Tony Garnett • Blog Posts

BING CBEEBIES

CBEEBIES

Sitting with my granddaughter, 3, happily watching Bing. What, never heard of him? Well, you’re not a parent, a grandparent or around 3, are you? I never miss Bing.

He appears on a channel, CBEEBIES. which is worth the TV License all on its own. Everyone there is kind and loves young children. It’s multicultural in a natural way. Unlike the rest of the BBC, there are characters with a range of accents and classes.

Yes, it’s didactic, but it’s biased towards treating little children as intelligent people who are curious about the world and how it works. It is not authoritarian. The way the adults behave is an object lesson for the parents watching as much as an entertainment for the children. I’m sure it’s researched to death and a range of academics and published research are consulted. Politically correct, I think the reactionary right would call it.But it’s also full of facts and ideas and sheer fun. The children are the stars – and by far the better actors.

It is the BBC at its best, bursting with information, education and entertainment.

Does it cloy? Are some of the adults too loud and overenthusiastic? Do some of them seem patronising? Is the worst of the acting embarrassing?
Yes to each of the above.
But it’s loving and warm. There’s a sense of community. Little children are cared for and their feelings are respected.
And my 3 year old loves it.
She’s as transfixed by Bing as I am.
He’s a rabbit, by the way.

 The Day the Music Died is the memoir of BBC director and producer, Tony Garnett. For the first time, Tony shares exclusive details from his childhood in working-class and war torn Birmingham. He takes readers behind the scenes of a selection of his more famous productions, offering secrets and anecdotes. Some moving and some amusing. Now available to buy on Amazon.
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