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Posts from the ‘TV’ Category

Michael Morpurgo on The Richard Dimbleby Lecture

‎”this will be an interweaving of sad stories and happy stories. this won’t be a lecture stuffed with *statistics*. less is more when it comes to statistics. a few will do.”



In case you missed the absolute treat of Michael Morpurgo making complete sense on the Richard Dimbleby lecture (Set Our Children Free) last night, you can find it here on BBC iplayer. I stayed up to watch it, but am planning a second viewing. Highly recommended.


They don’t make characters like this any more…do they?

original clanger and bagpuss

So it was date night last week, and we chose to spend it doing something a bit different. We went to see a talk by Peter Firmin, the co-creator of some of the most loved characters that have ever appeared on British television.

Peter drew and/or made the puppets for, and animated all of the following: Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, the Clangers, Bagpuss and Basil Brush. Wow! Isn’t that amazing? And that’s the original Bagpuss in the photo, by the way!

Peter was charming, and he seemed just like Father Christmas’s little brother. He was so inspiring and passionate about his work. As I listened to him, I was struck again and again how DIY his approach was. He made so many things using whatever he had laying around his studio, and I wondered if some of that warm, homemade feeling was what had rubbed off and helped to create the massive charm of his programmes.

I was also chatting to someone beforehand, and he asked me if I was of the school of thought that they don’t make characters like Peter’s any more. It was a great question and it stayed with me. I didn’t really come to a conclusion by the end of the evening. On the one hand, I don’t see anything that feels as charming, and certainly there’s nothing that feels as “physical” and homemade on TV.

But then on the other hand I’m hardly the bullseye target audience am I? And if you think about the gentleness of Waybuloo or In the Night Garden, maybe there is some kind of direct line from Peter’s characters through to those programmes?

What do you think?

Horrible Histories wins Best Sketch Show

At the British Comedy Awards! They are the first children’s TV show to win a British Comedy Award. I think that’s rather exciting myself!

Congratulations CBBC and Horrible Histories!

Ramona Quimby?

Okay, so I really don’t spend all of my time reading Meg Cabot’s blog. No, really I don’t. But while I was just quickly glancing over her latest post last night I discovered this! There is to be a Ramona and Beezus movie. Did everyone know about this except me? It’s already out I think in the US.

Do you remember Ramona?

There was a TV series based on the books by Beverly Cleary. I don’t think I ever read the books as a kid, I’m not sure whether they were published in the UK or widly known about over here which is a shame, but anyway, I watched the TV series. Always on a Sunday morning with an assortment of sweets and chocolate if my parent’s had had friends over the night before (left over peanuts and twiglets and After Eight mints), before anyone else got up. Just me, the TV, food I shouldn’t eat before I’ve brushed my teeth and American/Canadian TV shows… oh how I loved anything from America. I watched it all. Knightrider, The A-Team, The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Saved by the Bell, Fresh Prince of Bell Air, Mr Cooper – okay, carried away now… but I did love Ramona Quimby. Here’s a picture of her incase you’ve forgotten:

I’m excited about the movie, though a little concerned about how cute the children look in it. Selena Gomez plays Beezus and she just looks too nice.

See what I mean? Beezus was always mean to Ramona and irritated by her. Lori Chodos who played her in the TV series had that down perfect. But, I shall wait until I’ve actually seen the film before I cast any further judgement! I don’t think I know anyone who would want to go with me but that’s okay, films on your own can be fun. You don’t have to share the minstrels.

It’s ridiculous also how very much I love Meg Cabot and her blog because never, ever would I have considered going to see a movie called Eat, Pray, Love. Even with Julia Roberts in it (I still have a lot of respect for Sleeping with the Enemy – it gives me the jitters, I like that. It’s the towel scene I think.). Honestly ridiculous, but now I am considering it. I’ll probably be watching that one on my own too!

Where’s Wally film?

Since a previous post on the subject, a fair few of you have asked if I know anymore details of the Where’s Wally (or Where’s Waldo if you are in America) film. I’m sorry, I don’t have any information on it at all. I still can’t imagine what it will be like.

This article though from SlashFilm website has the idea that the movie would take its starting point from the idea the Whitebeard would send Wally off on quests in some of the books and episodes of the TV series which would make sense.

In the meantime you can search for Wally on Google Earth’s Google Street Viewapparently he’s in there somewhere!

“It’s sometimes thought of as a children’s book…

…but it’s far more than that.”

Oh, it started off so well with “I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers playing over images of the Deep South and Alabama but what does that sentence mean exactly? Is being a children’s book not enough? And from a writer too! I’m watching the BBC’s documentary “To Kill a Mockingbird at 50” on iplayer while I work (some people listen to music while they work, I like to have the telly on).

