The Big Yellow Teapot was based on two founding principles: little girls love dolls houses, and they also love playing with tea sets. This must-have iconic toy of the 80s combined both these loves so was always going to be a hit when it was released by the now-defunct Bluebird Toys in 1981.
The name said it all, really. The Big Yellow Teapot was a large, plastic, yellow teapot that opened up to reveal a play house inside. It came with little plastic, peg-like (a bit like primitive Playmobil people) family figures and various pieces of furniture. You could have hours of fun playing with Mum, Dad, two little girls, a boy and a dog, positioning them between the four little chairs, a table, a bed, a bedside cabinet and printed cardboard walls to make the place seem more homely. There was even something that resembled a dog's bed! The hidden roundabout under the teapot's lid was a brilliant addition, as was the slide spout our figures could whizz down. The only thing that wasn't in this Big Yellow Teapot was tea - much to the disappointment of those girls hoping to serve some invisible tea to their Barbies.
It wasn't too long before a rival to the teapot was on the scene - Palitoy's Family Treehouse, which worked along the same design principle but looked a little more advanced and attracted an older, more sophisticated crowd of kids. There was also a house for Smurfs that was shaped like a toadstool, a Big Yellow Shoe (well, girls love shoes just as much as tea sets), Mr chimney and Big Red Fun Bus.
The great thing about the teapot, was its bold design - the yellow and red duplo-esque design still scream out 'childhood memory' to many 80s kids, rather like it does that other household staple - the A La Carte Kitchen, which was released by Bluebird Toys only a year later than the teapot. Really, the only thing letting it down was the name - couldn't Bluebird have come up with a better one? After all, it's not even that big...