, and understanding. Emotional and social education were held to be as important as more traditional school skills. Relationships with the presenters, who were surrogate parents and carers, were seen as central. There was an assumption that most children watching would be in the company of an adult.


The series' original intention was to teach children safety, reading and emotional well-being. The show featured a mixture of human actors and puppets. In 1979 it featured the actor Tony Hughes as Herbert The Handyman, along with the puppet characters Mr Bits and Pieces and Purrfecta the Cat. Herbert was portrayed as a well-meaning but inept handyman, who invariably made a hopeless mess of any odd job he was called upon to do. Although only 5 episodes of Herbert the Handyman were made, they were repeated until 1983. Episodes were also introduced by either:

  • Two stop frame animations, called Alice (a hamster) and Crow.
  • a puppet dragon called Duncan and humans called Vicki (Jan-Feb 1979) and later Sam (Sept 1979-Feb 1982)
  • Purrfecta the Pussycat and a human called Stephen. (They only featured together in a Maths unit April–May 1980)

Cosmo and Dibs era

In January 1983, two new puppets were introduced. They were a pair of friends of an uncategorisable animal species; Cosmo, a female, from the North East of England, and Dibs, male, a Londoner, both of whom lived in a street market.

The set was based on a street market in London’s Shepherd's Bush. Each programme featured a four-minute sketch with Cosmo and Dibs on an area of child interest: sharing, eating, arguing, bullying, sleeping, bereavement, dressing up, being silly, having a row, make-believe, making poetry – there were no limits, as long as the sketch was considered relevant and useful to the target audience.

The scripts aimed to inform, educate and entertain and see the world from a child’s point of view. Explicitly the aim was not to patronise.

By the early 90s the format had changed, Cosmo and Dibs were now in a house along with another puppet called Baxter and two humans. The series dealt with more common matter, with the running time reduced by 5 minutes. In 1990, a fourth puppet character called Spike was also introduced.


The presenters who appeared were cast from a diverse range of age-groups and social and ethnic backgrounds;

  • Annette Badland
  • Michael Balfour
  • Jeni Barnett
  • Charubala Chokshi
  • Tony Hughes (who played the part of Herbert The Handyman)
  • Vicky Ireland
  • Joe Barton (Puppeteer and voice of Duncan the Dragon)
  • Isabelle Lucas
  • Clive Mason also joined the cast for programmes relevant to the deaf community.
  • Bill Owen
  • Anton Phillips
  • Christopher Lillicrap
  • Harry Towb
  • Frances Kay (Puppeteer and voice of Cosmo)
  • Michael Snelders
  • Maggie Ollerenshaw
  • Simon Buckley (Puppeteer and voice of Baxter)
  • Richard Coombs (Puppeteer and voice of Spike)
  • Bharti Patel
  • Francis Wright (Puppeteer and voice of Dibs)
  • Larrington Walker
  • Gary Wilmot

Puppet characters

  • Crow and Alice
  • Duncan the Dragon
  • Mr Bits-and-Pieces
  • Purrfecta the Cat
  • Cosmo and Dibs

Cosmo and Dibs were played by Frances Kay and Francis Wright who puppeteered and voiced the characters throughout the series. The puppets were made by Muppet-maker and performer Tim Rose, and the scripts were written by members of the production team and cast.

Henry the Kangaroo

From 1981 until 1992 the show also included a regular item featuring Henry the Kangaroo, an animated cartoon incorporating live action. The item introduced 'social sight words' such as STOP and EXIT. Henry would say each time: 'I'm looking for the words in my book again...' His farewell line was: "Toodle-oo from the kangaroo, toodle-oo from me to you". Henry was voiced by Nigel Lambert.

Theme tune

The Theme was written by Charley Dore, Julian Littman and Karl Johnson, and was originally an acoustic version. In 1983 it was replaced with a reggae version performed by UB40 which lasted until the series finished in 1992:

You and me, me and you,
Lots and lots for you to do,
Lots and lots for you to see,
Me and you, you and me …

The lyrics were referenced in the Oasis song "She's Electric", "Cos I'll be you and you'll be me, there's lots and lots for us to see, lots and lots for us to do".

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