100 Greatest Toys (Channel Four)

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index

100 Greatest Toys (2010, 151 minutes) was a list compiled by UK television company Channel Four to be the basis of a "countdown"-style tv programme that is now shown every year in late December as part of the channel's Christmas-period programming. The list was compiled from a combination of an ICM poll and an online vote on the channel's website.

The "C4" list is UK-centric and it tends to focus on toys from the second half of the Twentieth Century (unlike the museum's collection that has a default cutoff at around 1955).

The List

1: Lego2: Monopoly – 3: Dungeons and Dragons – 4: Wii – 5: Nintendo consoles – 6: Playstation consoles – 7: Scrabble – 8: Scalextric9: Trivial Pursuit – 10: Gameboy/other – 11: Star Wars toys – 12: Transformers – 13: Microsoft XBox – 14: He-Man and Masters of the Universe – 15: Cluedo – 16: Meccano17: Hornby train sets18: Connect 4 – 19: Airfix kits20: Action Man – 21: Matchbox cars22: Etch-a-Sketch – 23: Teddy bear24: Rubik Cube – 25: Atari consoles – 26: Play-doh – 27: Plasticine28: Subbuteo29: Spirograph – 30: Risk – 31: Rollerskates – 32: Top Trumps – 33: Yo-yo34: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles– 35: Chemistry sets36: Twister – 37: Pokemon – 38: Battleship – 39: Hotwheels – 40: Mousetrap – 41: Sylvanian Families – 42: Fuzzy Felt – 43: Jenga – 44: Frisbee – 45: Pictionary – 46: Chopper Bike – 47: Barbie48: Mastermind – 49: Yahtzee – 50: Playmobil Play People – 51: Slinky – 52: Operation – 53: Super Soaker water pistol – 54: Tamagotchi – 55: Game of Life – 56: Tonka Toys – 57: Space Hopper – 58: My Little Pony – 59: Kerplunk – 60: Care Bears – 61: 007 Aston Martin62: Mr Potato Head – 63: Evel Knievel stunt set – 64: Hungry Hippos – 65: Thunderbirds toys – 66: Hula-hoop – 67: Sindy Doll – 68: Tiny Tears – 69: Buckaroo – 70: Power Rangers – 71: Buzz Lightyear – 72: TY Beanie Babies – 73: Six Million Dollar Man – 74: Furby – 75: Escape From Colditz – 76: Polly Pocket – 77: Simon – 78: Cabbage Patch Kids – 79: Weebles – 80: Trolls – 81: Stylophone – 82: Girls World – 83: Crossfire – 84: Tickle Me Elmo – 85: Stretch Armstrong – 86: Magna Doodle – 87: Dr Who Cyberman mask – 88: Pop-O-matic games – 89: Clackers – 90: Johnny 7 machine gun – 91: Beyblades – 92: Striker – 93: Pippa Doll – 94: Peter Powell kites – 95: Bratz Dolls – 96: Major Matt Mason action – 97: Ben 10 Action Figures – 98: Holly Hobbie – 99: Teletubbies – 100: Raving Bonkers –

Anomalies

There seem to be some oddities in the final listings. Some of these may be due to the panel-based system of deciding which toys to include in the initial listings, and some may be due to the listers having to decide whether to include a specific toy from a range, the whole range (e.g. "Star Wars toys"), a manufacturer's brandname, or a complete genre ("Teddy bears").

There are also some odd inclusions and omissions ... for instance, while "bikes" might be represented by the 1970s Chopper Bike (#46), there is no corresponding entry for skateboards or rollerskates (or inline skates), and the inclusion of the American Major Matt Mason action figure (#96), which almost nobody in the UK seems to remember, appears to have been included on the voting list due to personal preference of programme presenter and list panellist Jonathan Ross (who ranked it as his personal #1). Century21 (who produced Thunderbirds), also had a range of spinoff Dinky Toys from their other science fiction shows, such as Joe 90 and Captain Scarlett, which don't appear on the list, and Dr Who is represented by a Cyberman mask rather than by a generic category (or a Dalek). It's also not clear how Beyblades got listed, why Matchbox are included but Dinky Toys aren't (other than the specific "Thunderbirds" range), or why Superman/Batman (etc.) products are missing (especially the classic 1960s Corgi Batmobile, which was almost as desirable as the James Bond Aston Martin). Frisbees are included but not Swingball. Barbie and Sindy dolls are listed, but popular "baby" dolls (including ones that were designed to leak from various places) don't appear.

Other notable omissions include toy cap-firing guns (which were very popular in the 1960s and 1970s due to cowboy films, but might not be considered non-PC), Buck Rogers rayguns, the Viewmaster 3D viewers, the Milton Bradley Star Bird spaceship with electronic sounds, Sooty and Sweep glove puppets, and dolls' houses.

Although the show's listing of "toys" includes some games such as Scrabble, and game consoles such as the Wii and Nintendo Gameboy, it doesn't include games that run on those platforms or arcade games, so iconic games such as Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pac-Man or Defender (and the recent "Angry Birds") don't appear on the list, perhaps due to an implied rule that perhaps a game can be treated as a toy if it is self-sufficient and can be bought as a self-contained item.

The show acknowledges that the surprisingly high ranking of Dungeons and Dragons (#3) on the list may have been skewed by the particular demographic of computer-owning Channel Four voters and may not be a reflection of the genre's popularity in the wider population.

Links

Other lists