Line of Duty is great, but Duggee is king of the TV in our house: One Thing or a Mother

I’d like to say I’m a perfect parent, who never dumps my children in front of the TV out of a necessity to get things done (like feeding them for the 807th time that day). But if I did say that, I’d be lying.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 12:33 pm

Like many other parents, I hope, I find my two children love a healthy (is it?) dose of children’s programmes. And what better channel to bung them in front of... ahem... lovingly sit them in front of than CBeebies

You know all its shows are pretty safe and the scheduled viewing won’t encourage them to start speaking in an American accent (YouTube and Nickleodeon have a lot to answer for – my daughter asked me if she could have some ‘candy’ the other day, and another time asked if she should put her rubbish in the ‘trash’!). Plus, many CBeebies shows can be classed as educational.

So without further ado, here are my top-five programmes on CBeebies – and one of the worst.
The best:-

Captain Barnacles, Kwazii and Peso will teach your children all about the ocean. Image credit: BBC/OCTONAUTSTM

1) Hey Duggee. Hands down, the best thing on children’s TV, if not TV in general. There are so many adult jokes and references in there, I could quite happily watch it when the children aren’t even here (Actually, I’m pretty sure I have!). Duggee and his Squirrel Club get up to all sorts of antics to earn badges. Like Brownies, but think more abstract (accolades are earned for learning about hiccups, cheese and even sticks!). Supporting characters abound, but my absolute favourite is Alain L’Odeur in the Tooth Brushing Badge episode. It’s comedy gold.

2) JoJo and Gran Gran. Not only are the episodes pretty watchable for adults, there’s a nice mix of animation and real person segments teaching children life skills, like how to catch a bus (although if my son makes me watch the dinosaur museum episode one more time I may go mad, lovely as I’m sure Ezra the tour guide is). Plus, Gran Gran is great. She provides a free babysitting service, regularly takes JoJo on educational jaunts around the town and I reckon she’d be a right laugh on a night out.

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3) Alphablocks and Numberblocks. Top-notch programming, because you can let the kids watch it guilt-free. One teaches phonics, the other maths. It’s basically like getting them a home tutor. Winning!

Katherine Hollisey-McLean's new column is called One Thing or a Mother SUS-200917-065003001

4) Go Jetters. This is their geography lesson. A group of four ‘experts’ in essential world-saving skills like gymnastics, the crew is lead by a camp unicorn as they save the planet from a bumbling baddie called Grandmaster Glitch. Sounds ridiculous, but that’s the beauty of it. Plus, they actually do learn a lot about countries and their famous landmarks thanks to Ubercorn’s funky top three (don’t ask!).

5) Octonauts. Did you know otters hold hands while they sleep, to prevent themelves from drifting away from their group? Neither did I until I watched Octonauts. Captain Barnacles and the team have got oceanography covered. View in combination with a couple of Attenborough documentaries and your little ones will be experts on the natural world.

And the worst?

1) On a channel that can barely be criticised, Bing is a very big stain on the good CBeebies name. This whiny, needy, downright annoying bunny is guided through life by Flop, who looks to be a soft toy and has the patience of a saint. After navigating such disasters as Bing accidentally weeing on his own blanket while he’s on the loo, Flop declares at the end of each episode that the issue ‘is a Bing thing’, which makes no sense and is possibly the most irritating phrase on television. Watch it at your peril!

Well done, Katherine, you’ve earned your Column Badge!