Thirty years ago today, January 2nd, 1987, the BBC broadcast the first episode of Thundercats. Actually, they broadcast the first two episodes, edited together into one 40-minute story. And it was so good!
Britain lagged strangely behind America when it came to Thundercats - the other big toy ranges of the time, Transformers and He-Man came out more or less simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic, but at the start of 1987 the first Thundercats toys had only recently appeared on the toystore shelves, while America was almost getting bored with them by now. The second range of toys showed up over here a couple of months into 1987, and the third the following year.
The cartoon, though, was something else. Definitely a cut above the other toy-commercial cartoons we all loved back then (at the age of ten, they were pretty much the only things I watched on TV). He-Man used the Hanna-Barbera style of very limited animation, Transformers was also made on the cheap, but this time by taking the attitude of "it's only a kids' show, it doesn't matter if we draw the wrong robot now and then or colour them in wrong...". Thundercats is much more professional and well-made. And the scripts were fantastic, too, and the voice acting!
Couple that with the weather that winter - the heaviest snow I've ever seen combined with the layout of our back garden to give us six-foot snowdrifts to play in - and you've got the perfect childhood experience! Thundercats Hooooooooo!