Friday, 15 May 2009

Its saggy and old, but i love it - Bagpuss

Advantages: A nostalgia trip and a lesson on how it was done back in the day

Disadvantages: RP, doesn't really go down with the kids these days

Please forgive me if it seems I am suffering from false memory syndrome, or get a few of the details wrong, but Bagpuss was a long long time ago. 

If I recall correctly I would get up on a Saturday morning before my parents and would be a little bored waiting for everyone to rise. So, it was a choice between Tony Blackburn and Arnold, or the telly. 

So, the telly would go on and the choice would be The Open University or... ummm... nothing, well Carol Hersee, her infinitiely static game of noughts and crosses and Bubbles the clown - test card F - were talking the 1970s 

So I would plump for The Open University. This might explain why I had three Doctorates by the age of sixteen 

No, let's be serious now. 

There would be a wait from whenever you got up till, if I recall correctly, 09:15 when Bagpuss came on BBC1. At last, with a head full of quantum physics, I could settle down to something I might enjoy: the world of Emily (Firmin, daughter of Peter Firmin, one of the creators of Bagpuss), Bagpuss her saggy old cloth cat, which she loved despite of the sag, the mice, and Professor Yaffle. 

Bagpuss is your typical 'toys coming to life' children's story. Emily, not quite the protagonist, owns a shop which doesn't sell anything, what she does (in sepia tones) is brings lost and broken things she has found to the shop, and leaves them in the shop window where the owner's might see them and collect them. 

The objects might be something like a ship in a bottle or a ballet shoe. Once Emily leaves the scene (the shop window) the toys there come to life, and discuss the object. The viewing children are told a story about the object, then the mice will magically fix the object. 

The narrative of bagpuss might not go down to well with modern children - thankfully television has moved away from the middle-englishness of the BBC and its Received Pronunciation of old, which my generation accepted as 'normal'. 

Having said that, I hear rumours that bagpuss is to be remade. Despite what I think about the stuffiness of the original narrators, I would not want to hear Professor Yaffle talking in street slang - he is more Bertrand Russell than Russell Brand. 

But then again, I am not a six year old, living in a sophisticated 21st century.

Summary: Classic children's entertainment from a bygone day.

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