rogue

A ranking of the most unsettling kids' TV characters that'll haunt us until our dying days.

Every now and then, I have strange flashbacks.

Demonic rag dolls. Disembodied lips. A giant alien-like creature with a mouth that looks disturbingly like a woman’s v… nevermind.

It’s unsettling at first. But then I remember that it’s all just from afternoon television shows I watched, entirely unsupervised, as a very small child.

Phew.

Here’s a countdown of some of the most truly unsettling characters ever to ‘entertain’ Aussie youth.

8. The Sun Baby from Teletubbies.

(Unsettling) image: ABC.

The spirit of an infant burning in a giant celestial sphere of hot gases.

And giggling about it.

Cool.

7. The entire cast of In the Night Garden.

(Tripped out) image: ABC.
ADVERTISEMENT

Igglepiggle, Makka Pakka, Upsy Daisy, The Tombliboos.

That show is basically a 28-minute fever dream, and I would really like to wake up now.

6. McDuff and Alfred from Johnson and Friends.

(Concerning) image: ABC.

A concertina with unblinking eyes. A hot-water bottle whose face is fixed in a silent scream.

These pals make the list mainly because it's clear that they must have seen some messed up s**t in that Michael kid's bedroom.

5. The Mulligrubs face.

These days, when you think TV host, you think Sonia Kruger, or Osher. But if you were a kid in the late '80s to mid '90s, you'd probably think 'that set of two-dimensional, disembodied facial features' from Mulligrubs.

Warning: watch this, and the words 'green tree frog' may become a lifelong trigger for nightmares.

Video by ABC

I'm going to hold back a little here, because there was a real human being behind that floating mouth.

She was a professional actor and seemingly very normal woman named Diana Kidd, who had to spend an hour each day having makeup plastered over a balaclava so she could amuse/terrify small children. Also, she told news.com.au a few years back that the mouth's deeply unsettling metallic baby voice had been heavily manipulated, which is... slightly comforting, I guess.

ADVERTISEMENT

4. The worm from The Book Place.

(Weirdly phallic) image: Channel 7.

Hands up if you learned to read with the help of a giant, phallic worm in a bowtie?

The Book Place was a wholesome, educational, afternoon TV classic throughout the '90s. But I'm sorry, in hindsight, this guy and his demon eyes were very unsettling.

Also... how did he tie his tie, please?

3. Beverley from Lift Off.

(Not Ok) image: ABC.

Beverley was a potted plant that sat in the corner of Mr Fish's office foyer.

She had an eye.

And every now and then you'd go THROUGH THE EYE to watch mini nature documentaries about lyrebirds and reptiles and other such nonsense.

ADVERTISEMENT

Look, we probably learned things. But still.

2. This bloke from Plasmo that looked like a vulva.

(Terrifying) image: ABC.

There is no way a woman is responsible for this.

That is all.

Oh, no. Wait! His eye also popped out. So there's that.

1. EC from Lift Off.

(Horrifying) image: ABC.

A doll. A grubby baby doll. A grubby sentient baby doll. A grubby, sentient baby doll with special powers AND. NO. FACE.

Sleep well, children.


Sign up for our weekly "TV and Movies" newsletter. Every week, our Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik gives you a backstage pass to the best movies, TV shows and celebrity interviews.


00:00 / ???