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15 Popular Nigerian TV Shows Of The 80s: Which Were Your Favourites?



The 80s can be described as the golden era of TV in the history of Nigeria. TV Shows Of The 80s

The period was marked with riveting and captivating soap operas and sitcoms.


Nigerian TV Shows Of The 80s

Prior to the 90s, Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) had monopoly on TV broadcast in Nigeria. So, expectedly, these evergreen TV shows  were viewed on the resident NTA stations in the different states or on its national network broadcast.

Briefly, we would be throwing up some nostalgia by throwing up some of these TV shows of the 80s. Now, let’s go.


1. Samanja

Samanja was a hilarious comedy show that ran from 1973 to the late 80s.

Usman Baba Pategi played the main character, Sergeant Samanja, a hilarious soldier.

The show is set in a military barracks and depicts various situations and escapades of Samanja in the barrack.

On the show, Samanja’s verbal style alternated between Hausa and ‘soldier speak,’ a mix of English and Hausa, and pidgin.


2. Village Headmaster

The Village Headmaster is Nigeria’s first and longest-running soap opera on the NTA.

The first series of The Village Headmaster ran from 1968 to 1984  before being paused, and the second phase had its run from 1985 to 1991.

Olusegun Olusola created the series, which was produced by Dejumo Lewis and developed by Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Village Headmaster was set in the fictitious Yoruba village of Oja, and the plot revolved around social issues and the impact of government policies on indigenous peoples.

It’s cast included Ted Mukoro (Headmaster #1); Femi Robinson (Headmaster #2); Justus Esiri (Headmaster #3); Dejumo Lewis (Kabiyesi); Clara Olushola as headmaster’s wife (Clara Fagade); Albert Egbe (Lawyer Odunuga); Ibidun Allison (Amebo); Jab Adu (Bassey Okon); Funso Adeolu (Senior Chief); Joe Layode (Teacher Garuba); etc.


3. Hotel De Jordan

Hotel De Jordan was a popular sitcom on Midwest Television (MTV), which later merged with Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

Joe Ihonde created and produced the show, which debuted in 1973 and was produced by NTA Benin.

The theme of the show was to expose the class struggle of the rich, the poor, and the opportunist clique that feeds on national resources.

It starred Sam Osamede as Chief Ajas, Musa Yusufu as Lord Mayor, Agbonifo Enaruna as Idemudia, Richard Idubor as Bob Allan, David Ariyo as Kokori, Joseph Edobor as Okhue, O’Ray slater as Casino Manager, Sam Loco Efe as Chief Ukatabribri, Emma Oni as Osiobaifo, and others.


4. Icheoku

Nigerian TV Shows Of The 80s

Icheoku is a popular NTA comedy show from the 1980s that aired for over a decade before ending in 1992.

The show, set in the colonial era, featured daily interactions between a British District Commissioner (dubbed Nwa DC by the locals) played by Chukwubiko Okereke and his Igbo court clerk and interpreter (Court Clerk Williams) played by Lomaji Ugorji. They presided over civil and criminal cases brought by the villagers.

The show began on radio and later moved to a national TV show produced by NTA Enugu.

TV Shows Of The 80s


5. Bala Miler Show

The Bala Miller Show was a variety show that aired on the NTA from 1983 to 1986 at 8 p.m.

Bala Miller was a well-known musician who had several hits in the 1970s. His show had a significant impact on the development of Nigeria’s highlife music scene.

NTA Kaduna produced the Bala Miller show.


6. Tales by Moonlight

Tales By Moonlight was a 30-minute children’s television program that narrated traditional African folklore.

The TV show, which aired every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on NTA, debuted in 1984 and lasted until the 1990s.

Each episode featured a woman, simply known as ‘Aunty,’ played by Nkem Orakwe, narrating various dramatized folklore tales to a group of children seated beneath a tree.


7. Cockcrow at Dawn

Cockcrow at Dawn was an agriculture-themed educational drama that premiered in 1980.

It was established as part of then-President Shehu Shagari’s Green Revolution” agricultural promotion initiative.

Peter Igho produced the drama, which was sponsored by UBA, and Matt Dadzie directed it.

George Menta (Bello), Tola Awobode Akinjobi (Lare), Karim Yero (Uncle Gaga), Ene Oloja (Zemaye), Sadiq Daba (Bitrus), and others were among the cast members.

Bongos Ikwue composed and performed the program’s theme song, also titled “Cockcrow At Dawn.”


8. New Masquerade

Nigerian TV Shows Of The 80s

During the 1980s and early 1990s, The New Masquerade aired on the NTA on Tuesday nights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. It was one of the country’s longest-running sitcoms.

The show was written and created by James Iroha, who also played Giringori on the TV show.

The TV show began as a radio program called The Masquerade, which aired on the East Central State Broadcasting Corporation in Enugu.

