Today is my daughter's birthday and because my daughter is bossy and not because I am a great mother, I made and mailed an Octonauts-and-whatever-I-could-cut-out-of-an-old-magazine card for her to CBeebies four weeks ago. You will see below that there was no artistic skill involved whatsoever. But nonetheless we were all beside ourselves with excitement this morning when it was shown by the lovely Ben on the 7am birthday cards slot between Dinopaws and Postman Pat. It was like the time I was runner-up in a Blue Peter competition all over again, only without the badge giving me free entry to the Jorvik Viking Centre. Huzzah! My girl on the big screen. She jumped up and down on the sofa with delight, and that made my day.
|It had a flap to lift and everything|
Anyway, I write all this because the BBC, facing massive budget cuts, is thinking about closing down CBeebies. Someone clearly has no idea what that will do to family life, or more specifically to all the stay-at-home parents out there. Gin consumption will escalate. There will be tears and shouting, and not from the children. Children will watch too many adverts on other lesser kiddie channels and start pestering us to buy things. Cerrie, Andy, Alex, Rebecca, Cat, Ben and Katy would end up homeless. Andy might go on a dinosaur adventure and never come back. It just doesn't bear thinking about.
The BBC say programmes would be available online instead, but in my opinion staring at a computer for hours is worse than staring at a television screen, as it's closer to young eyes. And a tablet can't just be on in the background to free movement and creative play: it ties you to a chair. And while I will admit that most 3 year olds can operate an iPad better than me, they still won't have the finesse to locate the programmes they need. Plus the broadband connection in our house is s**te, so half the time watching anything on iPlayer is just looking at that sodding cerise circle buffering. And I bet there wouldn't be a birthday card segment.
Some of you without children will be thinking "Stop moaning, it's a good excuse to switch off your TV set and go out and do something less boring instead." To which I say there's a reason Why Don't You? isn't on any more. (It was crap.) And yes, for ten hours of the day we do, and this is for the remaining two when all other options (not to mention all of us) are exhausted.
Now that she has started school, I don't think that my daughter will watch CBeebies for much longer. She is out of the house for that much more of the day, and soon peer pressure will mean that she graduates to CBBC instead. But that doesn't mean I am not prepared to fight to save CBeebies. I owe it so much. Someone has organised a petition here. Sign it!