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Dawn Isaac

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Michelle Obama, garden gnomes and Cbeebies shortcomings

Posted by Dawn Isaac on 02 Oct 2009 at 01:42 PM

Children's TV

One day, when Ava turned her nose up at something on her plate, I sagely said "Well you might grow to like it.  Tastes change." 

"Yes," said Ava, "that's because adults have fewer taste buds than children. They die as you get older."

"Well," I replied, slightly taken aback, "I suppose that could be true."

"It is" said my daughter.  "I know.  I saw it on Nina and the Neurons."

This is becoming a problem.  I now officially know less than my daughter about biology, physics, chemistry and, if those Numberjacks don't shut up, maths too.

But there are areas of my children's eduction poorly catered for by good old Cbeebies.  This week, with news of Michelle Obama's appearance planting veg on Sesame Street, I was reminded how paltry and vaguely disturbing our child-based gardening programmes really are.

I give you exhibit A - Gordon the Garden Gnome.  I guess it looked great on paper - a cute little cartoon gnome with a range of tiny friends all fitting some vague stereotype from the proud, wealthy and foolish try-hard neighbour to the dependable friend and the humorous side-kick. 

But surely I'm not the only one to find bearded old men in tight-fitting dungarees far from ideal role-model material.  And although I have always had a soft spot for Alan Titchmarsh, being the voice of Gordon was not his finest hour - I'd even rate it below his appearance on the Archers (which is saying something).

Other than that, we're left with Mr Mopple, in Step Inside - supposedly a gardener, yet as the title suggests, he has a habit of leaving his work at a moment's notice to step inside a talking house and converse with Boris the bookshelf, Twinkle the cat and Chloe the clock.  Really, I'm not making this up.

Of course, my own childhood was not much better.  We had Percy Thrower and the Blue Peter garden, but my only real memory of that was the goldfish in the sunken garden pond and the scandal when it was vandalised (which may, or may not, have involved footballer Les Ferdinand).

Perhaps we should follow the American way and have Sarah Brown joining her husband to pot up seedlings with Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy.  On second thoughts, maybe we should just stick with the Gordon we've got. 

Comments

Foxnfirefly said:

Fun reading, Dawn.  To tell you the truth, kids pick up gardening from their parents/grandparents, not politicians.  It's more important that schools have teaching gardens for the kids to have handson-on experience.  TV programs are soon forgotten.

on 05 Oct 2009 at 04:59 AM

Dawn Isaac said:

Except of course Bagpuss, which will stay with me forever!  Not that he was very good on the best time to plant your garlic...

on 05 Oct 2009 at 12:12 PM