Children’s TV has always played a large part in my life.
Many a happy school holiday was spent watching the antics of Johnny Weissmuller swinging through the jungle with just a scrap of cloth to hide his modesty. Wrestling rubber crocodiles whilst Cheetah the chimp watched on, rooting for his beloved Tarzan.
Some programmes, however, were considered off bounds by my somewhat conservative mother. One such programme was Why Don’t You?
This was considered way too anarchic and ‘low brow’ for her daughter. However, this made it that much more appealing to me.
And when I discovered, many years later, that a friend of mine had actually presented on the programme, this added a frisson of ‘cool’ to it.
But one programme which had a firm place in my screen-watching agenda, and was considered ‘suitable’, was Blue Peter.
A stalwart for many years in the TV schedule, this bastion of good, clean family entertainment and education, Blue Peter continues to inform and provide a delightful antidote to imported cartoons and the Grizzley, I mean, Disney Channel.
Who could not be inspired by the simple Blue Peter badge award that so many of us yearned for?
I never earned one legitimately, despite many attempts at competitions.
I submitted drawings, stories and goodness knows what else in the hope that I would have my name read out and be awarded a coveted badge.
However, I once found a scuffed, pin-less badge in the street and I had to make do with that.
No way could I pretend to have earned it though. And I certainly wouldn’t have attempted to gain free entry to Alton Towers with it.
I was a pet-less child so the Blue Peter animals were the next best thing.
I adored Shep the dog with John Noakes. And those ‘hilarious’ disappearing cats were the best thing about Mondays and Thursdays.
So when I read in the paper that, in its move to Salford, Blue Peter were going to return their animals to their rightful owners and have a strictly pet-free show, I was gutted.
How will my children know how to wipe a hibernating tortoise’s eyes with damp cotton wool? This is an abomination! My children need to know these things.
Instead of important pet-related tips, the new-look show is to be down with ‘da kidz’ and extol the virtues of various child-friendly apps, and other such technologies.
So my children will not grow up struggling with sticky-backed plastic in their vague attempt at building a hair salon for their Sindy doll.
Instead they will be badgering me for a smart phone so that they can download the latest app. Not that they need any assistance with this.
And what will happen to the wonderful Italian sunken garden? I was there at its inception and when it was brutally vandalised.
Who could forget Janet Ellis’s solemn announcement on the show, and Peter Purvis’ valiant attempt to rescue the fish from the pond? It was if the louts had actually smashed the ornamental urn over Percy Thrower’s head.