I was saddened to hear of the death of Oliver Postgate, creator of Ivor the Engine, The Clangers, and Bagpuss (which was voted the most popular children’s television programme of all time)
You know you’re getting old when you start on that ‘things were better in them days’ routine, but children’s programmes are a bit like nursing and parenting; eulogised but there’s no money in it. And like parenting, children’s telly is done by committee nowadays. You have to run things by producers, senior producers, executives . . . everyone is so worried about offending someone. When I co-wrote a small radio programme for children, we weren’t allowed to have a ‘weeing sound’ in case Myrtle from East Cheam rang in to complain that her little ‘Mango and Edgar didn’t tune in to hear the sound of urination!’ (true) Our plaintive appeals of ‘small children like naughty sounds like wees and farts fell on deaf ears. Oliver Postgate was part of the generation of children’s programme makers who had a great idea and were allowed to get on with it, without scores of suits checking every five minutes. What hasn’t changed is there’s still bugger all money in it.