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 provocation away from his first murder. Well, not quite, but you know what I mean.

Like ninety percent of remakes, Fireman Sam tries to up the drama, tension and comedy stakes of the original, not realising that its quietness was its charm, creating only a befuddled middling scream of awfulness. In CGI Pontypandy, it isn’t enough for Norman to be mischievous, he has to be a wrong ‘un. We are probably only a season or two from Station Officer Steele saying, “Let him burn, Sam. Let the boy burn,” as the charcoaled body of Norman Price writhes in agony in the ashes of his own meth lab. From the season taking on a True Detective air of menace. From a hooded figure stalking the village, lining up the tiny ear bones of stolen children on the front steps of their mothers. From animal corpses littering the schoolyards, broken, molested, bloodied.

The series will end with an episode that is just a visual of Sam doing bench presses with a voiceover listing the dead. Trevor Evans, Bella Lasagne, Penny Morris… Sam flinches as hears the name of his wife in a way that makes the viewer question whether he was the killer. The screen goes black.