And Tidmouth Sheds? And Nowhere Land?
Yesterday morning, I was trying to find something to watch on TV without my glasses on and I somehow stumbled upon a children’s channel. It’s been a few years now since Kids’ TV was on permanent repeat in our house. The channel numbers were ingrained in my memory like my PIN number. Forget potty training or putting on their own seatbelt. I consider being able to find Nickelodeon independently as a much more vital life skill which children need to learn.
So I found myself browsing the channels and was shocked to discover I couldn’t find any of the firm favourites which successfully kept my kids away from me for hours at a time. I then got to thinking of the programmes which had entranced my three and decided maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing they’d disappeared from our screens. So, in no particular order….
1. Thomas the Tank Engine. I think ‘and Friends’ was also in the title but this was instant grounds for legal action because I’d rather have enemies than friends like those engines – grumpy, scheming, disloyal, anarchic, forgetful, lazy, I could go on……Sam was obsessed. I couldn’t read any of the stories without putting on a Scouse accent. And Ian just shook his head at the Fat Controller’s man management skills.
2. Ben 10. Hello? Social services? Attendance officers? How Ben and Gwen missed so much school is beyond me (although I’m extremely jealous!).
“Sorry Ben wasn’t at school yesterday. He had a run in with Vilgax and had to use his Omnitrix to turn into Rath (my fave), an appoplexian, to save himself and the human race. Yours sincerely, Mrs Tennyson.”
Well they must have accepted her explanation because there was episode after episode after episode…..
3. Little Princess. The theme started with the announcement “she’s a little princess”. Well, she wasn’t. She was a bloody madam and needed sorting. If she became Queen, god help her subjects. Spoilt, pandered to, men wrapped round her finger, including her dad. Explains how Abigail turned out like she did!
4. In the Night Garden. Another of Abigail’s favourites, so much so that I completed a 6 hour round trip to Glasgow to watch a 60 minute live version, which left her distinctly unimpressed. Furthermore, she has no memory of it and any photos are lost on some old mobile tossed in the drawer. She seemed to have a particularly affinity with Makka Pakka – not the cleaning faces bit unfortunately. The stones. We would go to parks and she would sit making arrangements with shillies instead of going on the swings and slides. It also showed her that, at night time, you could be up, faffing about with your friends instead of going to bloody sleep!! These programmes did not know how to parent properly!
5. Maggie and the Ferocious Beast. I don’t know where to start. For some reason, Sam took a shine to the not very ferocious ‘beeeeeeest’ and his weird friends: Maggie, who obviously had no friends in the real world and had to create Nowhere Land, and Hamilton, a pig who lives in a cardboard box. Even sadder is that I have a favourite episode, where Hamilton sings about loving his box! I couldn’t take to the show (obviously I was their target audience!) because it was only shown once a day. I needed a programme shown at least three times a day to distract my children long enough to give me time to get dressed and throw some toothpaste in my mouth!
6. The Amazing World of Gumball. A pet fish grows legs and becomes the best friend of the boy cat??! That’s obviously why my kids weren’t interested in their own pet fish. Mam?! Why can’t Goldie, Ginger Fish and Cinderella Dorothy grow their own legs and develop lungs so we can all go to school together like Gumball? Where they would then meet a shape-shifting fairy, a disfigured cyclops, a depressed ghost, a cloud-shaped humanoid, a hyperactive banana, a living cloud and an effeminate daisy, amongst many other weird and worrying characters. They lost me at the fish becoming human, but like a cat, but a talking one….The whole premise drove me demented….which is probably why Joel loved it!
7. Balamory Yes, I would like to go!! One show that had actually humans in. Ok, not the most normal of people I admit, but they didn’t involve themselves in situations which may involve a psychiatrist or men in white coats! It had one of those theme tunes you could learn and still recite 15 years later. Must admit I wasn’t impressed when Archie the inventor turned out to be a serious actor and had evidently been using Balamory as a stepping stone to greater things.
8. Sonic the Hedgehog. I’m sure there was a plot, an eventual denouement and a probable message to each episode. I never found out because as soon as he heard the theme tune, Joel became Sonic, racing round the living room with his arms at weird angles, trying to defeat the evil Dr Robotnik. All he ever defeated was my will to live. He once went to the hairdressers and demanded Sonic hair. The stupid hairdresser obliged so it was a blue, spiky haired son who returned. He had to have special red trainers to make him run quicker. The costume followed suit at some astronomical cost because it could only be found in America. Why I was an accomplice on giving him things which fuelled his desire to run everywhere shouting “I’m Sonic”, who knows. But, at some point, like Forrest, he stopped running. Probably to watch Ben 10 skip school again.
And we wonder why the kids of today are like they are? Kids’ TV for my generation was innocent. I mean, a coyote constantly being outfoxed and humiliated by a fast running ground bird is perfectly normal. As is a small mouse thwarting a conniving cat who usually ends up battered and bruised. As for a manic, flightless bird living in a pink windmill, the kids always checked before answering that door…..
More joys of parenting: