Dick and Dom, aka Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood, were the saviours of Saturday morning television. When Dick and Dom in da Bungalow first appeared on BBC1 in September 2003 it finally broke away from the long-running Swap Shop/Superstore/Going Live!/Live and Kicking format which had served Saturday mornings well for twenty-five years, by shunning pop bands and celebrities; instead the show was based around games, mess, mayhem, surrealism and Dick and Dom's banter and barbed asides, and not forgetting its most notorious creation, 'Bogies'. And it was rare amongst children's programmes in having a devoted following amongst people much older than the target audience.
The show actually began one year earlier as a cheap filler for weekend mornings on the CBBC digital channel. But following the unexpected success of the show, it was promoted to BBC1, with the dismal Saturday Show relegated to the summer. The Sunday shows, meanwhile, remained CBBC channel-only - and possibly because of this still managed to retain an edge over Saturday's programmes, Dick and Dom pushing the boundaries on what they could get away with on a children's programme.
Dick and Dom in da Bungalow was live, apparently unrehearsed and certainly unscripted. No other programme on television programmes allowed the participants, or 'bungalowheads', and presenters so much freedom to be themselves.
Each Saturday's show ended in a Creamy Muck Muck Grand Finale which involved all the participants, and the bungalow, getting covered in mess - the clean-up for the next day's show must have been an unenviable task. Sunday's highlight was the Forfeit Auction, hosted by Tomdickandharry, who bore more than a passing resemblance to Richard McCourt. Other regular characters included DC Harry Batt, the Prize Idiot, the cat, Raymond Farmer, the half dog/half chicken Barky Cluckinson, Martin Floppyhorns and Peter Milford, while unbeknownst to anyone else, Diddy Dick and Dom were usually to be found lurking in the cupboard.
The final show aired on Saturday 11th March 2006, and Bungalow characters past and present gathered for a farewell song, before they all got covered in the 'usual'.
Although Da Bungalow has closed its front door for good, the show's impact has continued to be felt. Throughout autumn 2006, The Slammer, CBBC's sitcom-cum-variety show set in a prison (bizarrely enough), starred several familiar Bungalow faces , along with guest appearances from the likes of Syd Little, Showaddywaddy and Keith Harris and Orville.
Then on 12 January 2007, one of Da Bungalow's most popular characters, the no-nonsense Geordie detective Harry Batt, played by Ian Kirkby, landed his own spin-off show on CBBC. Also featuring Bungalow regulars Dave Chapman, Melvin Odoom, Lee Barnett (Da Bungalow's Prize Idiot), and even Dick and Dom themselves in a cameo role, this hilarious episode saw Batt and his crack team of police officers investigating a spate of illegal sofa-bouncing. More recently, Diddy Dick and Dom have also landed their own series on CBBC, including Diddy Movies and Diddy TV.
Text copyright © Robert Williams, images copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation