Rainbow is a British children's television series, created by Pamela Lonsdale, which ran on the ITV network, from 1 September 1972 to 31 December 1992. It ran twice weekly at 12:10, first on Mondays and Wednesdays, then on Tuesdays and Fridays, and finally on Fridays only. It was intended to develop language and number skills for pre-school children, and went on to win the Society of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Children's Programme in 1975.

The show had three producers over its lifetime - Pamela Lonsdale, Charles Warren and Joe Boyer.

The programme was originally conceived as a British equivalent of long-running American educational puppet series Sesame Street. The British series would be developed in house by Thames Television, and had no input from the Children's Television Workshop.

After more than 1000 episodes (a total of 1071 episodes with 23 seasons), the series came to an abrupt end when Thames Television handed its ITV franchise over to Carlton Television on New Year's Eve 1992. Since then, it has gained cult status and continues to get frequent mentions on radio and television.

Children's ITV picked up the programme for its Friday slot during its thirteenth season on 7 January 1983.


Each episode of Rainbow revolved around a particular activity or situation that would arise in the Rainbow House, where the main characters lived. Usually, it would involve some kind of squabble or dispute between the puppet characters of Zippy, George and Bungle, and Geoffrey's attempts to calm them down and keep the peace. The main story would be interspersed with songs (usually from Rod, Jane and Freddy, although, guest singers would occasionally take their place), animations, and stories read from the Rainbow storybook, usually by Geoffrey. Some episodes would focus on a particular theme, such as sounds or opposites, and would consist mainly of short sketches or exchanges between the main characters, rather than a consistent storyline.