I can forgive you for forgetting Bananaman up until this point. It was one of those childhood gems that featured heavily in the primary school years but was soon forgotten amidst the haze of growing up. In a nutshell, Bananaman was the superhero alter-ego of an adolescent boy named Eric Wimp (later renamed Eric Twinge), who upon eating a banana would pass puberty in a matter of seconds, grow to a fully-grown adult male and don a tight–fitting, blue superhero suit with a yellow banana cape in order to save the world. With the benefit of hindsight we can now see that the premise behind this story is more impossible than stopping a speeding train with your tongue, but it is exactly that ‘O.T.T.’ unrealism that made the series the success that it was. However, as with many cartoons, the characters came into life far before they hit the small screen. Bananaman as a character first appeared in the flagship edition of the kids’ comic called ‘Nutty’ back in early 1980. Due to its popularity, what started as a small, back page strip was soon given more space in ‘Nutty’ and then, when the comic merged with the ‘Dandy’ in 1985, Bananaman had two whole pages devoted to his adventures. In October 1983, the good folks at the BBC decided to televise Bananaman and made forty episodes that ran until April 1986, and they were repeated once more over a decade later in 1998. The idea behind Bananaman bares an uncanny resemblance to other famous superheroes and it has been said that it ‘…is essentially a parody of superman’. As a baby, Eric flew to Earth from the moon, whose banana-like crescent shape gave Eric his powers. Each week Bananaman faced a new super villain, including Captain Cream, Skunk Woman, Scotsman (he used to use his bagpipes to control a haggis), Impossible Man, Auntie (using remote-controlled balls of wool as weapons) and Appleman, Bananaman’s arch-enemy. Bananaman was actually very thick as a superhero; so much so that he adopted a sidekick called Crow, who was funnily enough, a crow.
There has never been such a stupidly brilliant kids’ program, and today’s youth are at a fundamental disadvantage due to the lack of Bananaman in their lives.
This is an original Hashmark article written by Ed Chappell in early 2006