Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Time For Bed, Children

I knew Children's tv was all too nice and middle class before I started to watch this week's BBC4 series. Even the bullies of Grange Hill weren't convincingly menacing.

But as with that Seven Ages of Rock shite, they're messing with my head.

Growing up, at bedtime us kids were told by our dad it was time to "go up the wooden 'ill."

Going "up the wooden 'ill" linked us to a proud history of working class people, generation after generation coaxed by fathers to get up those bleedin' stairs. Maybe not as working class as those kids who went "up the old apples and pears" but proudly working class all the same.

But what do we get from the BBC?

Apparently in the early days of children's tv, the BBC didn't broadcast for an hour after the kids had stopped watching their programmes so that these kids could be taken...

up the wooden hill..

to Bedfordshire!

Bedfordshire is pronounced "Bedfordshur", as the Queen would say. Not "Bedfordsheer" as you or I would say or "Bedfordshyre" as in the venacular of the common country person.

Going up the wooden hill is my heritage. We knew we were going to bed, we didn't need to be told we were going to an unremarkable county in the heartland of England.

"Bedfordshur" would be a place where the child would be read Beatrix Potter or Rupert the Bear before going sleepy byes.

Or maybe middle class kids didn't go sleepy byes, maybe they went to the land of nod on a cushion of clouds, dreaming of being Peter Pan or Wendy.

I have cause to visit the real Bedfordshire now and then. And do you know what?

I never get a good night's sleep.


  1. In the early days they weren't just middle classes, they were lords 'n ladies running the tv! Posher than posh! Lawks a mercy, and no mistake guvnor!

    We went up 't wooden hill to t'Bedfordshire but if we were naughty we were threatened with Luton.

  2. "We want Muffin" originated from afternoon tea at her ladyship's.

    That's the Royal "we".

  3. I've been waiting a long time for the 'Muffin' jokes Geoff. Was that one?
    I hoped they'd be absolutely filthy and disgusting.

    I feel sorry for kids who lived in bungalows.

  4. It was 'beddy byes' for us and 'sweet dreams pink icecreams'.

  5. Kaz - I'm not a convincing dirty joke teller. It wouldn't have seemed right sleeping on the same level as your parents in the living room.

    Romo - We had "nuh night, see you in the morning." I would have hated to have been told "sleep tight. don't let the bed bugs bite." Bed bugs? Where? How can I sleep with those bastards eating me?

  6. Ah, golden days when all the posh children had nightmares of roughly shaved working men, dangling cigarettes, stealing their bottles of ginger beer.

  7. Enid Blyton's bogeyman?

  8. It was that or the girl at boarding school with the creased skirt and a name like Edna. Interloper.

  9. Oh no - I say 'don't let the bed bugs bite'.

  10. Arabella - "Edna" sounds dangerous.

    Romo - That may be good. I was never warned against bed bugs and I'm always waking up thinking there are snakes or big crawly things in the bed.

  11. No wooden hill here. It was beddy-byes. Somehow I don't feel deprived though.