Don Maclean: ‘I was an idiot’ quitting kids classic Crackerjack

The veteran funny man tells us why he must have been crackers to quit the iconic kids' TV show, which is making a comeback today!

Between 1973 and 1976, Don Maclean was half of a much-loved Crackerjack comedy duo performing sketches with Peter Glaze. But at the height of the show’s popularity, he made the momentous decision to leave.

“I was an idiot,” says Don, whose beaming smile is still instantly recognisable. “It was the biggest mistake of my entire life.”

Don is talking to us on set for the brand new incarnation, presented by CBBC’s Sam and Mark. Along with fellow veterans Bernie Clifton, Stu Francis, Jan Hunt and a very chatty Basil Brush, he has come to the BBC’s Manchester studios to take part in a sketch for the very first episode of the reboot.

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New hosts Sam and Mark (front, centre) with veteran Crackerjack! performer (l-r) Jan Hunt, Don Maclean, Basil Brush, Stu Francis and Bernie Clifton

Reminiscing about his days on the show, Don explains how he got wind of the fact that a producer had approached BBC Head of Light Entertainment Bill Cotton with a view to working with him.

“Bill said: ‘You leave Don where he is – we need him in Crackerjack'” he recalls. But the news would encourage the star to make a career-changing decision.

“I thought: ‘I’m going to leave Crackerjack. I’m such a household name, ITV will snap me up immediately!’” he says. “I sat by the phone waiting, and it never rang. I committed professional suicide!”

What channel is the new Crackerjack on?

CBBC. The crazy show will feature comedy sketches and games including Splatterjack and Double or Drop.

What time and day is the new Crackerjack on?

The new 10-part series of Crackerjack, fronted by Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes aka Sam and Mark, starts tonight at 6pm on CBBC.

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