People power saves mighty Ninky Nonk

Mo Farrah after missing out on a gold medal
				 Picture: Adam Davy

VERITY LUSH: Leave me to browse the make-up counter in peace

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You often see weird and wonderful things when scrolling through your timeline on Facebook.

To those readers who’ve heard of Facebook but don’t entirely understand what it’s for, it’s a place on the internet to share things.

It might be a photo you’ve taken and want to share with your friends. It might be an opinion on a television show you’re watching or it might even be a petition that you want to ask more people to sign.

It was the latter that caught my attention recently. Beneath photos of a friend’s recent night out and above a friend’s opinion on the current series of The Great British Bake Off was a petition asking for my signature. It was accompanied by the logo of the pre-school television channel CBeebies.

Having spent time watching this channel with my two young daughters I was intrigued, so I clicked on the link to read more. It said the BBC was considering axing the CBeebies channel as a cost-saving measure and it wanted as many signatures to show the corporation how valued this channel was by licence fee-paying parents across the UK.

This petition was picked up by the national press which helped it gain more than 130,000 signatures.

Those people who don’t have young children or who simply have no need to watch the channel might think it a good way to save money in tough times. But as someone who has spent a good part of the past six years with my television tuned into this channel I was hoping the news wasn’t true.

Yes, there are many television channels for children, but CBeebies has always been the best. The programming is the greatest out there for children less than six and in the six years since I became a dad it’s always been there to give me 15 minutes’ peace, to entertain and, more importantly, educate my daughters who are now aged four and six.

Every show is designed to encourage learning through play, and from learning the alphabet, to counting, to solving simple maths questions, they both got help from CBeebies.

This is why I was pleased when Tony Hall, the director general of the BBC, announced that after much press speculation there were no plans to take the channel off air.

Millions of toddlers and pre-schoolers can now breathe a sigh of relief and their parents, an even bigger one.

You might never have heard of Chris, Pui and Stuffy and you might not know the difference between the Ninky Nonk and the Pinky Ponk, but many children and their parents have and do and will be glad to hear they will be there to entertain and educate for many years to come.

For the record, the Pinky Ponk is an airship and the Ninky Nonk is a train. Obvious, eh?