Children’s television. Not a day goes past when I don’t wonder whether I have ruined my beloved child for life by plonking him in front of In The Night Garden at ten weeks old in a futile attempt to persuade him that going to beddy-bye-byes before 11pm was a really good idea.
Let’s just say that the glassy-eyed vacant CBeebies stare of his youth has now been replaced by a virulent strain of standing too close to the television and being buffeted by the “television rays” (they are a thing, according to my mother), gazing catatonically at anything involving cartoons, large vehicles, cut-price Gladiators replacements on early Saturday evening ITV or swarms of terrifying insects, and most devastating of all to his future as one of the world’s foremost intellectuals, repeated requests each morning to watch “choo choos” on Mummy’s phone.
It’s not all bad though. The future may be bleak, but my knowledge of contemporary children’s television programming is reaching Mastermind levels of specialist knowledge. Or at least I’d do better than the hapless contestant on Celebrity Mastermind the other day, whose grand score of three on the specialist subject round I proudly matched, even though the subject in question was the life and times of Arsenal football club, and I haven’t properly sat through a football match since that time the Romanian team all dyed their hair blonde at Euro ’96. Are footballers still wearing plasters on their noses? Anyway, I digress, ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you, from the fount of my new-found superior knowledge of the world of baseball cap-wearing puppies saving the world in recycling lorries and bizarre towns and islands populated by talking trains, twenty of the questions I have asked myself whilst watching children’s television. You’re welcome.
- Why does Katie Morag only have one outfit? Are things really that tough on the Isle of Struay?
- And why is it a kilt? Stereotyping, much?
- And is her poor brother actually sewn into that onesie?
- Why did they change the theme tune to Thomas and Friends? Some things really were better in the old days.
- Why is it necessary to distinguish between male and female characters in shows where the characters are all animals, planes, etc, by elongating the female characters’ eyelashes? Is that what defines us women, a bundle of eyelashes?
- How has Baby Jake’s mother not gone completely insane and thrown herself off the top of that lighthouse, living in there with eight children?
- And while we’re on the theme of lighthouses, do the residents of Pontypandy have superhuman strength that enables them to cling to the side of lighthouses, edges of cliffs, etc, for hours on end or is Fireman Sam just really quick at rescuing?
- How much council tax are they paying in Pontypandy? The helicopter costs alone must be astronomical.
- Or does Norman Price foot the bill every time he calls out the mountain rescue for one of his naughty exploits?
- Why does the token woman (or female dog, to be precise) in Paw Patrol need to be pink? Really?
- What does everyone see in Mr Bloom? There’s something very fishy about a bloke who talks to vegetables, if you ask me.
- Did the makers of Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave run out of names when they got to that last one, or did they just not know what noise a panda makes?
- What noise does a panda make anyway? Surely it’s not “Dave”?
- Am I the only one who thought Lucas from Eastenders was the famous one in Old Jack’s Boat?
- Did anyone else notice that Aunt Lizzy in Teacup Travels is Bridget Jones’ mum?
- And can anyone else not exactly put their finger on what it is that they hate about Topsy and Tim, but just know that they loathe everything about it?
- Are there any kids’ TV programmes that actually pass the Bechdel test?
- Am I the only one who thinks it actually looks quite fun to be a member of Peppa Pig’s family?
- Where are Charlie and Lola’s parents?
- Sarah and Duck? The mind literally boggles. Any TV programme that involves a talking cake is a friend of mine.
So there we are. My mind is literally overflowing with children’s television. So much so, that I don’t think I can actually understand grown ups’ programmes anymore. Forget box sets. I’ll be watching endless re-runs of My Family on CBeebies and sticking pins in my eyes. My version of Netflix and chill involves calming a hysterical toddler with Blaze and the Monster Machines while I try to cook dinner. Television, I surrender. You belong to the tiny tyrant now.