Sunday, 31 December 2017

Say Hello to Your Friends ... Remembering the Baby-Sitters Club TV Series

After it was a best-selling series of books, and before it was a movie the Baby-Sitters Club was, you guessed it, a TV series. Comprising of thirteen episodes (unlucky for some,) the series had the same themes of friendship, fun, girl power and, of course baby-sitting.

In Australia the series made its debut on VHS in 1991. For the super well, high, price of $19.99 fans could purchase a video that comprised of a single episode. Unsurprisingly, my parents opted to hire most of the videos from that really big Movieland store that used to be on Dyson Road (keep in mind, this was the early 90s,) and my Grandma bought me a copy of Dawn and the Haunted House for Christmas. I'm not sure how many of the episodes were released here, certainly not all thirteen. Anyway, in late 1993 the episodes finally aired as part of Channel 2's Afternoon Show line up. (Quite possibly, because the Afternoon Show had temporarily ran out of episodes of Grange Hill or Degrassi Junior High to run. And HERE's a bit of trivia for 90s nostalgia lovers. At the time, the Afternoon Show was being hosted by none other than Michael Tunn. Yep. That's right. Tunny from The Request Fest was the host who introduced the Baby-Sitters Club TV series to viewers.)

Obviously, the series debuted in the USA well before it came to Australia. Researching it's history in the US was problematic. Wikipeadia, iTunes and IMDB all offered conflicting information, regarding original broadcast dates, formats, etc. The only consistent information I could find was:  

  • The first episode to air was Mary Anne and the Brunettes
  • The episodes were broadcast on HBO
  • All episodes were released on VHS
  • Meghan Andrews who played Mallory Pike received top billing and is still a working actress.
That was, at least, until I found an absolute gem of an article from none other than the New York Times. The article gives a great history of the series--apparently Scholastic (the BSC's publisher,) was quite keen to develop it into a television series, but television networks weren't quite as keen, and those who were wanted to change the format so that it would appeal to boys as well as girls. Scholastic put their foot down and developed it as a series of videos. The videos proved so popular that it was soon picked up by HBO and all thirteen episodes were eventually broadcast. 

And I still don't have official broadcast dates. (Hey, if anyone who worked on the show is reading this and has anything to add, I'd love to hear from you.)

Over the next few weeks, I'll be reviewing each of these episodes, just for fun. Expect a lot of nostalgia.

PS Do you remember watching the BSC TV Series? Which was your favourite episode?