Archive for April, 2012

Mike the Knight’s Dad

Monday, April 30th, 2012

In Mike the Knight, Mike’s father, the King, is often referenced but never seen. He is off fighting in some crusades or something.

If they ever do introduce him for a Christmas special or somesuch, then I do so hope they manage to get Brian Blessed to voice him.

Dave Lamb narrates Waybuloo

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

I must have missed this. Back in January CBeebies apparently changed the format of Waybuloo to include a voiceover from Dave Lamb (of Big Barn Farm). It was so unpopular that the format was changed back the next day – easy to miss then!

The single episode which was broadcast can now be found on YouTube…

Mini-Beasts on “It’s Our Planet”

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

I learnt today on It’s Our Planet that animals without a backbone are called “mini-beasts”. And here I was calling them invertebrates!

So the 14 metre long Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni (a.k.a. the colossal squid) is a “mini-beast”. You learn something new every day.

We want more Woolly & Tig

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

I am a big fan of Woolly & Tig. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a five minute show that works on a very simple formula:

  1. The narrator (a slightly older Tig, looking back to when she was younger) explains “when I was very little…” and introduces something interesting she did.
  2. Young Tig gets angry, anxious or afraid about the new experience.
  3. Her toy spider – Woolly – comes to life and talks her through the experience.
  4. She’s not angry/anxious/afraid any more.
  5. An adult – usually somebody associated with whatever Tig was scared of – catches sight of Woolly out of the corner of their eye and is startled. Tig says “it’s only a toy spider”.
  6. The narrator sums up how much she likes the new experience and ends with “I looooove Woolly”.

Oh, and everybody is Scottish. (Except Woolly for some reason.)

What do I like about it? There’s nothing I do not like about it. But some things I especially like are:

  • The main actors are genuinely related. Tig is played by Betsy McCredie; her dad is played by her real dad Colin McCredie (who is also in Taggart); her mum is played by her real aunt; the narrator is her older sister Maisie.
  • Tig is very sweet.
  • It does actually seem to have helped my three year old daughter over a few of her anxieties.
  • Everybody is Scottish.

Anyway, they’ve made and screened 30 episodes, and we’re now into repeats. I do very much hope that the BBC decides to commission a second series. Some things my daughter is anxious about that could be made into episodes:

  • having her hair brushed
  • roads that don’t have pavements
  • little brothers who insist on playing with your toys
  • parades
  • fireworks
  • caterpillars that look like they might jump onto your scooter

Perhaps that last one is a little too specific?

New ZingZillas started on Monday

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

There’s a new series of ZingZillas started on Monday, and it uses the same shortened episode format as series 3.

The first couple of series of ZingZillas were more than tolerable. The 22-minute episodes followed the formula of:

  1. ZingZillas do some stuff.
  2. Coconut clock strikes one.
  3. ZingZillas try writing a song, but need more inspiration.
  4. Coconut clock strikes two.
  5. ZingZillas get inspiration from guest musician in the glade.
  6. Coconut clock strikes three.
  7. ZingZillas rehearse their song.
  8. “It’s the last coconut!”
  9. ZingZillas perform their song in the Big Zing.
  10. They discuss their performance and agree that it was the “best Big Zing ever!” (Each Big Zing is apparently better than all previous Big Zings. There is perhaps some reverse-nostalgia going on.)

… and the whole while along, there’s some plot line running through the episode as well.

The third series reduced the 22 minute format to just 11 minutes, but rather than dropping some of the formulaic stuff (coconut clock, etc), it actually added more formulaic stuff, including some narration from DJ Loose, and a ridiculous device where Todd tries (but fails) to provide the band with their inspiration using a machine that never works.

As you can imagine, in halving the episode times, something had to give. Turns out the plot line was deemed unnecessary – as a result no episode in series three appears to have a plot. (Apart from the one about sunflowers.)

Another casualty in series three is the well-intentioned but somewhat dim-witted island caretaker Todd. Despite being the best regular character in the  show (I’m excluding Aunty Dot here, as she’s only a recurring character, and is clearly just Todd in drag anyway), his appearances in the series have been reduced to just the “let’s ask the machine” device mentioned above.

Fortunately the series retained its good song writing. I don’t know how Banks & Wag manage it. Every week being told, “you’ve got to write a pop song based around an oboe” / “you’ve got to write a pop song based around a kazoo” / “you’ve got to write a pop song based around Gregorian chants”, and actually coming up with half-decent results. So however much the show suffered in series three, the music did not.

I was disappointed to find out that series four uses the same format as series three.

I’m sure I’ll still watch it.