CSI: Night Garden

There’s an interesting program running on children’s TV at the moment: “In the Night Garden” is a BBC production aimed at the 1-4 year-olds of this world. At present Lucy is 19 months, which puts her right in the middle of the age bracket for the show and she loves it. There’s a toy train called the Ninky Nonk (more later on the names) and this has her quite literally jumping up and down in excitement whenever it makes an appearance.

What I find fascinating is the fact it looks like the whole series of shows (all 100 of them!) has been made by a whip-round in the BBC production department. There’s everything in there: adults in big suits, animatronics, CGI, split-screen video overlays, green screen work, and super-size set building. Oh, and throw in a couple of giant inflatables. Basically, whatever each department could afford from what was left in the stationery budget. For kiddies I’m sure it’s a brilliant world that is much more real and engaging than my adult-cynical eyes could ever see.

Despite most of the characters being invented whilst the writers were taking something significantly stronger than aspirin, it is a charming programme. Don’t let names such as Igglepiggle, Makka Pakka, Tombliboos, the Ninky Nonk and the Pinky Ponk put you off. My personal favourite is the cute Upsy Daisy (is it wrong to think that?). She’s got a lovely little sing-song voice and added emphasis is accomplished via various intonations of the phrase “Daisy Doo”.

Today’s episode was quite entertaining: Igglepiggle lost his blanket while out walking and called on the super-sleuth pairing of Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka to find it for him. High drama indeed for the under-5’s.

Next week, Postman Pat gets shot and the Tombliboos gather round as a first aid trio, with a display of drama and quality acting yet to be seen in Casualty.

Slow News Day

I’ve just turned Sky+ off to be confronted by the BBC News 24 service broadcasting on BBC 1. One of the stories on the news ticker was (and I quote):

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut eats 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes at the annual contest in New York, shattering his old record of 66.

What the hell have I been drinking? A hot dog eating championship being reported by BBC News?

Today must be a slow news day.

Plane Sailing

There was a story on the BBC News website recently about a pilot (from Sunderland) who was recalling the recent events where he nearly crashed in the Channel Islands.

Mark Eddlestone’s single-engine aircraft began plummeting at 300ft-a-minute as the crew headed to Jersey.

Plummeting at 300ft-a-minute? There’s nothing plummeting about a descent rate of 300ft/minute. That’s a very gentle downward slope for even the most nervous of passengers.

Don’t forget that once descending at a constant rate, it’s only air pressure which tells you that you’re dropping in height. You can only sense a change in rate of speed (i.e. acceleration), not speed itself. That’s why in a car you can feel hard acceleration yet you’re only doing 30mph, but you can’t feel anything at a constant 70mph.

Plummeting indeed.

Never Play on the Train Lines

There was a story on the local BBC news the other day about a woman who had fallen over whilst crossing a railway line on a gated level crossing. To make matters worse, she managed to fall when there was a train coming.

Now before you think I’m having a go at some poor woman who’s thankful to be alive after losing two limbs in some horrific accident on a train line, I’m not. The level crossing was manned, so a real person needs to look out of the window at the track and only then let the train know it’s safe to proceed. Even the reporting journalist who would have loved a sensationalist story admitted she was in no danger whatsoever.

So let’s see what we have so far: an old woman falling over on a train track, but in reality she was in no danger whatsoever. Normally that wouldn’t even make the Hedge End Informer, but for some reason it had popped up on the 6:30pm BBC South Today news. So what gives?

Well the whole thing seems to have been her reaction to it. She was described as not wanting to use that crossing again because she was “too traumatised”. She was even “considering suing Network Rail for the cost of replacing her glasses which she broken in the fall”.

For God’s sake woman get over it! You’ve fallen over: it’s not anyone else’s fault.

It gets better though – there was the mandatory “on location” report by the poor bloke sent to cover this case. Why do you think I’m being so harsh on this woman? It’s because arching nicely over the head of the reporter in the background of the report is none other than a footbridge.

A woman (who I’ve avoided describing as elderly, because I don’t think she was that far over 60) refuses to use the supplied footbridge, falls over on the train line and all the safety procedures work fine.

I’ve no idea what the outcome of the story was (I couldn’t find it on a web page anywhere), but I hope that Network Rail told her to get lost. I’m sure £75 for new specs would hardly be missed by NR shareholders, but it’s the principle. Replacement glasses indeed.

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