Lost Gems: Jigsaw (1979-1984)

Some crazy yet scary kids fun with Sylvester McCoy, Janet Ellis and Mr Noseybonk


Back in the 80s, there was a man who was legendary in kids’ TV: Clive Doig. A producer of Vision On and creator of Puzzle Trail, The Deceivers, Eureka, Beat The Teacher, The Album, Abracadabra, Johnny Ball Reveals All, Eat Your Words and See It Saw It, he was also the man behind the Trackwords puzzles in Radio Times (if you don’t remember them, they’re were 3×3 squares of letters from which you had to make as many words as possible). A talented man, I’m sure you’ll all agree.

But he’s probably best known as the creator of Jigsaw, an especially surreal piece of kids TV that ran from 1979 to 1984.

Jigsaw cast

Hosted initially by Janet Ellis – who went on to host Blue Peter – it combined puzzles, comedy sketches and just about any weird shit that came into Doig’s mind, including the supposedly fun but actually terrifying Mr Noseybonk (pictured above) who would run around parks a lot (nothing suspicious about that), the O-Men (Sylvester McCoy and David Rappaport), who could be summoned by words containing double-o letters

The O-Men

Pterry the Pterodactyl (a puppet), Biggum the giant (a blue-screened foot) and Jigg, the talking jigsaw piece.


It also featured mime artist Adrian Hedley, who – as well as playing Mr Noseybonk – didn’t say a single word for the entire first series, despite being Ellis’s co-host.

Throughout the show, the presenters and supporting characters came together to solve a number of puzzles. These puzzles would then contribute to one larger conundrum that would be revealed at the end of the show. The viewer was encouraged to take part and solve the puzzles at home.

That’s the description but it really doesn’t do the show justice, so here’s an actual episode, complete with marvellous theme tune. And for you, trivia fans, note that Janet Ellis is pregnant in this episode, so this is technically one of the first on-screen appearances of pop star Sophie Ellis-Bexter. Oh, and that I won a Jigsaw book in a competition when I was seven.