Tuesday, 1 May 2012

It's Children's TV - But Not As We Know It

I grew up in the age of the Flumps, Fingermouse, Bagpuss and Bod. It was a fantastic era of children's TV. Or so I thought until I showed my eldest son clips on You Tube. He was quite amused by The Flumps, unsure about Bod but quite taken with Fingermouse. I, however, was quite shocked to note, firstly, how dated the programs look (they seem so modern and crisp in my mind's eye) and secondly just how rubbish they seem now. With the exception of Bagpuss of course, who remains fabulous, even if the picture quality isn't.

Anyhow, the main point is that children's programs change over the years. Of course they do. But the difference from country to country is also quite staggering. Take the Netherlands for example. Dutch children's TV is different to much of the programming you would see on CBBC.

There is of course a fair share of kid's TV in the Netherlands which is taken over from the BBC and dubbed. "In the Night Garden" is a good example of this. But many programs are of course Dutch, and unlikely ever to reach British viewers of the BBC.....

Kabouter Plop is one such program - it is such a typically "Low Lands" program (it's actually Belgian but popular in the Netherlands too) but I'm not sure what it is about it that makes it so. Before some bright spark points out they speak Dutch in the program.... that's not the only thing that makes it very Belgian/Dutch.

Photo: Wynand Delport
Children growing up with Dutch TV will also notice that Big Bird from Sesame Street is not yellow like the English speaking version, but in fact blue. He's also not called Big Bird but Pino.... in fact many of the characters are different in the Dutch version.

The other thing I notice is that there is a fascination with poop when it comes to children's entertainment in the Netherlands. Don't ask me why.

So, here's the question... what do your children watch on TV in your host country that they would never see on TV in your birth country? Does kid's television differ wildly between your host and home countries?


  1. I like the Dutch Sesamstraat, though the mix of dubbed American sketches and supplementary Dutch material seems bizarre at first. As for the fixation with poo, I can't think of a better example than this (keep watching through to 0:55): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mSQR0sjiys

  2. What a perfect example of this strange fixation!!! Thanks for sharing!