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.