Gone are the days when children’s TV was operated with a fixed camera in a broom cupboard with Phillip Schofield having to push his own buttons, talk to camera and operate a puppet at the same. We’ve recently begun to watch some children’s TV in the mornings so for those of you encountering it for the first time in a few years this is the Captain Poo Pants guide to CBeebies.
The new Gordon/Ed/Otis
Since the 80s a charismatic puppet has been a mainstay of CBBC presenting teams. Given the rich history, it is all the more concerning that the current iteration is this haunted taxidermy rat dog. I feel sorry for the rest of the presenting team having to pretend it is in any way charming particularly as it is clearly of an age where it’s unable to control its bladder.
Postman Pat’s Special Delivery Service
Postman Pat’s Shit Delivery Service more like. Pat has had a promotion. Instead of his straightforward round in Greendale (population 11) he is now responsible for ‘special’ deliveries in a big town nearby where all the old Greendale residents now live (Greendale having been destroyed by the great earthquake of ’92). He now has a zero hours contract and is at the beck and call of preening control freak Ben who lives in the postal sorting warehouse. Pat has a mobile phone that he’s only allowed to use when Ben wants him for something.
“Hello, Special Delivery Service……Oh Hi Ben”
“Pat I don’t care if it’s the middle of the night. You’d better get here right away or you’re fired. I need this thimble delivering next door in the next five minutes……..Yeah and bring me a f*cking happy meal.”
Ben has too many buttons undone on his shirt and probably tells women in bars that he works in logistics even though he spends his whole day in the warehouse going up and down in his lift, blowing off and thinking of ways to prevent Pat seeing his family.
Pat was a bad postman and he’s a bloody awful special delivery service guy. In the past fortnight he left a big block of ice he was delivering in a field and drove off. He accidentally fed a small child’s teddy bear to a horse. He lost six eggs he was was literally holding in his hands and he floated a policeman almost to his death with some helium balloons he was in charge of (before rescuing him with his postal service helicopter – no wonder the price of stamps keeps going up). Last week he lost a parcel before he even left the warehouse forecourt.
“Don’t worry, Pat always gets here” the villagers assure each other. Sure, he gets there but it’s taken 10 people to help him and he’s blown 6 grand on helicopter fuel so you have to ask yourself whether it’s really been worth it.
In Chris Jarvis’s loft there is a painting of a very, very old man. He was on kids’ TV when I was young, he’s on kids’ TV now I’m a dad and he’ll be on kids’ TV when I’m dead. I put his youthful good looks down to the fact that his job requires him to do nothing more strenuous than pointing at a cloud. His current gig is in a big garden where him and his mate Pui are joined by an inanimate cuboid named Stuffy to do not very much for 20 minutes. Then he probably buggers off to the BBC cafeteria to exchange mucky limericks with Huw Edwards over a big bowl of Golden Grahams before heading home for a snooze.
Look it’s Mr Tumble and if we just look under the flap of his spotty bag….it’s Reese! Reese is 3 today. Oh how very original, parent. How long did it take you to come up with the flap/photo combo. What a special card. Birthdays are a mainstay of the children’s TV world but they have developed their own Overton window meaning that limitless creativity is possible within an extremely narrow spectrum of acceptable cards. Hence flaps. So many flaps. Oh look under this flap is Sally who’s 8. WTF Sally why are you still watching CBeebies? Why aren’t you at school?
Because the BBC can’t return any of the cards, what you don’t see just off screen is an intern throwing all of the cards onto a big fire and laughing.
I honestly can’t tell you what’s going on with this one. You know when John Cleese got his latest divorce and had to do all those adverts to pay for it? That’s the only reason I can imagine for Elmo’s involvement with this madcap idiocy. With the exception of the Cookie Monster, he’s the only recognisable face amongst a hoard of ‘seconds’ muppets (and let’s face it, the Cookie Monster is a fairly one-dimensional character – if the story isn’t about cookies then you aren’t going to get a lot out of him). The show is nominally set in a hotel, not that it matters. They sing a song about catastrophe every day and other than that the whole thing is too difficult to follow and is too colourful.
I didn’t realise that Justin and Mr Tumble were the same person until recently, particularly as my nephew had assured me that they were “just good friends”. Mr Tumble lives alone in a nice looking cottage, dresses as a clown and is ordered around by the disembodied voice of a child. He has an ipad and a bag and assists Justin to teach sign language, emotion and acceptance of difference.
Justin’s house on the other hand is considerably more exposed to weather conditions lacking as it does a front. Justin lives with a sort of robot Michael Gove and a sentient ball of weed. The show is about falling over and getting sprayed with water.
Mr Tumble might be annoying but at least I now know the British Sign Launguage for sandcastle.
Which shows have I missed?