Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Interesting facts

Sir Derek George Jacobi, CBE is an English actor and director, knighted in 1994 for his services to the theatre. His television and film work started in 1972, but his big break was in the title role of I, Claudius as emperor Claudius. He has won a massive amount of awards over the years namely for I, Claudius, Gosford Park, The Tenth Man, Little Dorrit, Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon and even an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, for Frasier (episode "The Show Must Go Off").

Why is all this interesting to me though, well a lot of the readers and contributers here are parents and may have come across a programme on BBC called "In the night garden". This show is created by the same people who brought you The Teletubbies, and who is the narrator only Mr Jacobi.

For those of you who have not seen this show here is a brief synopsis of what it is all about taken from Wikipedia

The programme is said by its creators to be designed to both relax as well as entertain its intended audience of one to three year olds. One hundred episodes were commissioned by the BBC with a budget of £14.5 million. WOW.

It features a mix of actors in costumes, puppetry and computer animation.

The programme features colourful characters: Upsy Daisy, Igglepiggle, Makka Pakka and three Tombliboos who live in a forest. As well as trees and tropical birds (Tittifers), the forest features a surprisingly large cast of other creatures for a programme aimed at toddlers. All of the characters have their own unique phrases which they repeat over and over. Little of what they say would make sense or seem logical to any adults watching but the repetition of sound associated with the characters builds up familiarity amongst the target audience. Like Teletubbyland, the forest is a surreal environment and this, along with the title of the programme and the opening sequence of the programme featuring a sleeping child, perhaps indicates the programme is intended to represent a child's dream. "We wanted to explore the difference between being asleep and being awake from a child's point of view: the difference between closing your eyes and pretending to be asleep and closing your eyes and sleeping," said co-creator Anne Wood.

Each episode ends with the characters going to sleep, with one character receiving a bedtime story (which is generated by the "Magic Roundabout" style gazeebo that sits at the centre of the Night Garden). This story is a summary of the plot of the episode, just as in the Fimbles.

Because Igglepiggle is a visitor to the garden he does not go to sleep, and his goodbye sequence ("Igglepiggle's not in bed!" — "Squeak!" — "Don't worry, Igglepiggle, it's time to go.") rounds off the programme - the Night Garden retreats into the night sky and we see him asleep on his little boat as the programme's closing titles roll.

When we see a character for the first time they normally have a song associated with them for example Makka Pakka possibly has one of the best ones going.

Makka Pakka,
Akka Wakka,
Mikka Makka moo! (action: clap hands)

Makka Pakka,
Appa Yakka,
Ikka Akka ooo (action: clap high right, then low left, then back to centre)

Hum dum,
Agga Pang,
Ing, ang, ooo (action: turn around)

Makka Pakka,
Akka wakka,
Mikka Makka moo! (action: clap hands)

My little 15 month old is mad about 2 things Dora the explorer and In the night Garden, I have to say I am too, In the night garden may well be drug induced but after a hard day at work I know I can come home to watch it on Cbeebies at 6.20 and relax and possibly doze off.

And to finish my longest post ever I must congratulate the award winning 69 year old Derek Jacobi for reading such a mental script in such a soothing way.

1 comment:

  1. Had a look on youtube. Its a bit too acid-tripy for me. I wonder do programmes like this really work.

    I wonder how in an age with mounds of studies on education and child psychology, our capacity for learning seems to be so much less than 100 yrs ago. I only to point to our 400% failure, generation after generation, to teach any languages. Its the burden and benefit of being on top of the language chain.