From October, 2018

7. Mickey and The Roadster Racers

You have to hand it to Disney, despite now owning almost all of the world’s most popular entertainment franchises they still persevere in trying to make Mickey Mouse lovable. It’s that sort of dedication that got them where they are today but it’s a futile effort. Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy Duck, Pluto and Goofy are all unlikable creatures. Unfunny, lacking style or character, with annoying voices, and brought to life via unremarkable animation. You can argue that they are iconic until you are blue in the face but no one in their right mind would have any of them…

8. My Pet and Me

OK, first off, I have no problem with the presenters of My Pet and Me. Or the programme really. My argument is larger, more fundamental, and it is with Cbeebies almost non-stop pro-pet propaganda. My Pet and Me, Meet the Pups, Meet the Kittens, Pet week, Topsy and Tim’s rabbit, Waffle the Wonder Dog, Pet Week, and on and on. And yes, the Cbeebies website does have a page where they tell you five things to think about before you decide to get a pet, but none of those five things are: the world is heating up at a terrifying…

9. Octonauts

What is Captain Barnacle’s problem? God that polar bear is a supercilious little jobsworth. “Peso, sound the octo alarm.” Mate, you’re all in the same room. Just get in a submarine and rescue the sea snake or whatever. You’re only sounding the alarm for yourself. Imagine working for that guy. Jeez. Anyway, my main problem with Octonauts is that they give each new creature they meet a regional accent and they decided to give the West Midlands accent to sea slugs. Not whales or sunfish or dolphins or something cool. Sea slugs. Fuck me, guys. We live in a post-Peaky…

10. Fireman Sam

I was a bit old for the original run of Fireman Sam but I could appreciate it was well made. Stop motion, half decent theme tune, little adventures, that sort of thing. Well, they went and did a remake, didn’t they? Computer animation, innit? Utter shit mate. Utter shit. Norman Price, once a thoughtless youth just a carefully worded asbo away from a road to redemption, has now fully adopted the persona of the hotel proprietor he was named after. He wanders the Pontypandy byways, setting fire to cats and mugging old ladies, off his face on banshee dust, one…

11. Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom

For those of you who haven’t seen it, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom is made by the same people who make Peppa Pig. It tells the story of an elf and a fairy in a magical yadda yadda yadda whatever. Before we start, I have a confession to make. I don’t mind Peppa Pig. It’s alright. I don’t, like, love it, but it has it’s moments. It has decent comic timing. It quietly subverts gender stereotypes. It’s pretty good. There. I said it. Ben and Holly however. Crikey. I understand that characters who are self absorbed and think they know…

13. Charlie and Lola

One of the unspoken truths of parenting is that at some point in your life you will think one of your child’s friends is an asshat. This is only natural. All children go through phases and some of those phases are more asshatty than others. Your own child will, at some point in their development from baby to adult, be an asshat too. Chances are, you will be largely blind to your own child being an asshat, despite how easily you will spot asshattery in others. It’s just your hormones and your unconditional love for your child. Don’t worry, that’s…

14. Are We Ready to Go?

This is one of those, “If you know, you know,” ones. For those of us with children aged two to seven, the line, “I… don’t… think so,” fills us with a dread second only to that experienced before root canal surgery. Are We Ready to Go? is only a song, but Cbeebies play it so often that it may as well be a three hundred part series. The song is about a mum and her child and their discussion about whether or not they are, indeed, ready to go. Are they ready to go? No, they are not. They have…

15. The Numtums

There are a few Cbeebies shows that seem to have one eye on the children watching and one on the, potentially lucrative, student market. Put in a reference to disco here, a psychedelic scene there, and before you know it you have your retirement sorted, slinging out ironic t-shirts to teenagers. And while you can forgive it in something like Go Jetters (because it is well made enough to get away with it, and it introduces beautiful places and interesting cultures to children in a fun and exciting way) when it comes to The Numtums, I’m sorry, that shit won’t…

