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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: To celebrate its 30th anniversary, six episodes were released on DVD. Apart from a few other compilation DVDs from the same company that featured other shows, for a while there weren't many Rainbow episodes available to see, apart from taped episodes by viewers at the time of airing on video sites. However, there is now an official Rainbow channel on Youtube which has been uploading episodes, including the entirety of the rarely-seen first series.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • "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.