Saturday, 19 January 2013

Too Loud, Man!..too loud

I've watched a lot of children's TV in recent years and, obviously, I've grown fonder of some programmes than others. Grandpa in my Pocket, Charlie and Lola, Louie, Pingu, Tinga Tinga Tales, and Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto! rate highly on my list.

But, kid's TV, like kid's toys, can all too often be a garish, migraine-inducing experience. Evidently, programme makers have decided that fast paced, trippy colour sequences communicated to an ear-splitting soundtrack, is the way to go. I suspect they wouldn't feel out of place in the section responsible for adding E-numbers in food production.

For me personally, the signs weren't looking good. Maybe I was developing GGS (Grumpy Grandad Syndrome). Soon there would be cries of, "Oh it wasn't like this in my day," and "You children don't know what you're missing." Actually, I'm not sure how SW and the twins would respond to Champion the Wonder Horse. There have been mutterings that black & white films are boring. Something which I partially remedied by encouraging them to watch Laughing Gravy on YouTube. Oh, how we chuckled. Well, I did.

Now Bernard Cribbins, a veteran of children's TV is also raising his concerns, and he puts the case for a more pure, simple and gentle approach far better than I can.

I'm not suggesting we pull the plug on loud and colourful, far from it. But it would be good to see broadcasters not being quite so easily drawn to the lights, bells and whistles when scheduling for our youngsters.

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15 comments:

  1. I love Grandpa in my Pocket and another favourite is Bookaboo - ahem, I mean the kids love them, obviously, I just watch because it's on!

    Champion the Wonder Horse was a favourite of mine and Frankie Laine singing the theme song still makes me break out in goosebumps x

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    1. There have been a few occasions when I've wished for s 'shrinking cap', Teresa.

      After I'd written this post, I recalled The Whirlybirds and Cannonball, too.

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  2. i haven't seen any of the tv programs you mentioned. maybe it's because i grew up in another part of the globe. i reside now in the US and i am thankful for cable tv and all their channels as i can now watch old tv programs - even the black and white ones. i love watching reruns of M*A*S*H, gun smoke, the andy griffith show, wagon train, and many others.
    oh, i like the way you write. i am now a follower.

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    1. Hi Odette, welcome to Square Sunshine. You know, M*A*S*H is an all-time favourite of mine. Gunsmoke and Wagon Train were/are great shows, too.

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  3. "In the Night Garden" can only have been the product of hallucinogenic drugs

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    1. I've watched this countless times, Rog, and each time I think the same thing. Makka Pakka gets my vote.

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  4. My favorite children's show were "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" and "Reading Rainbow" on American Public TV. The most screeching and noisemaking cartoon I remember is the Roadrunner.

    My parents would not buy a TV set until we all were out of school. I remember watching reruns of "Flipper" and "Lassy" at a neighbor's, on Sunday afternoons.

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  5. Merisi, Roadrunner is still great fun to watch, and somehow I don't notice the screeches and loud noises so much. I suspect it raised concerns for grandfathers of previous generations, though.

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  6. I agree. You only have to watch a few clips of old kids' programmes on Youtube to see how slow they are, and .. my ... how peaceful and calming, rather than whipping them up into a frenzy. Same with old sitcoms - something like 'Porridge' stays on the scenes for so long.

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    1. I'm hoping things will go full circle, Fran. Children's TV has become hugely influential, so the responsibility weighs even heavier with programme-makers to come up with ideas that are both entertaining, informative and, dare I suggest, educational. Oh yes, and a little more calm please. Not a lot to ask, is it?

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  7. Another aspect of the same theme is kids TV presenters. Remember when Christopher Trace, John Noakes, Valerie Singleton and the like would simply talk to children in a normal, unpatronising way, the same way they would talk to adults? Then along came presenters like Timmy Mallet and a slew of others who were trying desperately to be zany and whacky and in your face, like some mental drunk uncle at a party.

    Even now, many kids TV presenters feel the need to have a Joker-like grin plastered on their faces whenever they're delivering their piece to camera. Bring back John Craven and all the normal-speaking presenters of yesteryear - or at least people who can talk to kids without their 'please love me, look how zany I am' approach in a sad attempt to ingratiate themselves with their audience.

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    1. Yes Kid, some of the well rehearsed excitement is quite extraordinary. Even our 6 year-old granddaughter has twigged that something isn't quite right...with no help from us. Nobody wants a return to dull and frumpy, but I agree, it's entirely possible to convey a bubbly enthusiasm without being 'in your face'.

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  8. Thank goodness for youtube and Noggin the Nog.
    Glanny.

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    1. Hi Marianne. Noggin the Nog is a true classic, and I actually bought a DVD of Ivor the Engine, for our grandchildren. It was a 'hit'. All's not lost.

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  9. I've got the complete set of Children's TV programmes that were given away with a national newspaper a few years ago (There was an option to buy the set instead of cutting out tokens). The twins enjoyed them - mind you their tastes were less sophisticated at three than they are now at almost five. My own favourites of course were The Clangers as in my own Clanger . Later it was Will o' the Wisp', which we all still quote from in Kenneth Williams voices. Oh and The Magic Roundabout for its philosophy.

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