CHRISTMAS radio Trumpton Riots

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The Independent Culture
Trumpton Riots

12noon daily, Christmas Day to Fri 29

There are certain things, common memories, which define a generation - for people born in the Forties and the early Fifties, it might be the first Beatles LP, the death of Kennedy, Geoff Hurst and 1966; for an older generation it's probably the war and the Coronation and Tommy Handley on the radio. But for people born after 1960, the defining memories are all to do with television: with Hugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub; with naughty old Hector and Zaza the cat; with the Clangers, the Soup Dragon and Clopper Castle (right); with the tune that the mice on the mouse organ used to sing, and the noise that Ivor the Engine used to make.

pulls those glowing memories out of the cupboard and tries to analyse why those old children's programmes can still tug so powerfully at the nation's collective conscience. Of course, not everybody will agree with the series's priorities - surely it can't be right that Tiswas gets 25 minutes all to itself (Tuesday), while the entire Oliver Postgate/Peter Firmin canon (Noggin the Nog, The Clangers, Ivor the Engine, Bagpuss and, most importantly, Pogle's Wood) gets packed away into one programme (Monday), and The Herbs doesn't even get a look in. At the very least, you would have thought they could spare some time to answer the vexed question of whether there actually is a such a herb as Pashana Bedi ("Very good at snake charming am I") - it isn't in any herbal or cook-book I've found.

On the other hand, who could resist the unearthly beauty of Brian Cant interviewing Postgate and Firmin on the actual site of Pogle's Wood (where he learns that Ivor the Engine was influenced by Under Milk Wood, and Professor Yaffle the woodpecker was based on Bertrand Russell)? Or Fred Harris (of Playschool and the much- missed Ragtime) talking to Gordon Murray, the creator of Camberwick Green? Christmas is for children; but nobody will blame you if you lock them up somewhere so you can listen to the radio in peace.

RH

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