I don't ask for much in life, just a Little Weed

Share

How swiftly expectations can be raised, and how cruelly they can be dashed. Bill and Ben, the Flowerpot Men, are due to return. Hooray. But now the bad news. Not in their original form. Oh no. They are to be given a "21st-century makeover". Hiss, boo, bum.

How swiftly expectations can be raised, and how cruelly they can be dashed. Bill and Ben, the Flowerpot Men, are due to return. Hooray. But now the bad news. Not in their original form. Oh no. They are to be given a "21st-century makeover". Hiss, boo, bum.

What's wrong with the BBC? You don't meddle with classics. You don't release a 21st-century version of the Mona Lisa, the enigmatic smile replaced with a pout and a cigarette. We don't want an updated Last Supper featuring six blokes and six women clutching cokes and burgers at a drive-thru. It's great stuff. It's fine as it is. Leave it alone.

Bill and Ben were, of course, the stars of that delightfully sexist strand, Watch with Mother, which was a filthy lie, certainly in my house. A more accurate title might have been Plonk Your Kids in Front of the Telly for 15 Minutes While Smoking a Fag and Having a Breakdown. Other highlights of the series included, Rag, Tag and Bobtail, which sounds like cheap porn but wasn't; the somewhat androgynous Andy Pandy (naughty Teddy!) and the definitely subversive Picture Book? Subversive? you say, How come? Try this.

There are three of us, not watching with mother, aged nine, eight, and seven. Our hostess opens the picture book. "Today we're in a farmyard," she informs us. "And what can we see in the farmyard?" she continues. "A cock," she confirms, as we fall to the floor, helpless with immature laughter. "A big red cock," she adds. Are you telling me the Picture Book writers didn't know what they were doing? Come off it. Get a grip.

Conspiracy theorists, and I am one of them, would have you believe that Bill and Ben are responsible for the hippie culture that emerged some 15 years later. You can't have innocent young minds watching people calling themselves Flowerpot Men and not have a knock-on - Flower Power and "got any pot, man?".

You can't have a voice subliminally intoning, "Weed Weed," for the better part of 15 minutes without something strange taking place. And how about "Flobbadoba-slobbalob"? I remember that point being expressed many times in darkened, smoke-filled rooms as we skinned up another and blissed out to Donovan.

Of course, I come from a happier, more innocent time. In my day, we kids weren't afraid of long, difficult words like "children's" and "television." We weren't dumbed-down to "CBBC". Or, get this, "CITV". Our presenters spoke in beautifully modulated English, not in some grating, estuarine noise from the east of Essex. Boy bands were thugs who beat you up in playgrounds. Skateboard was something you said when fed-up with fish. Thunderbirds were Go. Oh God they're Back Again.

They are, and they've had their strings digitally removed, which I consider to be butchery. Being able to spot the strings was the best bit. The older you get, the worse things become. Bill and Ben, for example, are to be given three new friends: a hedgehog, a worm and a tortoise. When I was a kid, we didn't require the inclusion of a worm to make our lives more fulfilling.

Nor did Little Weed wear sunglasses, as she will be doing, apparently. Little Weed is meant to be, forgive me if I'm wrong, a weed, and not a large one. I'm no expert on horticultural matters, but when my mother went out in the garden with a trowel and something to kneel on, she didn't return an hour later with a handful of roots and half-a-dozen Ray Bans.

"Tread softly for you tread on my dreams," wrote W B Yeats. "Tread softly for you tread on my childhood," says me. I don't ask for much in life. Just leave well enough alone, make destroying the Blue Peter garden a hanging offence, and bring back the Lone Ranger. With Tonto, not a worm.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own