Like the Teletubbies, In the Night Garden will one day make the trans-Atlantic trek. Even though it is produced by the same company, I don’t think it will have as controversial a character as Tinky Winky for people like Jerry Falwell to accuse of sexual ambiguity, so we’ll have to see how well it does. For now, it is all the rage in the UK. Today’s Daily Telegraph has an article on the ITNG phenomenon.
Including in our house. It is aimed at under-5s, though our slightly over-5 is as big a fan. (This could have something to do with the fact that it is the only broadcast television the kids are allowed to watch except on the weekends.) It has something of a hypnotic effect. I hum or sing the music without thinking. I have even been known to hum it in lessons, and I have students who immediately recognise it, as they have little siblings who watch it every evening.
I know all of the characters, and even made up names for some of them. The trio of Tombliboos, are only known collectively on the show, but after I christened them “Dimbo,” “Dumbo,” and “Pombo” in an off-the-cuff remark, my children have received this into the ITNG canon.
Like many other households, our Christmas budget and those of some of the grandparents contributed to the massive income the ITNG creators have received from merchandise licensing. We didn’t get the £40 Igglepiggle with blanket, but we have a smaller Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka, a Ninky Nonk, five-episode DVD, and perhaps other bits and bobs.
Despite it’s budgetary implication, ITNG is wonderfully devoid of content, making it very good pre-bedtime viewing. There don’t appear to be any dangerous philosophical overtones or an agenda. The only intelligible words are spoken by Sir Derek Jacobi in the voice-over. Otherwise it is all gibberish.
It is all summed up in the words of Makka Pakka: “Makka Pakka.”