CBeebies has suddenly established a toe-hold in our house.
Tom – just a month a way from his first birthday – has developed an attention span which now makes it worthwhile to allow him a little bit of kid’s telly each day. Hence 6pm to 7pm is now officially The Bedtime Hour.
At this time we all gather round the telly and whilst simultaneously feeding Tom his tea we watch Chris Jarvis and Pui Fan Lee talk joyously about big pink milkshakes, throbbing moon rockets and furry teddy bears without a single trace of irony or even the smallest of smirks. Kid’s telly is a very serious business indeed.
Of course it is a well known fact that grown-ups have children solely to be able to watch kid’s telly without feeling embarrassed about it. Kid’s telly is feel-good safe telly and it puts everyone in a good mood regardless of their age. If I was being charitable I’d say that this effect was achieved simply by the fact that the stories and jolly cartoons carry us back to an age of unsullied innocence where worries about rising mortgages, soaring food prices and the police finding that body under the patio were things totally inconceivable to our young unformed minds... but the reality is that we enjoy watching kid’s telly just so we can take the P out of the hapless presenters as they caper about pretending to ride invisible mopeds or have fairy cake tea parties with an assortment of plastic charity shop toys. Oh how their mates must rip the hell out of them in the pub later...
Of course the fact these people are on about 35K a year means that they have the last laugh but as they are endlessly chuckling and laughing anyway who’s ever going to tell the difference?
One of the best things about kid’s telly though is the occasional celeb they draft in to read the stories or narrate the animations. I’m currently marvelling at the theatrical gravitas that Derek Jacobi manages to bring to his voice-over work on In The Night Garden... phrases like “Here comes the nankynonk” and “Oh no, Iggle-piggle has spilt his nonky-juice” (I kid you not) are delivered with such earnest aplomb they could have been written by Shakespeare. Or “Shacker-nacker” as he would undoubtedly be called in the show.
Best of all though is that this week Keeley Hawes is reading the bedtime story.
Ah. Keeley. Keeley. Keeley.
I feel a shiver of excitement run up my... er... back every time she turns her liquid eyes to the camera and croons “And now it’s time to go to bed...”
My jim-jams positively jump with delight.