Saturday, November 14, 2009

The real Magic Roundabout

Lynneguist posted about Sesame Street and other kids' TV shows this week and started me thinking. She commented that "From the Flower Pot Men to Clangers to the Teletubbies, there are many British children's television characters who don't speak in discernible language." Hmm - I'd not really thought of that as a cultural difference before, but I suppose perhaps it is. I'm sure American kids like Trixie's "Aggle flaggle" in the book Knuffle Bunny though*, and incomprehensible language does provide parents with the opportunity to discuss the philosophy of language with their children. Yeah, right! [sarcasm] Of course I used Teletubbies as an opportunity to introduce my kids to the philosophy of language! [/sarcasm]

One of the things about living other than where I grew up is not being able to use catch phrases from TV shows or share memories of the strange shows I grew up with. I remember Listen With Mother ("Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin!") on the radio in the afternoons, and Watch With Mother which was a time slot rather than a specific show on TV.

The Magic Roundabout
was on right before the 6 o'clock news. In our house (when I was little at least) as soon as it ended, it was time to go and get ready for bed.

This appears to be an entire episode, except where's Zebedee saying "Goodnight! Time for bed!" Was that not in every show after all? And what is with that awful music?


I can't imagine why as a kid I thought this was interesting. Looking through the videos on YouTube, I'm amazed how bad so many of the the kids' TV shows were! I remember bits and pieces of a few of them.

Can you name the shows that go with these memories?
  1. "Little weeeeed!"
  2. Spotty Dog (who walked in a really weird way).
  3. "Anything can happen in the next half hour!"
  4. "Hugh, Pugh, Barney, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grub!"
  5. "A house. With a door. One. Two. Three. Four."
  6. The soup dragon
  7. "Making good use of the things that we find, things that the everyday folks leave behind."
I think I've arranged them in roughly chronological order, though my memory may very well be faulty. 1 & 2 are the definitely the oldest - I think they debuted even before my time, in the 1950's. (Answers in a couple of days.)

*My favorite phrase from Mo Willems' Knuffle Bunny is not "aggle flaggle" but "going boneless" to describe a toddler who does not want to be picked up!

6 comments:

Tenon_Saw said...

1. Flowerpot men
2. Woodentops ??
3. ???
4. Trumpton
5. Playschool
6. The Clangers
7. The Wombles.

nappy valley girl said...

I'd add to that In the Night Garden, which you probably haven't seen being in the US, but comes in the great tradition of Teletubbies, Clangers etc with its very own set of made up words and language.

Thanks for the link to Lynnguist - I was also on about Sesame Street this week but most of my readers are Brits and had no idea what I was talking about....

Zhoen said...

Followed you from Lynneguist. I'm beginning to wonder if it's not a BBC plot to separate from colonial culture.

I got a smattering of Magic Roundabout because of the Canadian channel. The advantage of living in a border town.

Daffodilly said...

Oh such sweet memories!

Anonymous said...

A more gentler time back then. Anyone notice the difference in the behaviour of children then compared to today? Great childhood memories, thanks. :)

Almost American said...

Good job Tenon-saw - the only one you missed was actually the American one - Stingray!

NVG - you guessed right, I haven't seen the Night Garden. The name isn't even familiar.

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