We love In the Night Garden in our house; it has become the staple of Dylan’s bedtime routine. I don’t know what its creators were on when they came up with the idea, but it is stellar stuff that seems to hypnotise our little monkey, convincing him in the process that going to sleep would actually be quite nice.
There are, however, a couple of concerns that I have about certain elements of the programme. I should point out that these only came about as a result of me being a typical bloke and deliberately over-analysing something completely innocent in a half-arsed attempt at being funny. In the Fright Garden, if you will.
At the very start, we see Igglepiggle going to sleep in a rowing boat. And those waters are pretty choppy. I worry terribly that he’ll capsize and miss his usual canoodling with Upsy Daisy. Then there are the Haahoos. They bloody terrify me! They are the kind of thing that Steven Moffat seems to embrace when writing the creepier episodes of Dr Who. Is it just me or is there something deeply insidious about them? They advance slowly on the other characters, much in the same way that zombies do.
In my first ever post, I lauded zombies as my silver screen heroes, so why am I bringing them up in an apparently negative context? Well you know where you stand – or, indeed, leg it – with them. Via their demeanour, they are honest about their intentions towards you. They want to rip your face off and for you to then join them to do lunch. Not so with the Haahoos. Behind those smiles, I’m quite sure, is something menacing biding its time.
How about the Wottingers too? They live a parallel life with the Pontipines and play their part in jolly japes around the garden, but are the only characters who don’t get invited to dance under the gazebo or have Derek Jacobi tell them to go to sleep.
One day this lack of recognition is going to get to them and what then? A family feud culminating in the demise of two star-crossed lovers perhaps? It could be even worse and they could go postal and act out a violent adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels involving Igglepiggle. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
It’s all great entertainment on the whole though and the quirks such as Makka Pakka’s OCD and the Tombliboos’ trousers falling down with alarming frequency are things that I can relate to. The Ninky Nonk isn’t realistic though, it’s much more smooth a ride than my train to work…