The Best and Worst of Kids TV

This morning Baby woke up at 5.30. We tried various tactics to get her to go back to sleep but it wasn’t happening and at 5.50 I called it and brought her down. Judge me if you want but at that time in the morning I need a vat of coffee and I need to laze on the sofa. The electronic baby sitter is called in to early use. It’s that or vaguely hoping she’s learned how to open the fridge make her breakfast and eat it in a mood of silent contemplation. Like a nun only with Coco Pops skillz.

Now I know what you are thinking. Ah! Cbeebies! I wish. I really fucking wish.

Boy was brought up on CBeebies because we were good and diligent middle class parents who wanted our child to learn to talk by watching a nocturnal blue sponge snog a doll while an OCD thing collected and cleaned stones, some pre-school punks took their trousers off and no-one at all, narrator apart, actually send anything intelligible. He progressed on to Show Me Show which I like purely for the things that Pui dressed as the Grand Old Duke of York did to my brain given I’d watched her earlier, slightly more risqué acting roles. Eventually, luckily before Mr Bloom really came out, but too late to avoid 3rd and Bird (of which more later) Boy considered CBeebies ‘too baby-ish’ and moved on to Nick Jr. I know the irony.

Then Baby arrived.

Baby absorbed Nick Jr by osmosis. Peppa Pig, in particular, became a kind of 5 minute subliminal advert. Nick Jr was all she knew as a small one, television wise and so, when Baby is got up in the early hours it is Nick she wants. She used to just shout “PIG!” but has at least progressed on to “Daddy, Pig please”, but neither command is asking for crispy bacon. She wants Peppa.

That early however the Pig episodes are the bread to a Thomas the Tank Engine sandwich. This is less popular with her but heaven forbid you should touch that dial because then YOU MIGHT NOT SWITCH IT BACK OVER AGAIN. Ever wondered why Ringo Starr was a drummer? Watch Thomas the Fucking Tank Engine. The lazy scouse drawl grates on you after about 5 seconds and by the end of the episode you will want to put a set of drums through the screen. Don’t. These you will need for later.

Pig is next. Much has been written about Peppa. Boy and Baby both adore it though, of course, as a portrayal of family life it’s about as accurate as East Enders is a portrayal of the goings on at Eton. It snows in winter and is sunny in summer yet there is always a muddy puddle around to jump in. Learning to ice skate takes 5 minutes. There are no empty Smirnoff Ice bottles and used condoms in the playground bit of the park and ONLY Peppa and her friends go there. There is only one road in and out of Peppa Pig land and it never has any traffic. Pre-school is sometimes real school and it comes with no set dates, no school run and no OFSTED reports. No one needs to do meal planning – it’s spaghetti every night. Both children drop off to sleep with just a song or a story and if they’re sick, Dr Brown Bear gives them some foul tasting medicine (which they take without complaint) and it cures them almost instantly.

Most of all, just over the next hill are Grandpa Pig and Granny Pig and whenever it gets too much they come and babysit or have the children over to stay or take them out on their boat or let them play in their, frankly humungous garden. They have an orchard. A boat. They have  a telescope for star gazing. I bet Grandpa pig could even rustle up a fun fair at the drop of a hat. Grandpa Pig, I suspect of being a greedy baby-boomer cunt who bought his house and orchard for tuppence back in the day and is now a multi-millionaire property owner with a free bus pass.

Daddy Pig I like however. He barbeques, works in an office and plays football. He’s enormously fat but he’s a hands on dad with a sense of humour and a total inability to read maps. He’s a lot like me. I have Dad empathy with Daddy Pig and I most admire his ability to make light of semi-disasters where I would be contemplating a complete meltdown. For this reason he’s my favourite kids TV character and he just about saves Peppa Pig from it’s socially unrealistic torpor.

Anyway, Pig finished and The Bopps came on. This is where you will need the drums you held back earlier because they WILL have you throwing stuff at the telly. Imagine a pair of whacky school teachers singing lyrics about squirrels to fourth rate indie while wearing comedy Sgt Pepper outfits and all the time, gap toothed 7 year olds in Boden dance round them. The temptation not to scream OH JUST FUCK OFF is immense. It is the low-lite of my morning. The only thing – only thing – that keeps me in check when The Bopps appear is knowing that if I switch to CBeebies I risk an encounter with 3rd and Bird.

3rd and Bird is the worst programme ever made and just typing it has made my blood boil. Essentially some cartoon / puppet (I never worked out which) birds live in a tree and do utterly meaningless stuff IN SONG. Yes it’s an avian musical and so horrific is the music that it makes Lloyd-Webber look like Bach, Mozart, Miles Davis and John Lennon combined. I have not adequate words to describe it beyond this and, if I carry on with this rant much longer I’ll burst a blood vessel so I’ll leave you with the intro so you can see for yourself. DO NOT watch this if you are currently in a good mood or you value your laptop screen.

What’s your worst or even favourite kids show? I suspect I know @motherventing ‘s answer……..


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