16. Biggleton

OK. I have a game for you. I will play the writer and you play the executive. I am going to pitch a tv show to you. You decide whether to commission it or not. “The programme is called Biggleton. We dress up a load of kids in adult’s clothes; business woman, fireman, police officer, you get the sort of thing. Yeah? They walk around for a bit, doing grown-up sort of stuff, for like five minutes or so, then Eamonn Holmes tells them it’s, ‘time to wiggle’, and all the children do a dance in their grown up clothes.”…

17. Mike the Knight

I have never been able to work out whether Mike the Knight is a satire on, or a celebration of, the life and career of Nigel Farage, and that is largely down to its sloppy writing. The world view portrayed – the past is good, the class system is good, women are mothers or princesses, anybody not white is either a servant or an entertainer, ‘we’ are constantly in danger of being overrun by ‘barbarians’ and ‘outsiders’, only one very special little boy can save us – clearly chimes with that of Farage. And you would assume, with Cbeebies being…

18. Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service

Postman Pat, like Scooby Doo, is one of those programmes that people remember fondly despite it never actually being any good. Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service was an attempt to sex up the original format of ‘man delivers some letters’ with helicopters and boats and jet packs and whatever other shit a bunch of middle management dickheads wrote on a whiteboard, some time in 2008, under the heading, ‘Things Children Think Are Cool’. Along with a profusion of new hardware, Pencaster also receives an influx of new characters, each with a different regional accent. Now, I don’t want to be…

19. Captain Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Jake was always the worst part of Jake and the Neverland Pirates and promoting him to captain for the fourth series was always going to be a disaster. Power corrupted him, and he became the fully fledged jerk he had always promised to become. As the series progresses, your sympathies transfer to Captain Hook. Pirates aren’t good people, and the world’s obsession with them has always baffled me, but the early episodes of Jake and the Neverland Pirates managed to avoid the need to glamorise murder by centering the stories around children living in a world populated by pirates. They…

20. Grandpa in My Pocket

Despite having the creepiest title of any television programme ever made (not that pocket, grandson. The other pocket) Grandpa in My Pocket is largely trauma free television. It’s a bit too silly for my taste, but I’m not a four-year-old child, so you know, that’s not really my call to make. The reason Grandpa in My Pocket makes the list is because it ruined New Tricks. Allow me to explain. New Tricks, the popular BBC crime drama in which a trio of ex-policemen and their boss re-investigate cold cases, started off with a dream cast – Alun Armstrong, Amanda Redman,…

21. Tree Fu Tom

Tree Fu Tom is a programme with noble intentions. Developed in conjunction with the Dyspraxia Foundation, it encourages children to copy Tom’s on screen movements, helping them improve their co-ordination and fitness. Which makes me feel a bit guilty when I say that it blows. But blow it does. The episodes are about three hours too long and there are no engaging characters whatsoever. Tom himself is a blowhard, David Davis-ing his way through the undergrowth with neither the knowledge nor the subtlety to solve his problems effectively, asking those watching to send him magic goodwill so he can bullshit…

22. Andy’s Wild Adventures / Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures / Andy’s Safari Adventures / Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures

Andy has a lot of adventures. Dare I say, too many adventures? I like Andy. I do. But I do not like his adventures, not any more. (For those of you not familiar with his adventures, they are, in a nutshell, footage of Andy acting the goat green-screened onto footage from old David Attenborough documentaries or Walking With Dinosaurs or whatever). Nobody has ever fully explained how his tomfoolery improves on the original. Just show the documentaries. Sure, you might want to edit out the odd scene of lions humping or a killer whale messing up a penguin, but Attenborough…

23. ‘That’ Christmas episode of Old Jack’s Boat

I want to be clear, from the off, that I have no problems with Old Jack’s Boat. Yes, on occasion, while watching it you do start to wonder if Bernard Cribbins is having an acid flashback or not, but for jeep’s sake, we are talking about Bernard bastard Cribbins here. If he wants to have an acid flashback while presenting a kids tv programme he can. It’s nobody’s business but his own. He has earned that right. The man is a legend. Plus, as if Bernard Cribbins wasn’t enough, Old Jack’s boat also features Freema Agyeman and Janine Duvitski. It…