Friday, September 24, 2010

MEMORIES OF CHILDREN'S PROGRAMMES


Early children's television programmes were full of spoken received English, (previously known as the King's or Queen's English) which the majority of folk did not speak. Thinking back, the BBC 'Listen With Mother' radio slot in the weekday afternoons was equally as plummy and posh. While children probably accepted there was a bunch of chatterers who did not speak not like them, their families and their friends, the important thing was, the programmes were theirs, they belonged to them. It introduced young minds and ears to listening to stories and mini serialisations. The plum speech didn't matter, anyway, you didn't copy their speech patterns, you just learned to understand it....like learning another language!

Television was a similar story, but I think changes in interaction and speech patterns altered marginally quicker than they did with the children's radio programme slot. As we did not have a television in our house, I only saw children's programmes very occasionally. There was, I remember, the odd stripey-dressed puppet Andy Pandy and The Flowerpot Men in monochrome, jumping around inside a small square bottle-bottomed window. I have no idea what he or they did. 

When I became parent myself, I watched the children's programmes on television with the kids. The daily radio children's slots had vanished long ago.  Rosie and Jim,  who were lively-looking squeaky-voiced puppets, appeared on their brightly painted canal barge houseboat; a programme with Tony Robinson,(now the presenter of the archaeological digs T.V Time Team)  who, in those days, sat at a computer and during the programme he would summon the animation shape of  'Wordeee', to demonstrate the sound, the use and the writing of the magic 'e'.  

I watched the whole series of Sesame Street, it was brilliant for teaching young eyes, ears and minds all sorts of useful things, like sign recognition; snippets of various genres of music; titbits about nature and loads of activities. The little parable style stories, beautifully enacted by colourfully dressed animal characters guided by adults from many ethnic backgrounds, introduced children to the real multi-cultural world.

9 comments:

adamantixx said...

i can remember eagerly sitting on the sofa when Watch With Mother was about to begin...my favourites were The Herbs and i don't think i ever outgrew them!

ZACL said...

I don't know that show Ax: but then we didn't have a T.V. My time was taken, pre-school, sitting with listen with mother.

flightplot said...

I don't remember watching children's TV back then but I do enjoy some present day programmes on CBBC such OOglies and Shaun the Sheep! Flighty xx

ZACL said...

It sounds like you didn't have a functioning TV, either, back in those days of yore. I got to know children's television through the kids growing up. I am out of touch with the present genre of children's programmes. I will admit to hearing about Shaun The Sheep.

My neighbours tune into the non-terrestrial children's programmes that introduce kids to a multi-lingual environment as well as a multi-national one. It strikes me that Sesame Street would still sit well with today's kids watching terrestrial programmes.

XX

keiko amano said...

Hi Zacl,

Here is one episode of a Japanese puppet program called "Aspiration of Three Kingdoms." The ancient Chinese history before Tang Dynasty. The script is Japanese, so it's a bit different from Chinese. But you wouldn't know it, would you? I think Japanese women usually appear helpless. The typical scene is to introduce an out-of-the-world most beautiful woman. 絶世の美女。 All those classical writers were probably very serious but hilarious.

keiko amano said...

Hi Zacl,

Here is one episode of a Japanese puppet program called "Aspiration of Three Kingdoms." The ancient Chinese history before Tang Dynasty. The script is Japanese, so it's a bit different from Chinese. But you wouldn't know it, would you? I think Japanese women usually appear helpless. The typical scene is to introduce an out-of-the-world most beautiful woman. 絶世の美女。 All those classical writers were probably very serious but hilarious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2Br4qL2DO4&feature=bulletin

ZACL said...

There was one fainting woman and I wondered if she was giving birth! It looked at first as if the other older woman might have been a midwife. However, the scene didn't look quite right for all of that kind of drama.

Then the older woman seemed to be instructing her man and hiding behind him till she had assessed the impact of what had been said. That being okay, she put her best traditionally clogged foot forward and stood not just beside the man, but momentarily, in the superior position of being in front of him.

As for the rest of it, I wasn't clear, needless to say about what was going on. It did appear there was a secret counselling group at a clandestine dinner.

What age group was this production made for? It reminds me of a couple of Japanese or Chinese children's films I took my 8 years old child to many years ago. Of course they were in English so we happily sat and enjoyed the differentness of the programme, different that is, to our usual diet of children's entertainment.

Vincent said...

I'm sure your post was prompted by a programme on Radio 4 looking back nostalgically at those children's programmes. The voices strike us now, but watching old films etc one sees how plummy the accents were when addressing the ordinary people via media.

The only thing I got much of was "Listen with Mother" on the radio, which was a ritual for my sister (7 years my junior) with our mother. I know it was special for her, especially as she lived with her father, went to a convent school, and only saw Mother in school holidays. As for TV, films, even radio, they were rare experiences for me - but that is another tale.

ZACL said...

Your experiences with early TV sound the same as mine. Certainly, Listen With Mother via the BBC Radio Home Service, also via our cathode tube radio, was a ritual of mine. It was one where I could sit comfortably in a chair, with a cushion or two and not be disturbed. It was my time, and belonged to me. Sometimes a man would talk to me and tell stories, and sometimes it was a woman.

I would guess my mother had the same thought about a short period of relative quiet for herself when I or any other child was peacefully occupied.