Series / Rainbow

Up above the streets and houses, rainbow's climbing high; everyone can see it smiling over the sky. Paint the whole world with a rainbow!
The Theme Tune

Long-running UK kids' show, originally intended to be the British equivalent of Sesame Street, which, for the bulk of its long-running time, centered around puppets Zippy (a creature with a zipper for a mouth) and George (a camp hippopotamus), as well as a bear named Bungle and their human caretaker Geoffrey living in the Rainbow House. It started airing in 1972, and ended in 1992, followed by two spin-offs.

Many non-European viewers know the show for its infamous "twangers" episode which consisted of a half hour of proceedingly less veiled double entendres about the sexual escapades of the cast. The episode never actually aired as part of the show and was put together at a production party as a private joke, but has since migrated its way to YouTube and other such online video sites. Zippy and George also appeared on The Weakest Link.

Rainbow provides examples of:

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: This happens to Bungle in the episode "Bungle's High and Mighty Day". Bungle receives an invitation to Sooty's birthday party while Zippy and George don't, and this gets to his head. He suddenly decides that he is too 'grown-up' for sharing a room with Zippy and George, card games, sharing a bath, and even breakfast. What snaps him out of it is when he realises his haughty behaviour would result in him missing out on a bedtime story.
    • Zippy, George and Geoffrey get an invitation later on that day.
  • Ambiguously Gay: George
  • Anti-Role Model: Zippy is sometimes portrayed as this
  • Bears Are Bad News: Subverted and sort of played straight with Bungle. He's quite a nice character, but isn't exactly the brightest crayon in the box.
  • Big Eater: Zippy. Very much so.
  • Breakout Character: Zippy eclipsed the original main puppets, Sunshine and Moony, who were ultimately phased out. The first revival omitted a human host of any kind, thus making him, George and Bungle the main stars.
  • Cameo: The characters have made brief appearances in shows like Ashes to Ashes and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.
  • Canon Foreigner: Cleo the rabbit in one spin-off, Dale in the later 'Rainbow Days'. Fans tend to disregard their existence.
  • Cartoon Creature: Zippy. Word of God calls him 'a unique'.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: When the show premiered in 1972, the original "stars" of the show were two puppets named Sunshine and Moony, who would often have little conversations relating to the episode. Eventually, though, they were overshadowed in popularity by Zippy and disappeared without a trace in 1973.
  • Crossover: Sooty appeared a couple of times.
  • Diet Episode: As a long-running edutainment show for children, Rainbow has had several episodes about exercise and healthy eating. One notable example of such episode is Exercise Is Fun, in which Bungle takes his diet Up to 11 by constantly running around the garden, wanting to live off peas, and attempting to lift weights that are obviously too heavy for him.
  • Dream Sequence: Too many times to count.
  • Edutainment Show
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows
  • Guilty Pleasure
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his many faults, Zippy will usually apologize for his bad behavior.
  • Kicked Upstairs: In the first Rainbow spin-off, Zippy, Bungle and George (who were originally treated as children) are left to run a shop alone with no human caretaker of any kind.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Zippy
  • Later Installment Weirdness: The first Rainbow revival took a completely different premise, centred entirely around the puppet characters running a shop. The second Rainbow Days was closer to the original format, though still included a different set, presenter and theme tune.
  • Long-Runners: Over 1000 episodes between 1972 and 1992. Which would be long even by Japanese standards, but by British standards, it's an eternity!
  • Muppet
  • Not So Above It All: On rarer occasions, George or even Geoffrey would be the ones to screw up (if usually more through accidental circumstances than Zippy). One episode revolves around all four characters upsetting each other, as An Aesop that everyone makes mistakes.
  • Not Their Birthday: In the episode "Birthday, Wrong Day". After overhearing Geoffrey telling a friend over the phone that his birthday is "on the second", Zippy, Bungle and George assume this to mean it's on the second day of the month. They decide throw him a surprise party, when he tells them that his birthday is actually on the second week of the month, not the second day.
  • Odd Couple: Zippy and George differ between this and Like Brother and Sister.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Inverted somewhat. George is male yet has pink fur (which is actually appropriate). In the first spinoff, Cleo, the female rabbit, had blue fur.
  • Pride: Zippy has this in spades.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Paint. The. Whole. World. With. A. Rainboooooooow!"
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: Fitting, considering the show was made as a Transatlantic Equivalent of the show.
  • Short-Runners: The two revivals, in complete contrast to the original series, were very short lived. Rainbow Days lasted for only twelve episodes.
  • Spinoff: A series set in a toy shop, and Rainbow Days. Also, The Rod, Jane and Freddy Show which was an extended version of Rod, Jane and Freddy's musical skits in Rainbow.
  • Subverted Kids Show: Undergone this treatment, with the 'twangers' clip and Zippy and George's appearance in Ashes to Ashes.
  • Team Dad: Geoffrey.
  • Theme Tune Extended: A full variation of the original theme was recorded, which actually converts into a rather slow, psychedelic tune.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Zippy's cousin Zippo. They look more like twin brothers than cousins.
  • Unwanted Gift Plot: A subplot in the episode Auntie Pays a Visit. Geoffrey's aunt (played by Patsy Rowlands) gives the three puppets a present each, none of which are well-received. She gives Bungle a pink tricycle, George a woolly hat that's too small for him, and Zippy a baby doll. Bungle and George make little effort to hide their disappointment. Zippy makes none.
  • Vague Age: Neither Zippy, Bungle nor George have confirmed ages.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: Variation; a song is sung about how much of a 'bossy boots' Zippy is.
  • Vocal Evolution: Though Bungle went through multiple actors, they seemed to follow the consistent direction of making him squeakier and more childish sounding.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Plenty of these, even one imagining a backstory for Little Tommy Tucker.