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Entertainment of Saturday, 11 June 2022


Iconic TV shows viewers still hold dear

The series is considered to be one of the earliest successes of television drama in the country The series is considered to be one of the earliest successes of television drama in the country

Before the advent of social media and 24-hours programming, TV shows were some of the few sources of premium entertainment for many Nigerians. Saturday Beats takes a look at some of those Iconic TV shows, most of which have now been rested

Tales by Moonlight

‘Tales by Moonlight’ was created by the then Director of Programmes at the Nigerian Television Authority, Victoria Ezeokoli. Though it was not the only show for kids at the time, ‘Tales by Moonlight’ was one of the most popular. According to some reports, the show was meant to replicate the popular United States of America kiddies programme, ‘Sesame Street’, albeit in an African way. The programme featured children who usually sat in a large circle reminiscent of a typical Nigerian village setting, listening to stories being told by the host. At different times, the show was hosted by Jimi Solanke and Nkem Oselloka-Orakwue.

Village Headmaster

The ‘Village Headmaster’ was a television drama created by the late culture enthusiast, Olusegun Olusola; and produced by Dejumo Lewis.

Regarded as one of Nigeria’s longest-running television series, it ran for two decades. The series, which starred Ted Muroko as the pioneer headmaster, dwelt on topical issues such as inter-ethnic harmony, public affairs, health education and family. The series is considered to be one of the earliest successes of television drama in the country.

The show returned in April 2022 after 34 years of being rested. The new show features some members of the original cast, such as Dejumo Lewis (Kabiyesi), Ibidun Allison (Amebo), Dan Imodu (Dagbolu), Dele Osawe (Teacher Fadile). It also parades new members of cast including Chris Iheuwa, Mr Latin, Funky Mallam, Jide Kosoko, Faithia Williams, Rycardo Agbor and Yemi Shodimu.

New Masquerade

The ‘New Masquerade’ was aired on TV from the 1980s till the mid 1990s. It was created and written by James Iroha, who also acted as Giringori.

The cast of friends, wives, houseboys dished out premium humour to millions of Nigerians every Tuesday night from 8:30pm to 9:00pm.


‘Ripples’ ran for five years on NTA, before it stopped airing in 1993. Produced by Zeb Ejiro, the series featured some of the best actors of the time including Alex Usifo, Barbara Soky, Clarion Chukwura and Lola Alao.

The soap opera marked Genvieve Nnaji’s first TV role as a child actor, while Ngozi Nwosu played the role of Madam V-Boot, which often made viewers laugh as a result of her sense of humour.


‘Checkmate’ ran from 1991 to 1994. The series was created by the late Amaka Igwe and sponsored by Lever Brothers Nigeria.

Set in Lagos, the story focused on the aristocratic family, Haatrope, as they tried to survive attacks from enemies both within and outside of their family.

Some of the notable actors on the series were Segun Arinze, Francis Agu, Ego Boyo, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Kanayo Kanayo, Bob-Manuel Udowku.


‘Palace’ was another iconic show that dominated TV screens in the late 90s. The story portrayed the life of the rich and powerful Baker family and the intrigues that surrounded their lives. It not only showed the lives of the high and mighty, it also highlighted the many challenges they face in making sure they stay on top.

Produced by Tunji Bamishingbin and Ralph Nwadike, the series featured actors such as Jide Kosoko, Foluke Daramola-Salako, Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi, Femi Brainard and Jide Alabi.


‘Samanja’ was a hilarious TV series that started airing in 1973 on NTA Kaduna as well as Radio Kaduna. The show was so popular that it finally got a slot on national television, and quickly became the favourite of many, with the language changing from its original Hausa to pidgin English, to cater to audiences that did not understand Hausa.

The show was set in a military barracks with Usman Pategi playing the role of no-nonsense Sergeant Samanja, who handled his soldiers with firm hands, while also employing rib-cracking antics.

Koto Orun

This TV series was a Sunday night delight for many people in the South-Western part of the country.

Set in the pre-colonial era, the series dwelt on the battle between evil and good forces in a village. With engaging characters and a compelling plot, ‘Koto Orun’ is adjudged to be one of the best TV series produced in the country.

Actors on the series included Ojo Arowosafe (Fadeyi Oloro), Folake Aremu (Orisabunmi), Tajudeen Oyewole (Abija), Yekini Ajileye, Adedeji Aderemi (Olofa Ina) and Tajudeen Akanmu (Koledowo).

Mirror in the Sun

‘Mirror in the Sun’ was one of the most popular soap operas in Nigeria in its time. The show, which had 54 episodes, was written and produced by Lola Fani-Kayode alongside Cinecraft Limited.

The series revolved around a middle-class and satirised upper class, and it featured actors such as Larry Williams, Barbara Soky, Clarion Chukwura and Enebeli Elebuwa.

Basi and Company

Written and directed by the late poet, playwright and activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, ‘Basi and Company’ was a sitcom that ran from 1986 to 1990 on NTA, and was later syndicated across Africa.

Filmed in Enugu, the series centered on corruption and African folklore. It featured actors such as Albert Egbe, Zulu Adigwe, Tekana MacDonald, Lasa Amoro, Emmanuel Okutuate and Mildred Iweka.