Fair enough I haven’t got very far into my viewing, but this was one of the first lines spoken by the writer Andrew Smith in his visit to Monroeville in Alabama where the book is set, to document how life has changed in half a century. Not the most impressive start but it’s continuing in an interesting way and has been at some points, very disturbing to watch.

To Kill a Mockingbird was and still is one of my favourite books from my childhood and I plan to re-read it during the 50 year celebrations. According to The Bookseller this morning it’s re-entered the charts at 14 – the highest position in its history. I’m excited to think of all those new readers about to embark on the journey of this very special book.

A discussion that’s interesting me at the moment.

I don’t generally read the mirror online, but this popped up on an article reader through work and it interests me. Of course having Milo has made myself and Milo’s dad think about television, books and general consumption of the media in a whole different way, but I am still slightly on the fence as to what I think is necessarily good or bad.

For example. Milo is 14 months tomorrow. He is read to at least three times a day (before every sleep), books are available to him continuously and one of the signs that he responds to the most easily is the one for book (he scampers off and fetches one). This is all a brilliant and wonderful thing that I think most people would agree on. But television is one of those issues that gets parents especially, a little flappy about. When should they start watching, what is too much, too little or even appropriate?

For some reason in my head 2 has always been the age that TV should be introduced, but I don’t know why this is and to be honest the programmes that I have seen for young children (younger than two also) really seem to be quite well made, fun, imaginative and in some cases, educational. I think it probably depends on your little one and as with everything, in moderation.

We did buy Milo a Charlie and Lola DVD for Christmas but he isn’t particularly interested in it yet. The music makes him bop but then so does the BBC Breakfast ident and his new singing donkey.

I like Charlie and Lola though, so at least this is something that will be enjoyable for the both of us at somepoint. He was deeply fascinated by the giant TV at his auntie and uncle’s house over Christmas, but preferred to bat it than actually watch it. It will be interesting watching how his relationship with television develops.

A tricky subject though – has anybody any further thoughts?

And a little more on Beatrix Potter…

Apparently her little books are going to be animated for a brand new TV series. Read all about it here on the Bookseller website.

I LOVE Meg Cabot

I am not in the slightest bit ashamed to say that I have loved and enjoyed all ten of the books in the Princess Diaries series. Sometimes I do feel that I should be a little embarassed by that and keep my stash hidden away, but I am not. They’ve made me laugh, cringe, blush, giggle and feel as awkward as a 15 year old girl again and I am super sad that I have now read Ten Out of Ten and that is it. No more hijinks with Princess Mia and her friends. I now know what happens with her and Michael Moscovitz and I can safely say that the ending was very satisfying – yay!

So, when I did finish that final book in the series it left something of a hole in my life. That feeling that you are never going to have that special kind of escapism that a really great book has given you, ever again. I have read Meg Cabot’s blog on and off for quite some time now and so I turned to it once again in my time of need. For the gossip and to dream about her life; adventures in Brazil, book signings, her cats, her ability to know everything going on in Hollywood etc…

And so to today. I thought I couldn’t love Meg Cabot anymore than I already did as she gave me ten books of pure cheesy, teen pleasure, until I read this post.


I too am completely obsessed with disaster movies. I have also seen all of the disaster movies made for TV including the really, really bad ones. I totally agree that there was no need for the CGI wolves in Day After Tomorrow (I don’t though agree that we should feel sad for them – I have a very big phobia of wolves stemming from some childhood traumas and The Box of Delights… shudder), I too found the lake of acid scene in Dante’s Peak hilarious – though I thought it was two teenagers who fried? Maybe this was just at the beginning. Either way – brilliant! I’m looking forward to seeing 2012 very much.

So I love Meg Cabot because of her obsession with disaster movies. But that’s not it. Nope. I am now so completely in agreement with her for this one line:

2012 stars John Cusack, who gave us Lloyd Dobler, arguably the greatest romantic hero ever created!”

SO VERY TRUE. (Turn away now relatives who read my blog). Lloyd Dobler is everything, EVERYTHING I ever wanted in a man. And that scene in Say Anything is probably the most lovely, wonderful and romantic one of its kind in all of cinema. Ever.

So I’ll leave you with this, and that’s all that needs to be said.

Bookstart on GMTV

Apologies for my disappearing act of late. I’ve been hugely busy with a poorly baby (much better now), building work going on in my house, Booktime work and also reading a manuscript that’s got some good potential. All a bit of whirlwind.

But I saw this today and couldn’t let it go unmentioned. Rosemary Clarke, the director of Bookstart chatting on the GMTV sofa about the importance of nursery rhymes ahead of National Bookstart Day tomorrow. Take a look if you didn’t catch it earlier today. Here’s the link.

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