Everything old is new again…

..especially when it comes to kids TV shows. Clangers, Danger Mouse, Thunderbirds – all have been made for today’s audiences. As much as I am inclined to think that the reboots are a sign that people are beginning to run out of ideas, I think it’s cool that these classic characters are being introduced to a new generation of viewers.

As for all those who will inevitably moan about the remakes not being as good as the originals, etc,etc, well they haven’t really been remade for you. Of course, we can hope they all retain some of the spirit of the originals, but it’s a different age now. If Thunderbirds was remade using the original “supermarionation” techniques, instead of choosing the CGI route there would probably still be people criticising it for being “dated”. The trick is get the balance right. The clip of Clangers that was released prior to the eclipse showed a lot of promise. I’m looking forward to seeing how Danger Mouse and Thunderbirds turn out and seeing how young viewers respond to them.

Here’s that Clangers clip btw:


It just isn’t what it used to be.  There, I’ve said it.

It says a lot that I seem to spend more time in front of my computer for entertainment these days than I do in front of the television.  Indeed, I have probably found more entertaining and interesting stuff on the internet recently – whether it be on YouTube, on someone’s blog or even on twitter.   And yet, I love television. I’ve grown up with it. I’ve been entertained, informed and educated by it.  My degree was in Film, TV and Radio. I wanted to work in TV as a scriptwriter, and dreamt of one day seeing something I’d written on the TV screen. I still would love to, but I can’t ever see it happening. Even at 30, you’re made to feel as if your best chance of making it has passed you by and they wouldn’t be interested in anything you did anymore – or at least, it seems that way.

There are still plenty of things that I like to watch on TV, but at the same time there are plenty of things that I would rather not. I am grateful that I am in employment and thus not in the house on a regular basis at the time that This Morning or Loose Women are on (actually I am at home when the latter’s on, I just don’t watch it).  I used to tolerate soaps, but now I find that most of them irritate me because their writers seem to want to make certain storylines stretch out over years rather than a few weeks to the point that they are completely unbelievable. Not to mention the fact that producers of such shows seem to want to make us all slit our wrists rather than be entertained, such is the emphasis on miserable stories.

What depresses me the most though, is the state of kids TV. When I was a kid, we had shows like Danger Mouse, Button Moon, The Trap Door, Pigeon Street, Inspector Gadget, Rainbow, Knightmare and Count Duckula. We had the original series of  Postman Pat and Thomas The Tank Engine (the new ones are alright, but not a patch on the old), and I saw reruns of Bagpuss and Camberwick Green. Disney meanwhile,  were actually making cartoon shows and not stupid series about youngsters who lead double lives as popstars. These days,there is very little for children on the main channels, as most of it gets shifted to dedicated channels on digital. What there is of it on those dedicated channels, isn’t up to much. There are a few honourable exceptions – the Ben 10 cartoons and Spongebob Squarepants are all winners, and CBBC’s Horrible Histories is exactly the sort of thing that would have been a huge hit when I was a kid. Indeed, the success of the last two lies in the fact that they are both popular with children and adults – which in my view is what truly great kids shows are.  You would never have thought that a CBBC show could beat the primetime likes of Armstrong and Miller to a British Comedy Award, but Horrible Histories did just that.  Still, it is, as I said, an exception.  I hope that one day, there is a return  to shows that are more like Duck Tales and He Man and less like Hannah Montana and whatever Power Rangers series they’re on now. I want my nephew to have mostly good memories of the TV he grew up watching.

Notebook Love.

I bought a new notebook yesterday. It has a picture of a meerkat on the cover.  I’d seen it in the same shop a few weeks earlier, but decided not to buy it as while I love meerkats I didn’t really need another notebook. After seeing it again on sale and £6 cheaper than the recommended retail price, I thought “what the heck” and bought one. I know I’ll use it (indeed I already have planning out this very blog entry).

I like notebooks. I have amassed quite a lot of them over the years. Some were gifts. Some were souvenirs from places I’d been to. Others came as part of stationery sets. One of the first notebooks I ever got had Superted on the front of it.  I also owned ones with Danger Mouse and Dogtanian and the three Muskehounds on them (the greatest cartoons ever, in my opinion). Some of them I bought while in Woolworths or Partners simply because they had pretty covers.

Most of them are filled with stories I’d written (or half wrote, in most cases) and random ramblings and rantings about life and stuff (mostly from the ones I got in my teenage years), as well as a couple filled with homework/revision notes and essay drafts. I never let anyone else read what I wrote in them. They were my thoughts, my ideas, my views,  purely for my eyes only.  The thought of anyone stumbling upon them and reading them would fill me with dread. Even now, I would be a bit embarrassed if anyone  read anything I’d written in one of them.

Today, many of my old ones are languishing somewhere in the house, in boxes with other stuff from my childhood and teenage years.  I often think that I will dig them out and having a read of them one day. If I did, I’d probably be laughing at a lot of the things I’d written. There would very likely be a lot of stuff that would have me cringing a little too. There might even be a few ideas for stories to be found in them. My younger self would probably be embarrassed, even horrified that her  older self might want to go back to them. I would just want to read, relive and enjoy the memories all over again.