Rainbow was a British children’s television series, created by Pamela Lonsdale, which ran from 16 October 1972 to 24 March 1997. It was intended to develop language and social skills for pre-school children, and went on to win the Society of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Children’s Programme in 1975. It aired five times weekly, twice weekly on Mondays and Wednesdays then Tuesdays and Fridays, and finally once weekly at 12:10 on Fridays on the ITV network.
The show had three producers over its lifetime – Pamela Lonsdale, Charles Warren and Joe Boyer.
The programme was originally conceived as a British equivalent of long-running American educational puppet series Sesame Street. The British series would be developed in house by Thames Television, and had no input from the Children’s Television Workshop.
After more than 1,000 episodes (a total of 1071 episodes with 27 series), the series came to an abrupt end when Thames Television handed its ITV franchise over to Carlton Television on New Year’s Eve 1992. Since then, it has gained cult status and continues to get frequent mentions on radio and television. A few DVDs have been produced, including one celebrating 30 Years of Rainbow.