Bernard Cribbins criticises 'noisy' children's TV

Bernard Cribbins in Old Jack's Boat In his new show, Bernard Cribbins plays fisherman Old Jack, accompanied by his faithful dog Salty

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Actor Bernard Cribbins, who provided the voices of 1970s TV favourites The Wombles, has said modern children's TV has become too "fast and noisy".

He said some shows now neglect traditional storytelling for the sake of "gratuitous" use of CGI graphics.

The 84-year-old, who was a fixture on Jackanory from the 1960s to '90s, said: "You can't help but notice how children's TV has changed".

Cribbins is returning to the genre in the new Cbeebies show Old Jack's Boat.

He said the series, which starts on Monday, has "a very nice balance" between traditional storytelling and animation.

But of other children's programmes, he said: "It's all very fast and noisy now I think.

"You think of the gentleness of Jackanory, somebody would walk onto the set, sit down and say 'hello I'm going to tell you about Ratty and Mole and the Wind in the Willows' and off you went.

"Nice and gentle, and the only thing you saw, apart from the guy or lady talking to you, was a few captions and illustrations, which were stills. That was how it used to be. Pure, simple storytelling.

"Now there seems to be - sometimes, not always - a tendency to use every single opportunity to put in CGI and animation and a lot of it is, I think, gratuitous when the story is actually doing the work for you.

"I think we've got a very nice balance with Old Jack's Boat of story and little bits and pieces [of animation] as well."

Old Jack's Boat was co-written by former Doctor Who scribe Russell T Davies and features ex-Doctor Who actress Freema Agyeman.

Cribbins is also known for playing Wilfred Mott in Doctor Who as well as for roles in Coronation Street, Last of the Summer Wine and Worzel Gummidge.

He holds the record for the most Jackanory appearances - 111 in total - and played station porter Albert Perks in classic 1970 film The Railway Children.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Watched CITV's Old Skool Weekend and it was amazing how well those programmes held up to today. Now quite few years older ad yet was still held captive. I

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    I agree completely... it surly does appear that our children are being subjected to what appears to some sort of relentless techno rubbish with very little imaginative story and content. This surly can’t be good for young developing minds! Thank you for speaking up, you are a true ‘gentleman’ in the true sense of the word and may your God bless you Mr Cribbins x

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    I don't know - there are parallels between many govt, policies, MP's behaviours and good old fashioned Fairy Tales.
    For Free Schools "policy" think Emperor's clothes.
    Goldilocks and the three bears - porridge and bedknapping ; expenses and rental scandals.
    Jack and the beanstalk - Gideon's plan A.
    Dick Whittington - internships and low pay/no pay scamming of youngsters.
    See - all is not lost.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    hes 100% right

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    When making Sesame Street a team of psychologists where hired to see what children paid attention to and how often - with very interesting results. It was discovered that they only watched what they understood - looking away when they didn't. I took my grandson to a panto - and he reacted similarly. Overloading with 'noise' wasn't interesting to them - a good story told well did. No 'noise'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Noggin, where are you now when we need you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    As with everything the marketing people take over with toys, games, DVD's, comics and whatever they can squeeze every single penny out of parents. This has always been the case but perhaps not as prolific as these days where it seems the characters were designed around the marketing aspect..

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    There used to be a quality broadcaster which has sadly been charging off in a different direction in the name of profits and personal opportunities. that broadcaster was the BBC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Suggest you turn the volume down if its to loud.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Oh look, a member of the old generation patronisingly disapproving of what entertains the new generation. How original. I've watched children TV shows and cartoons of today, they have deeper, more complicated story lines, with greater diversity. Watch the old fashion superhero cartoons and compare them to today.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    I agree with Cribbins.
    In the 1970s we used to sit with our children and watch stories "through the round window". My sons are now in their late 30s and still fondly remember these days.
    Todays version of "childrens programmes" are banal and possibly have some responsibility for the reported change in childrens behaviour.
    Childrens TV reflects the lowered standards of our Politically Correct age!

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    The approach now seems to be-Have a marketing/merchandise idea first and then tack on a few 'details'/storylines to get the programme made and on air......hence the utter rubbish that now proliferates on all chidren's channels.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I absolutely agree, I think there is a tendency to try to compete with computer games. My absolute favourite for my 6 year old at the moment is Abney and Teal - wonderful calm old school stuff. And for real old school try Ivor the Engine - brilliant for getting them to sit still and take in the story instead of bouncing off the walls :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    And in many cases much too violent… even if it is cartoons (and I'm not referring to things like Wiley E Coyote falling off a cliff).

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    There's been a steady decline in the quality of all programming over the years, not just children's TV.


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