I've been somewhat remiss of late, thanks to work commitments, so it seems only fitting that I return with an old favourite of this blog, namely children's tv programmes. The prompt for this has been the death of Oliver Postgate, creator of Bagpuss and The Clangers, amongst others.
Being a 70's kid, Bagpuss and The Clangers loom large in my childhood memory, right up there with Pipkins (It's.......................TIME! for a story), Crystal Tips and Alastair, Charlie the Cat and his mad musings on health and safety, Mary, Mungo and Midge, and of course, the titan that is Rainbow. Now, it should be pointed out that children's tv programmes at this period were downright weird and occasinally deeply disturbing. I know I've mentioned Roly Poly Fucking Olie before and The Bloody Weird World of Richard Scarry (involving a worm in a wheelchair), but these are American programmes and bloody idiotic by dint of being far too wholesome. And Crap. Home-grown British kids'tv however...weirdness abounds, alongside some deep political commentary and drugs references, or somewhat disturbing sexual connotations. Captain Pugwash, ALLEGEDLY (that's for the benefit of the lawyers), a tale of salty seafolk on the high seas, contained a Seaman Staines and Roger the Cabinboy. Fingerbobs, a programme involving really duff finger puppets, had a presenter who looked like he should have been confined to an institution that dealt with all kinds of strange...urges. Mary, mungo and midge? Searing indictment on the miserable solitude of modern life, where a single girl is trapped in a high-rise block of flats, with only a mouse and a dog as friends. Crystal Tips and Alastair? a pair of Acid-tripping freaks, giggling and chasing butterflies. Mr Benn? Well, what can you say better than it does itself: 'all of a sudden, the shopkeeper appeared and said, 'fancy a trip, mannn?' and Mr Benn found himself embarking from a UFO in the middle of some mushrooms while all the fairy people danced around singing about the Age of Aquarius...'
Bagpuss is different. Now, i thought I'd already mentioned this in an earlier post on this blog, but I'm damned if I can find it. Bagpuss is actually a communist dialectic. Let's look at the facts. It's set in a junk shop - an Edwardian junkshop. this is clearly symbolic of the collapse of capitalism. Bagpuss himself is a symbol of the Communist revolution. Why? Because 'When he wakes up, EVERYONE wakes up!' that is, all true revolutionaries heed the spirit of the time.
the mice? they are the GLORIOUS PROLETARIAT. Their song is 'we will fix it, we will mend it', that is, they shall rebuild all society into a fair and just place for all.
The frog is the minstrel, composing poems in celebration of Bagpuss' achievements, while Professor Yaffle is the intellectual, guiding with a wise wooden beak the works of the proletariat.
See? it works.
Don't ask me about Ragdolly Anna though. She's some kind of Commie Groupie.