Recipe for a fun afternoon

September 1st, 2014


  • 400 g milk chocolate
  • 1 punnet of raspberries
  • 1 tin of mandarin segments, drained
  • 1 packet of sponge fingers
  • 1 packet of marshmallows
  • 1 DVD of Frozen
  • 5 five-year-old girls
  • 1 three-year-old boy



Stir for three and a half hours.

Woolly & Tig “Going to School”

August 31st, 2014

Oh man, I can’t believe I missed the latest Woolly & Tig special. It was apparently broadcast the same day we went off on holiday. :-(

Another Film-related Post

July 2nd, 2014

What film am I thinking of?

Two sisters who grew up in isolation from each other. One of them cute and warm-hearted. The other dresses in blue a lot, has white hair, is kinda magic, and is… shall we say… a little frosty. An unusual winter threatens the land. In trying to stop it from destroying the kingdom, the first sister is seriously injured by the cold. Only her icy sibling can save her.

Now I know what you’re thinking, but actually I’m describing Tinker Bell: The Secret of the Wings. Despite being seemingly derivative of Frozen (at some point the writers must have bumped into each other in a hallway and inadvertently swapped ideas), it’s not a bad film. In fact, none of the Tinker Bell series is a bad film. (Even though they are Disney straight-to-DVD films, which is never a good sign.)

I think the thing I like the most about them is that Tinker Bell is a tinker. Her job in the fairy kingdom isn’t to deliver flowers, or tickle butterflies, or collect honey from bees. Instead, she makes stuff. With hammers. This seems like a good role model for young girls. Perhaps in another 15 years or so we’ll start to see an upswing in female applications for engineering courses.

Or maybe I’m overestimating the impact that a series of straight-to-DVD films can have.

Postman Pat: The Movie

May 31st, 2014

Went to see Postman Pat: The Movie today. While most of the action revolves around Postman Pat, his family, and various new characters introduced in the film, I was glad to see that all the old favourites were in there. I noted:

  • Mrs Goggins (but no Bonnie?!?!);
  • Alf, Dorothy & Bill Thompson;
  • Ted Glenn, who always seemed to be in the company of Amy Wrigglesworth (something going on there? I’d assumed he was a bit Daffyd Thomas);
  • Ajay, Neesha & Mira Bains;
  • Rev Timms (who seemed more overtly religious than he is in the series);
  • Dr Gilbertson, PC Selby & Lucy Selby;
  • Charlie Pringle (but not his dad, to whom something unspeakable has happened);
  • Ben, Lauren & Lizzy Taylor;
  • Michael Lam; and
  • Some of the characters from the 1980s who have been missing from our screens for many years — Major Forbes, Miss Hubbard, and (I’m fairly sure he was in the opening sequence…) George Lancaster.

Overall, a good film; not great (it was no Frozen), but good. Much better than I expected it to be.

Anna Acton in Eastenders

May 20th, 2014

I’ve been missing Topsy & Tim, which left off on a bit of a cliffhanger. But clearly their mum has important work to do supporting Ian Beale:

… so I’ll need to be patient.

Vegetarianism on CBeebies

March 16th, 2014

For some reason, perhaps a reluctance to deal with death, virtually all characters on CBeebies are portrayed as vegetarian, even some unlikely ones:

  • Doodles, the crocodile from Tilly and Friends eats mainly apples;
  • Captain Barnacles, Kwazii, Peso, and Shellington from Octonauts, despite being animals that would love a fishy snack (respectively: polar bear, cat, penguin, and sea otter) seem to survive mainly on seaweed, algae, and biscuits;
  • I have yet to see Big Bear from Everything’s Rosie attempt to eat Raggles; and
  • Even the humans and dragons in Mike the Knight seem to eat mainly berry pies.

Pretty much the only programmes that show or imply the consumption of meat (with the exception of nature programs like Andy’s Wild Adventures) and cooking shows (I Can Cook / Big Cook, Little Cook) are Woolly & Tig (Tig eats fishfingers in several episodes), Charlie & Lola (who eat sausages quite regularly), and Peter Rabbit (Peter and his friends under threat from Mr McGregor and Mr Todd).

Iguanadon and Gideon Mantell

March 9th, 2014

The kids are still both really into dinosaurs thanks to CBeebies’ supply of new Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures episodes, so today we took them for a walk to Gideon Mantell’s house, which is helpfully just along the road.

Gideon Mantell is credited with discovering the first iguanadon fossils, following the discovery of a fossil tooth by his wife. Mantell, who had been a keen fossil hunter since childhood, recognised it as too big to belong to any modern British herbivore, and the rest is history.

Andy encountered iguanadons in episode 8.

New “Woolly & Tig” Special

February 26th, 2014

There was a surprise one-off Woolly & Tig episode this morning. I hadn’t seen it advertised anyway, so it was a surprise to me.

There will apparently be a Christmas special this year too. And some unspecified others during the year.

Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures

February 26th, 2014

At the moment my son is really loving Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures, which I must admit is pretty well-made (even though we all miss Kip).

The premise of the show is that Andy is now working in “the National Museum” (most of the interior shots seem to be from the Natural History Museum in London; some of the exterior shots look like the British Museum). Given the recent bad weather, leaving Pickles’ Animal Park was probably a wise move. He frequently breaks and loses various exhibits. His solution is to use the museum clock to travel back to the time of the dinosaurs to obtain replacements. (It seems a simpler solution would be to travel back five minutes, and stop himself from destroying the exhibits in the first place!)

Anyway, these shows have proven very popular in our house. I wonder what the next career move will be for the intrepid Andy Day? Aquarium worker? Microbiologist?

Old Jack’s Boat Christmas Special

December 25th, 2013

I’m a big fan of Old Jack’s Boat in general — great actors; good stories; charming animation — but the Christmas episode is something special.

Death is rarely mentioned on CBeebies. There’s a Woolly & Tig episode where a horse Tig is fond of dies. Peter Rabbit lives under threat from Mr Todd, Tommy Brock, and the man that ate his father, Mr McGregor. Sharks occasionally threaten to eat characters in The Octonauts. (Though when Octonauts have been eaten by sharks and whales, they’ve been shown alive and well in the stomach.) Old Jack’s Boat dealt with the topic well.

The episode was penned by former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davis, who had also previously written the very good “moon maiden” episode.

It was a shame that Freema Agyeman’s scene was clearly chroma-keyed in. But I suppose with such high-calibre actors, finding a filming window that fits all of their schedules is a challenge.