It was created after the civil war to bring laughter into the homes of citizens who had been devastated by the Nigerian Civil War.

Chika Okpala (Zebrudaya alias 4.30), Lizzy Evoeme (Ovularia), Claude Eke (Jegede Sokoya), James Iroha (Giringori Akabogu), Christy Essien-Igbokwe (Apena), and David Ofor (Clarus) were among the cast members.


9. Mirror in the Sun

Mirror in the Sun was a Sunday night soap opera that aired on the NTA network from January 1984 to January 1986.

There were a total of 52 episodes aired during its run. Lola Fani-Kayode wrote and produced the show in collaboration with the production company Cinekraft Ltd.

The plot of the show is based on the lives of a group of middle and upper-class Nigerian families who live in a block of apartments in Lagos.

Lari Williams (Ladipo), Florence Edo (Ladipo’s mother), Ameze Giwa-Osagie (Ebiere), Barbara Soky (Yinka Fowole), Omawumi Efueye (Tosan), Clarion Chukwura (Tinu), Enebeli Elebuwa (Chike), Dupe Adetuwo (Ranti Tokunbo), and others are among the cast members.



10. Behind the Clouds

Behind the Clouds was one of the soap operas that kept TV viewers glued to their screens in the mid-1980s.

The drama series depicted the lives of families in Jos, Plateau State.

Paul Emema, the producer of ‘Behind the Clouds,’ has also worked on other soap operas such as ‘Supple Blues.’

Zack Amata (Papa Efe), Franca Brown (Mama Efe), Evelyn Ikuenobi Otaigbe (Efe), Mac Arthur Fom (Nosa), Bayo (Dan Emeni), Ene Oloja (Funmi), and others were among the show’s cast members.


11. Basi and Company

Basi and Company aired on NTA from 1986 to 1990.

Ken Saro-Wiwa wrote and produced the show, which was shot in Enugu.

On the show, the main character Basi (also known as Mr. B) aspires to amass wealth through his illogical schemes, and his motto is “To be a millionaire, think like a millionaire!”

It is still one of Africa’s most popular comedy shows, with an estimated thirty million viewers at its peak.

The cast included Albert Egbe (Mr B #1), Zulu Adigwe (Mr B #2), Aso Ikpo-Douglas (as Aso Douglas) (Madam), Tekena Harry-McDonald (Alali), Lasa Amoro (Dandy), Emmanuel Okutuate (Josco), Affiong Usani (Segi #1), Ethel Ekpe (Segi #2), Mildred Iweka (Segi #3).


12. Things Fall Apart

Chinua Achebe’s popular novel was adapted into a TV series by NTA in 1987.

David Orere directed the highly successful tv series, which aired on the NTA network.

Pete Edochie played the lead character of Okonkwo. Funso Adeolu, Fabian Adibe, Justus Esiri, Nduka Eya, David Ihesie, Sam Loco Efe, Nkem Owoh, Manly Rollings, Marius Ugada, and others performed in the Television special.

13. Ripples

Ripples was a popular television show that aired on NTA from 1988 to 1993.

Alex Usifo (Talaab Abass), Patrick Doyle (Melvin Dehinde-Phillips), Babara Soky (Daphne Wellington-Cole), and many others were among the cast members.

Ripples also gave a young girl named Genvieve Nnaji her first television role.


14. Second Chance

‘Second Chance’ was a popular television show from the mid to late 1980s. It was based on the English sitcom “Mind Your Language,” which was about adult education.

Second Chance was set in a classroom with a teacher attempting to blend in semi-average students from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds.


15. Checkmate

Nigerian TV Shows Of The 80s

Checkmate is a television series that aired on the NTA network from Thursday, April 4, 1991 to Thursday, April 4, 1994.

Amaka Igwe created the series, which was sponsored by Lever Brothers Nigeria.

The story is set in Lagos and revolves around the Haatrope family, their enemies who are out to destroy their business and legacy, and their friends and associates.

Checkmate’s cast members included Ego Nnamani-Boyo (Ann Haatrope), Francis Agu (Benny), Bob-Manuel Udokwu (Richie), Richard Mofe Damijo (Segun Kadiri), Kunle Bamtefa (Chief Fuji), Mildred Iweka (Ada Okereke), Bimbo Manuel (Nduka), and others.


Notable Mentions

Adio  Family,  Sunny Side Of Life, Sura the Tailor, Koko Close, Awada Kerikeri, Third Eye, Mind Bending,  Magana Jarice, Wind Against My Soul, Alawada, House No. 13, Mind Bending, Hot Cash (Willy Willy).Adio  Family,  Sunny Side Of Life, Sura the Tailor, Koko Close, Awada Kerikeri, Third Eye, Mind Bending,  Magana Jarice, Wind Against My Soul, Alawada, House No. 13, Mind Bending, Hot Cash (Willy Willy).