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7 TV shows and films on Italian telly ‘80s kids in Malta used to love
Those years flew by!

Rebecca Anastasi

1. Bim Bum Bam

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Homework sessions were often cut short in the rush to watch Bim Bum Bam, on Italia Uno (and later Canale 5). It started, promptly, at 4pm every day, which meant you’d only have a couple of hours to eat and scribble your work for the next school day. Featuring a pink (yes, pink!) dog, called Uan (the Italian pronunciation for the English ‘one’) – and later a lion called Ambrogio – this show delighted young kids in Malta every afternoon, without fail!

2. All those Japanese cartoons!

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And part of Bim Bum Bam’s attraction was that it framed two hours of glorious anime, dubbed in Italian. Kiss Me Licia, Johnny E Quasi Magia, Magica Emmy, Occhi di Gatto, Holly e Benji and Mila e Shiro (the show which inspired me to join my school’s volleyball team!) all religiously followed. Songs were memorised, characters adored and lives enriched by the fantastic – and fantastical – storytelling! (and, yes, it really did take two episodes for Holly to run from one end of a football pitch to the other!).

3. Live-action Kiss Me Licia 

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Inspired by the Japanese cartoon telling the tale of a young girl – Licia – who falls in love with a rock musician – Mirko – this live-action show proved so popular, several seasons were made. It starred singer Christina D’Avena, who crooned the opening songs of all Italian-dubbed anime and, while it was more popular with the girls, the marketing campaign which surrounded it made it a household name with everyone under 15!

4. The Fantozzi films

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Initially released in 1975, Fantozzi, a satirical comedy about an Italian salaryman – our anti-hero, Ugo Fantozzi, created and played by Paolo Villagio – may have frequently depicted the most embarrassing, and politically incorrect, of situations, but that’s why we loved it. It was the story of an underdog, dissatisfied at work and at home, with a daughter (played by a boy), who was said to ‘look like a monkey’. It wouldn’t have been made nowadays but the charades it depicted made us howl with laughter!

5. Casa Vianello

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A marriage made in hell? I remember watching this with my grandmother and aunts, in the evening, who would never miss an episode. Starring Raimondo Vianello (hence the name), and his real-life wife, Sandra Mondaini, the sitcom depicted the domestic escapades of the pair, whose marriage wouldn’t fit in today’s Insta-obessessed #lifegoals. They bickered, they teased each other and they seemed to get on each other’s nerves quite a bit. And, Mondaini was even given a catchphrase! Che noia! Che barba!

6. Those American adventure TV series

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The A-team, Riptide, Supercar and, of course, the inimitable MacGyver were the backbone of all ‘80s kids’ childhoods – and pretty educational too (though we never told our parents)! Wanted to pick a lock? You just needed to watch any MacGyver episode in which Richard Dean Anderson would get himself – and his friends – out of trouble with his nifty engineering skills. Learnt the power of teamwork? Well, that was all due to Hannibal, Face, Murdoch and B.A. Baracus (aka Mr T). These shows have informed our very lives!

7. The Goonies

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If you ADORE Stranger Things (like many of us), you might want to watch the film which inspired it all: The Goonies. An American adventure film directed by Richard Donner and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, this introduced us to the Goon Ducks, aka Mikey Walsh, his older brother Brandon, and his friends, Data, Mouth and Chunk who embarked on a quest to find a treasure and save their homes from being transformed into a golf course. Pirates, booby traps, and hide-outs abounded but it was the power of friendship which pulled them through!

13th August 2019


Rebecca Anastasi
Written by
Rebecca Anastasi
Rebecca has dedicated her career to writing and filmmaking, and is committed to telling stories from this little rock in the Mediterranean.

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