LEGENDARY TV show Crackerjack! is returning this Friday –– and former presenter Stu Francis says the show still holds its magic.

Bolton comedian Stu presented the popular children’s programme between 1980 and 1984, when its original run ended.

Now, the BBC has revived the show with duo Sam and Mark at the helm.

Stu, who features in the first episode alongside other former presenters including Bernie Clifton, Don Maclean, Jan Hunt and Basil Brush, said: “I was at the studio watching them and I think they have nailed it. The boys know what they are doing and they are well in control.

“The programme looks great - the set is magnificent. It was brilliant when we walked in the studio and they announced us to the studio. It was like we had never been away.”

The first episode of Crackerjack! aired on BBC One on September 14, 1955. There were 451 editions of the original Crackerjack!, broadcast over 29 years, where it was the longest running kids TV variety show.

The show is set to retain a madcap mix of magic, laugh-out-loud humour, games and music but with a modern twist.

Stu said that 36 years later, the show has still retained its quality and will be a welcome addition to the BBC’s lineup.

He added: “It has still got that brightness, that pace and it is still so colourful. It has not lost anything. They have brought it into the modern era but they have not lost the magic of the programme.”

Stu is still active on the entertainment scene and can usually be found in pantomimes around the festive season.

A BBC Q&A revealed a funny encounter between the old guard and the new. Mark was asked: “What was your most embarrassing moment on the show?”

He replied: “I went to high-five Stu Francis when we introduced him and he left me hanging for what was around 30 seconds but felt like a lifetime.”

The first episode of the new Crackerjack! series will be on CBBC and BBC iPlayer from Friday, January 17 at 6pm.