Bernard Cribbins criticises 'noisy' children's TV

Bernard Cribbins in Old Jack's Boat In his new show, Bernard Cribbins plays fisherman Old Jack, accompanied by his faithful dog Salty

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Actor Bernard Cribbins, who provided the voices of 1970s TV favourites The Wombles, has said modern children's TV has become too "fast and noisy".

He said some shows now neglect traditional storytelling for the sake of "gratuitous" use of CGI graphics.

The 84-year-old, who was a fixture on Jackanory from the 1960s to '90s, said: "You can't help but notice how children's TV has changed".

Cribbins is returning to the genre in the new Cbeebies show Old Jack's Boat.

He said the series, which starts on Monday, has "a very nice balance" between traditional storytelling and animation.

But of other children's programmes, he said: "It's all very fast and noisy now I think.

"You think of the gentleness of Jackanory, somebody would walk onto the set, sit down and say 'hello I'm going to tell you about Ratty and Mole and the Wind in the Willows' and off you went.

"Nice and gentle, and the only thing you saw, apart from the guy or lady talking to you, was a few captions and illustrations, which were stills. That was how it used to be. Pure, simple storytelling.

"Now there seems to be - sometimes, not always - a tendency to use every single opportunity to put in CGI and animation and a lot of it is, I think, gratuitous when the story is actually doing the work for you.

"I think we've got a very nice balance with Old Jack's Boat of story and little bits and pieces [of animation] as well."

Old Jack's Boat was co-written by former Doctor Who scribe Russell T Davies and features ex-Doctor Who actress Freema Agyeman.

Cribbins is also known for playing Wilfred Mott in Doctor Who as well as for roles in Coronation Street, Last of the Summer Wine and Worzel Gummidge.

He holds the record for the most Jackanory appearances - 111 in total - and played station porter Albert Perks in classic 1970 film The Railway Children.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Bernard Cribbins is quite right. But it's not just childrens' programmes which suffer. Many mainstream programmes (BBC's The One Show for example) have raucous theme music and presenters who seem to have to shout at one another and at the camera. Do they forget they have microphones? Add to that their silly studio banter and self-projection which adds nothing for the viewer except irritation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    I agree with Cribbins.
    In the 1970s we used to sit with our children and watch stories "through the round window". My sons are now in their late 30s and still fondly remember these days.
    Todays version of "childrens programmes" are banal and possibly have some responsibility for the reported change in childrens behaviour.
    Childrens TV reflects the lowered standards of our Politically Correct age!

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    The approach now seems to be-Have a marketing/merchandise idea first and then tack on a few 'details'/storylines to get the programme made and on air......hence the utter rubbish that now proliferates on all chidren's channels.


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