We all know about the thinly-veiled innuendo in cartoons like Captain Pugwash, but have you ever watched something with your kids and thought “Hang on a minute… that means something else too”?
This isn’t a Mary Whitehouse-style, ‘isn’t it awful?’ kind of post, far from it. Also, I’m not taking a pop at any of the programs listed below; they’re all great and we love them in our house. Well apart from anything on the frankly awful BabyTV, anyway.
No, this is just whimsy. I’m looking for hidden meaning that isn’t actually there purely for my own amusement. In the spirit of fairness, you may not want to read on if you’ve not got round to watching Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes yet. If you haven’t, you deserve a slap as they’re brilliant, but I don’t want to spoil them for you. Everyone else ready? Awesome.
Have you ever wondered how Postman Pat has been in employment for over 30 years, for example? I don’t mean in terms of his skill at losing Special Delivery items or even due to his propensity to sideline his job in favour of farcical errands.
No, it’s more down to the timescale. Nobody has aged and he has the world’s oldest cat! There’s only one answer: Pat is actually Gene Hunt and Greendale is purgatory. Now all the high-speed pursuits up hill and down dale in his bright red van – a surrogate Quattro – make sense.
And what of older characters who never made it to the newer series? My money’s on Pat taking them to the local, his job as delivery man of stop-motion souls done. Well I remember Miss Hubbard and Granny Dryden anyway.
Then there’s Bob the Builder. How does he finish projects the same day he starts them? And how does he obtain planning permission for developments in what has to be green belt land? I’ll tell you why: it’s a broadside at the Romans.
They may well have given us the aqueduct, a good chunk of our language and plenty more besides, but could they build their spiritual home in a day? Could they bollocks. Can Tony from Men Behaving Badly do it? Yes, he can! A clear swipe at a great empire, methinks. If I were an ancient, Latin-speaking, vomitorium-inventing Mediterranean type, I’d be a tad narked.
How about The Adventures of Abney and Teal? You have to admit that the premise is a bit Lord of the Flies. Will the madcap pursuits in tunnels of burpy bubbles and plentiful porridge give way to tribalism and pig hunting as the characters illustrate the darkness mankind is capable of? I sincerely hope not, but the dog with the accordion is a bit of a loner – I’d find my way off the island if I were him.
A few more, I think. Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom: a toned-down Romeo and Juliet with Nanny Plum and the Wise Old Elf as the eponymous heroes? Rastamouse: the cheese really is just cheese is it? Yoyo the Magician on BabyTV: Waiting for Godot? In the Night Garden: I can’t find any wildly far-fetched meaning behind this show, but would very much like some of what its creators had before they came up with it.
It can’t be just me can it? Please tell me others of you have strange theories about kids’ TV shows?