As I’ve mentioned before, I used to write TV listings. It was a strange job at the best of times – especially the days that we got to bill a rolling news channel – but you could normally rattle off a normal channel pretty quickly. A few half-hour soaps; shove in the news; have a late film on; job’s a good’un.
That theory went out the window whenever it came to kids programmes. Hours upon hours of five-minute programming shards littered the schedules – producing a listing for one programme could take longer than actually watching it. They had the added disadvantage of being completely nonsensical, as kids TV is, leaving you unable to quite grasp how the world worked after a few hours of the damned things. Orange fluff would be curious about a banana. Then a number 3 would be interfering with boxes. Then a spinster with a dog would fly her plane to a bread factory to sing a song about dough. You would wonder the streets at lunch wondering where all the musical numbers had gone.
But Boogie Beebies was always a welcome relief amid the dross. For those who haven’t stumbled across it while choking down your breakfast, it’s essentially a ploy by Auntie to get the nation’s fat toddlers off the sofa and try to burn off some of the Coco Pop Rocks they’ve gobbled up. A United Colours of Benetton carnival of kids dance along with songs about beaches or vegetables or insects (the Bug-a-Loo week remains a personal favourite of mine). There’s no crazy characters, magical plots or flying, singing dog ladies to contend with. It is, in short, perfect television for twenty to seven in the morning.
What makes it is the presenters – Pete Hillier is engaging, without sinking to the downright creepy levels of Justin Fletcher (Something Special, Tikkabilla, Higgledy House…I was unemployed earlier this year, if you were wondering). It was even better during series one, when Nataylia Roni also bopped along with the Pirate Gang (another personal favourite). Lord knows where she went, but I don’t think Pete has ever quite recovered.
Still, the point of Boogie Beebies is that it is bright and happy first thing in the morning, because children having a jolly little bop about is a bright and happy thing. The other channels have to dress up the newsy world of murder, death, corpses, rape and murder in pastel-coloured mediocrity that gaudily reduces serious news to breakfast entertainment, and turns you into passive epsilons before you get the number 8 to work.
So flip your telly over to two and get into the early morning groove. Tenner says that you’ll have a boogielicious kinda day.