A short and in-depth look into the state of Cbeebies.
Cbeebies used to bring with it a guarantee of producing shows that we could watch together - shows we could share and talk about. Now I don't know whether it is because Emily is getting older or whether I'm getting more cynical or whether indeed the quality of programming has decreased quite dramatically Cbeebies is not something I want on in our house.
These are some of the worst offenders: -
This is some sort of storytelling show complete with children who look like they don't want to be there, dreadful songs and words spoken so you can't hear them. It is a nice idea - children putting on amateur productions of tales from around the world - but the actual reality is dire. Poorly put together and not engaging at all
2. Nuzzle & Scratch
OK this is a programme that seems to give health and safety advice in all manner of everyday situations. Good idea I hear you say? Except the two main protagonists are a pair of alpacas. Accident prone alpacas. Coupled with a pair of hideously mannered twins this is definitely on my avoid list!
3. Big Cook Little Cook
Big Cook Little Cook documents the everyday adventures of two cooks in a cafe - Big Cook who is called Ben and Little Cook who is of so little consequence he doesn't in fact have a real name and is delightfully called "Small". Every day they have a different customer in the cafe and have to make an appropriate dish. Armed with a variety of annoying and tuneless rhymes and a flying spoon to purchase missing ingredients Ben and Small bumble their way through cooking a dish. Ben has all the personality of a wet fish, whilst Small is on crack. I think.
Words cannot express how much this programme freaks me out. Seriously. Animated characters but with real mouths. Completely horrifying. There is nothing else to say
This is the latest offering from Justin Fletcher from Something Special fame. In conclusion - Something Special, great. Gigglebiz? Not so much! It involves Justin dressing up as a variety of characters - including the "Northern" weatherman Arthur Sleep, chef Dina Lady and the explorer Rabbits Johnson. Sort of slapstick for children without the humour. I just don't "get" this show - incidentally neither does my four year old who watches it with a face like thunder. It's a shame as I wanted to like this as I have a lot of respect for Justin who is amazing at what he does but this is just poor.
6. Little Charley Bear
One of the newer programmes on Cbeebies. Voiced by James Corden. And that is where it falls down - I simply can't take it seriously! I really, really want Charley Bear to forget himself and shout "Gavlaaaaa". This programme is a tricky one to place - it seems to be for the younger end that Cbeebies cater for, but nothing much happens to keep their attention.
7. Me Too
The everyday tales of a childminder - called Granny Murray and her various charges. Granny Murray has clearly never been Ofsteded - when her charges sleep over they sleep in the same room as they play in - scissors and all! I'm also not sure how she keeps her business going - she never seems to have more than 2 children at a time - although that's obviously very pleasing on the adult/children ratio! The children never seem to want to go home......is Granny Murray just wonderful or is she drugging them? Who knows! Again an annoying array of songs - as every morning you have to help the parent find their way to work. Now I don't know about you, but one I'd found my way to work once, I was pretty much set. It worries me that the parents need help every time they go!
Another of the new shows. Watched it once - NEVER again! It seems really popular too but I just can't find anything remotely likable or amusing about it. Fortunately it has never been requested again as I would have to put my foot down and say no!
9. Step Inside
This would be a lovely programme. It would - apart from the utterly freakish face on the side of the house. More suited to a Hammer Horror film than a children's programme. Enough to give one nightmares for weeks!
10. Tommy Zoom
Another hybrid show - part real people/dogs and part animation. Hideously behaved child - not great story lines. Again I can't see the appeal
So there we are. My damning indictment of Cbeebies! We do watch the odd programme, thank heavens for Grandpa in my Pocket, Mr Bloom's Nursery and Green Balloon Club. I'm finding this a tricky age in a way as she isn't interested in what is on CBBC yet but is too old for virtually everything that is on Cbeebies. So when she's tired after school all I can say is thank goodness for DVDs! We are mainly watching DVDs and I'm introducing her to DVDs from my childhood - so much more fun and capture her imagination so much better.
I am pleased though she's growing out of Cbeebies at the same time as I find it so dire - makes it so much easier!