Humpty Dumpty had a great fall... but don't worry, he'll be fine

The BBC has softened the ending to the nursery rhyme

For generations, the cautionary tales of the grown-up world wrapped up in nursery rhymes have been a normal part of childhood. Children have somehow managed to cope with a world where mice are blind, blackbirds are baked in pies and old women live in shoes.

But the BBC has triggered amazement by changing the words of Humpty Dumpty on one of its children's programmes to give the accident-prone character a happy ending. A programme on the broadcaster's children's channel CBeebies featured a singalong feature in which, instead of being unable to "put Humpty together again", all the King's Horses "made Humpty happy again".

The new version of Humpty Dumpty was broadcast on Friday in the CBeebies programme Something Special, presented by Justin Fletcher. Something Special is aimed at children with special needs, although it is popular with all under-fives. The BBC insisted the nursery rhyme was not modified because of its target audience.

A BBC spokesman insisted yesterday that the original nursery rhyme had been changed for "creative" purposes. Humpty Dumpty featured in a number of "sketches", she added. The original nursery rhyme could be seen in full on the CBeebies website.

But the Labour MP and former minister Tom Harris, who watched the programme on Friday with his two sons, aged five and three, said it was "pathetic" that CBeebies felt the need to rewrite one of the most famous nursery rhymes in an apparent attempt not to upset children.

The MP for Glasgow South said yesterday: "For goodness sake. Obviously children will find it far too violent, distressing and horrific that Humpty should not be put together again."

Mr Harris claimed there was a trend of CBeebies giving its young viewers a more sanitised version of the world.

In a recent episode of the CBeebies cookery show Big Cook Little Cook, the tale of Little Miss Muffet ended with the girl befriending the spider, rather than running away in fright.

Mr Harris added: "This is what happens when adults try to make these kinds of judgements."

A BBC spokesman said yesterday: "We play nursery rhymes with their original lyrics all the time and the small change to Humpty Dumpty was done for no other reason than being creative and entertaining."

Earlier this month a survey by the reading charity Booktrust found that a fifth of parents do not read nursery rhymes at all to their children.

Happy ever afters: The IoS rewrites some childhood favourites

* Seesaw Margery Daw, Johnny shall have a new master. He shall earn the minimum wage, because the Labour government made it legally binding.

* Rock a bye baby on the tree top, when the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks, the cradle will be safe because the tree has undergone a health and safety assessment.

* Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get her poor doggie a bone. When she got there, the cupboard was full because she just had a delivery from Ocado.

* London Bridge is undergoing planned engineering works. Please wait for further announcements.

* Three visually impaired mice, three visually impaired mice. See how they run, see how they run. They all ran after the farmer's wife, who handed them over to the RSPCA.

* Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep – but she knows how to find them because she has satnav.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Company decides to go for simply scary after criticising other sites for 'creepy and targeted' advertising

Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
News
news

Footage shot by a passerby shows moment an ill man was carried out of his burning home

Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Travel
travel

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Programmatic Business Development Manager

£35 - £40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: As the Programmatic Business Develo...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Trainee Recruitment C...

European Retail Sales Manager, Consumer Products

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: My client is looking for an...

Sales Director, Media Sponsorship

£60000 - £65000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A globally successful media and ...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past