Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quote of the day

"The character design, the writing, the narration, the sound effects, the music: each individual element of every Smallfilms creation was absolutely pitch-perfect. That's not just rare, it's almost unprecedented. That it all appeared effortless is a testament to their genius: it's a level of craft that's impossible to achieve by anyone aiming for it on a conscious level. It's either in you or it isn't. It was in Oliver Postgate, and that's why he was - for my money, and without the slightest whiff of hyperbole - the greatest children's storyteller of the last 100 years. Rest in peace, sir. You earned it."

In a rare-as-hen's-teeth moment of being sincerely positive, with nary a sign of witty savagery or withering sarcasm, Charlie Brooker writes on the late Oliver Postgate in his Guardian column on Saturday. But, as is usually the case, he speaketh the truth.

(Incidentally, he has a point about Postgate being a great example of a good old-fashioned British eccentric, which I meant to make a few days ago - it's fitting that for a nation supposedly full of men busying themselves away in their sheds (at least one of our authors uses his shed as his office...), some of our finest children's programmes were put together in a cowshed...)

I only came across the Guardian article having caught last night's 'Screenwipe', which had eerily already been earmarked to be devoted to children's TV and ended with Brooker delivering a tribute that was almost word-for-word identical. I shouldn't have to encourage you to watch, but you really should, you know.

5 comments:

Del said...

I saw the Screenwipe, and Brooker's monologue at the end was wonderful. Spot on as ever.

I can still recite whole sections of Ivor the Engine from the audio tapes I had as a kid.

Must buy the DVDs of that and Bagpuss and Noggin the Nog and The Clangers for my kids...

Ben said...

I've got 'Bagpuss' on video (as well as on a T-shirt, actually) and 'Ivor The Engine' was great - when I moved to Cardiff I was hoping I'd instantly know what everyone did for a living. "Hello there Dai the Mortgage Adviser"! "How's it going, Gwyneth the Marketing Executive"

Don't ever really remember seeing 'Noggin The Nog'. 'The Clangers' was just odd...

Alison said...

The screenwipe monologue was really lovely, gave me one of those smiley-cry happy/sad moments. And it's the first I'd heard of the pingwings: "They lived under the junk, under the bunks and trunks and swings at the back of a barn", I can't read that without hearing Postgate's lovely voice. There's a bit of film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwL9DA84Wus

Betty said...

Got around to watching the Screenwipe kids' TV special, and now find myself compelled to look up YouTube clips of the completely out there Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson show. Absolutely terrifying. If I had been forced to watch that when I was a child I would probably be on mind numbing medication for the rest of my life.

Ben said...

Absolutely terrifying indeed. If that's what keeping away from drugs and not straying from the straight and narrow inspires a man to do, then it's not really a strong recommendation, is it?