The concept was simple. A well-known actor or TV presenter would read out a story from a book which was accompanied by some illustrations. This was a pure and simple TV show that had a calming effect on children just before tea time.
A TV listing for 19th October 1981 shows that Mighty Mouse was aired just before Jackanory came on at 4.25pm. Although I did an awful lot of reading when I was young, I still suspect that I either switched off the TV or changed channels as soon as Mighty Mouse had finished. After a long day at school, the last thing I needed was to be read another "boring" story.
However, as I grew older there came a time when I did make the effort to watch Jackanory (I say effort, it was probably pouring with rain outside) and, much to my surprise, I became absorbed in the story being read out. Well, now I was hooked and I found myself slowly turning into a geek and watching almost episode. The story-tellers I have the fondest memories of were Bernard Cribbins, Spike Milligan, Kenneth Williams and Brian Cant, although I do remember there being a lot of hype about Prince Charles reading one of his own books The Old Man of Lochnagar.
There were around 3500 episodes broadcast between 1965 and 1996 on BBC1. Alan Bennett read the final story on 24th March 1996 and this was A. A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner. Two new episodes were broadcast on CBBC in November 2006.
Bernard Cribbins on Jackanory