Picture credit: BBC
I LOVE CBeebies. But I hate it when they change stuff. Until I come to love it again, that is. Coming to accept a new CBeebies show follows a standard pattern. Here’s the timeline of how I – and maybe you too – move from fear to love.
Day 1: Shock or Disbelief. Kate and Mim-Mim. A show that at first glance, beggars belief. Why is Kate so often left alone? Why does she have an adult’s voice? Why does she never talk below a bellow? When you’re used to Tree Fu Tom following Octonauts like night follows day, it is a terrible shock to have a shake-up to the schedule. An imposter in the midst of your afternoon viewing. One to be treated with hostility and scorn.
Day 2: Denial. Kids are much more adaptable than adults. Never is this made more clear than by the fact that they are actually beginning to like this show. I can deny it as much as I want, but that is what they are asking for when the TV flickers into life.
Day 3: Anger. Why did anything have to change? I remember the days before Tree Fu Tom. Heck, I remember the days before The Octonauts. Yes – and I greeted those little legends as underwater agents of evil. “Gup!” I scoffed. ‘What kind of a word is that?” We now own every single one, obviously. The subtext to this, of course, is: why does my child have to change? Why isn’t he happy watching the same vintage Postman Pats I grew up with? Why does he have to grow up? My baaaaaby!
Day 4: Bargaining. If I let you watch two Kate and Mim-Mims, please please can you then watch a Grandpa in My Pocket (my previous bête-noir)? These are the kind of pleas I hear myself making.
Day 5: Guilt. My kids love this show – who am I to mutter about it in the background? I’m poisoning their innocent enjoyment of this wonderful programme. I’m not the target audience, anyway.
Day 6: Attrition. By the magic of the I-Player, we have now seen every released episode 18 times. I have come to smile when it comes on. I'm humming the theme tune in the shower. I believe there’s a name for this: Stockholm Syndrome.
Day 7: Acceptance… and Love. How else can you respond to a programme that both delights your children and keeps them quiet while you cook their tea?
Thus, like Statler and Waldorf, the Muppets in the balcony, I move from outright criticism to abundant praise in a volte-face as hilarious as it is predictable. Talking of the Muppets, The Furchester Hotel skipped right from Disbelief to Love for me. It’s hard to believe that The Muppets could be recreated but they had me at “Cooookie”. Those tunes are catchy, man! And the Vegetones – they rock!
Picture credit: www.muppet.wikia.com
'That was awful! That was really bad! Well, it was OK. It was pretty good. That ROCKED!'
There’s one final stage that I haven’t listed above: Boredom. Like any craze, after a certain time, it dies out. Real stayers, like Octonauts, have a renaissance every few months, and obviously there’s huge excitement when there’s a new series out. And then you realise: the guys at CBeebies are not mixing the schedule up for the children. It’s to keep us parents interested.
Is it just me who struggles with changes to CBeebies?