3rd March 1963

First ever broadcast of Puffin’s Pla(i)ce

Puffin’s Pla(i)ce debuted across the Channel Islands in March 1963. Based around a childrens’ birthday slot, it was broadcast on the local ITV station, Channel Television. As its name suggests, it was “co-presented” by Oscar Puffin, a puppet who was soon to become famous across both bailiwicks.

Despite a change of franchisee, Puffin’s Pla(i)ce stayed on air until 15 September 2013. At that point, it was retired from the daily schedule, and switched to the web. Oscar Puffin remains something of a celebrity, though, and occasionally pops up – or is referred to – in locally-produced programmes.

Birth of a local celebrity

Oscar Puffin “hatched” on Burhou, northwest of Alderney, in time to start working at Channel Television upon its launch in September 1962.

The channel ran a competition, asking viewers were name him. Perhaps in an effort to avoid any accusations that it was favouring one island over any other he was given a long, convoluted name, which mixed a range of suggestions from both Guernsey and Jersey residents.

With three middle names, his full title is Oscar Grosnez Corbiere Claud Puffin. He became the channel’s official mascot, and outlasted all other mascots used on the ITV network.

A team of one

Oscar Puffin’s slot was the only dedicated children’s programme produced by Channel Television. The Stage and Television Today alluded to this on 22 July 1976. Outlining a season of children’s drama on ITV, it described what each local broadcaster had planned, and noted that:

Channel does not make its own children’s programmes as such. What it does have is a pupped called Oscar Puffin who pops up from time to time with the continuity announcer and gives birthday messages and greetings to local children.

Puffin’s Pla(i)ce appeared in various slots throughout the schedules over the years, but early television listings consistently include it on Saturday evenings, running for 15 minutes from 5.50pm.

 

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Other events that occured in March

Debut of Guernsey-set comedy This is Jinsy 1st
Channel 4 broadcasts Sark-based Mr Pye 2nd
First ever broadcast of Puffin’s Pla(i)ce 3rd
Dead man appointed to run Guernsey Airport 4th
Guernsey’s entire police force is arrested 5th
Isle of Guernsey delivered to its new owners 6th
Guernsey players set darts record
Guernsey heads call for an end to the Eleven-plus 7th
Guernsey’s first governor, Edmund Weston, is appointed 8th
Occupying forces mount a desperate raid on Granville 9th
Guernsey emergency services prepare for a disaster 10th
Birth of Baron James de Saumarez 11th
First publication of Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea 12th
Building work starts on Guernsey Airport 13th
Guernsey’s island-wide police force is established 14th
Guernsey exchange student goes missing in Virginia 15th
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is published 16th
BBC Radio Guernsey takes to the air
Guernsey clears up after heaviest snow in years 17th
Torrey Canyon spills oil on Guernsey’s beaches 18th
Guernsey issues banknotes featuring famous locals 19th
Guernsey guidebook pioneer Henry Inglis dies 20th
Soldiers staged a mutiny at Fort George 21st
Alderney arrest sparks a “riot” 22nd
Guernsey nurse Elizabeth Lincoln elected to the States 23rd
Famed printer Thomas de la Rue born 24th
Guernsey votes for equal age of consent 25th
Guernsey to UK telephone connection inaugurated 26th
Condor Liberation enters service 27th
Guernsey Post Office is established 28th
Enemy at the Door comes to the end of its run 29th
Guernsey adopts Sterling currency 30th
Guernsey and France tackle the Amoco Cadiz oil spill 31st