Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In praise of The Night Garden. And home ed meetings.

My baby daughter, who has recently turned one year old, is a great fan of the CBeebies programme: In The Night Garden - in fact, the whole house is now, because she's converted us all.

In the Night Garden is like Tellytubbies for children with brains. I really am very impressed with it. Winning points in its favour include:

  • A variety of characters, with varying levels of vocalisation.

  • A different song for each character, which is short, memorable and played only once per episode. (After me: "Yes, my name is Iggle Piggle...")

  • Lots of consistent variety in numbers of character groups. (10 Pontipines, 3 Tombliboos, 4 Ha Hoos etc.)

  • Bird song! And a really nice apparently real outdoor set.

  • Just the right sort of slight air of surrealism, which makes me think the creators must be Tolkien fans. (Magical lands in the stars... white flowers.. boats across the water.. Dunno if that says Tolkien to anyone else..?)

Anyway.. it's good. We like it. We also like our home ed meetings at the moment, which happen in quite a big ex-school sports hall in our local town every week. We've been running this meeting for 5 years now and it's taken a variety of different formats, depending on which families have been regularly attending. Right now it has quite a sporty theme, with badminton, football, basketball, scarecrow tig, and dragging crowds of children around the floor on a play parachute being popular activities there, these days. All free range, unplanned, unorganised and unstructured. The best kind of fun!

Someone asked me to post alerts here of postings to my other blogs, so I probably should mention that this evening I have also blogged here, here, here, here and one or two other places besides. Yes, I seem to be on a roll with my blogging just now! If I owe you an email you may even get that this evening although I do have a date with the telly later on and will no doubt be called on to sing the Iggle Piggle song many times more as well. For some reason I cannot simultaneously type and sing, though perhaps I should be able to. But yes, it's hard to refuse a pair of big eyes in a sweet little face, saying: "Iggy?" while thrusting a pale blue cuddly toy in my face. Resistance is futile.


Blogger Lisa G said...

I love In The Night Garden, albeit in secret as my kids are not babies! I borrow my 2yo niece and watch it with her, she knows all the songs, but she gets very upset when Iggle Piggle sails off by himself at the end and I have no idea why.
I'm loving Torchwood as well but didn't think last nights was as good as the first one last week, it needs 'Spike' to be in every episode!

5:45 pm, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL! I thought it was just us Lisa ;-)

Hey, did you see the Pinky Ponk today? It went under Macapacca's bridge! :-O

And yes I liked the Spike character in Torchwood. Looking forward to seeing what they do with Martha, too.

6:59 pm, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Minnie said...

Yes, i liked Spike, too. He's so naughty!! They should bring him back 'cos there's real chemistry there:O)

And the gangsta blowfish...had to titter at that.

Wondered if, next time we're up north, if we could visit the home ed meeting?

1:08 pm, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

Of course you could! Would be lovely to see you. Email me for directions etc when you need then :-)

1:15 pm, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Baz said...

In the Night Garden always makes me think of UFO's and aliens for some reason.

Between that and the Teletubbies (particularly that bear that comes down in the "carousel" UFO, it makes me wonder if theres some kind of indoctrination programme going on. But then, I'm kinda nuts that way.

8:29 pm, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL Baz, have you seen the Pinky Ponk then? ;-) (If not, please run a Google image search of it & tell us what kind of UFO that is!)

What else is it about Night Garden that makes you think of aliens? The characters are all bright colours, but I think they're supposed to be nursery toys.

9:04 pm, January 25, 2008  
Blogger Baz said...

Well, back in the late 1800'ss before airships were common place several "mystery" airships were sighted over towns and settlements.

Its a classic cigar shaped UFO :)

What makes me think it? I dunno. Something just nags at me. The diversity of the characters, the fact that they all speak their own languages and the fact that alot of stuff comes down from the sky on a semi regular basis.

But hey, I may just be going crazy :)

9:35 am, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

Ah, you're a fan too then? ;-)

Well, the presence of the vehicles does, I admit, seem slightly gratuitous in terms of plot sometimes. In yesterday's episode, for e.g., Upsy Daisy and Igglepiggle were walking to the bridge and Upsy Daisy got tired, so they rode there on the Ninky Nonk.

But the bridge wasn't all that far away... You'd think they'd have managed the walk..

So. You reckon the programme-makers are involved in a conspiracy to prepare the population for the existence of aliens? (Were the Clangers people in on this too then?)

Hmmm. Maybe. On the other hand, there was a very clearly-spoken message at the end of yesterday's programme: "Sometimes, Upsy Daisy, it's better to walk," which smacked, to me, of an environmentalist agenda.

Then again, maybe the writers are just sitting there wondering what on earth to do with Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy et al., which might keep the baby-entertaining bubble in the air for a while longer?

It can't be easy.

I must also confess to wondering how they go about their market research.

1:38 pm, January 26, 2008  
Blogger dottyspots said...

Hmmm, but have you noticed how it completely screws up perspective :) Makes my head hurt thinking about it sometimes and my older ones find it hilarious.

I was dragged back into watching Torchwood by the promise of a James Marsters fix. I had a bit of a 'thing' about Spike in Buffy *blush*

10:50 pm, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Minnie said...

Poor Spike. He's always getting blown up!!!

And that Pinky Ponk!! It's an alien carrier!!! I reckon that's how Spike got onto Earth:O)

11:10 pm, January 26, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

Nikki, yes it's weird, the way they do it though, isn't it? Igglepiggle and Upsy Daisy were getting on the Ninky Nonk in one episode. They went from standing next to it , when it wasn't even half their height, to going up the stairs to their carriage-thing, and the stairs were suddenly 30ft high. And it was fairly seamless too. Like a hall of mirrors! I'd love to know what the rationale is for that.

Amanda, YES! You've got the answer there, I reckon ;-)

8:47 am, January 27, 2008  
Blogger dottyspots said...

Yes it is rather seamless - like a dream. I put In the Night Garden in the 'high as a kite' category of children's programme (along with Chorlton and the Wheelies, amongst others).

9:52 am, January 27, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

Oh yes, it's meant to be a dream, isn't it? Maybe the perspectives thing is just part of conveying that.

10:09 am, January 27, 2008  
Blogger Allie said...

Our L had a brief obsession with Night Garden - even though it is clearly for babies, he loved it. I watched a few episodes too. It is very calming. Leo even bought a cuddly Macapacca. I like the way he goes about with that trolley... Weird. If the babies like it then they must be doing something right.

2:54 pm, January 27, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

Yes Allie, I have this mad theory that they sit 100s of babies in a room with a TV and show them endless different sounds and images until they find a combination that keeps their attention!

Maccapacca is endearing with his slight OCD tendencies, isn't he? ;-)

4:50 pm, January 27, 2008  
Blogger dottyspots said...

Macca Pacca has to be my favourite too - we have a cuddly version (even my 13 year old thinks it's rather sweet).

8:49 pm, January 27, 2008  
Blogger Baz said...


Well as we're off at a tangent, imagine James Marsters in the Nightgarden.

"Spikey Wikey."

Would almost make the license fee worthwhile.

Upsie Daisy would have to watch out as well.

2:40 pm, January 28, 2008  
Blogger Gill said...

Spikey Wikey! LOL

5:52 pm, January 28, 2008  
Blogger dottyspots said...


7:31 pm, January 28, 2008  

Post a Comment

<< Home