Having young children offers up many challenges that parents need to get through, whether it’s nappies, food or sleep (the lack of). But one area where we long-suffering mums and dads don’t get the support we really need is television. Kids TV can be a useful babysitter, but we sure do pay the price for this help. There’s episodes of some programmes that I’ve probably seen more times than I’ve seen my own face and I hate the sight of them even more.
This repetition, combined with the fact that these programmes are, you know, made for toddlers, can cause fairly extreme emotional reactions. So, in that spirit, based on hours and hours of bleary-eyed, resentful research, here is a definitive list of the ten kids TV characters that I most want to disappear from my life. FOREVER.
10 – Topsy And Tim’s Dad
He’s possibly got a real name, but I doubt it gets mentioned in the show. As a rule, dads in kids TV shows tend to be a bit thick and irritating but Topsy & Tim’s Dad really takes the biscuit. Not only does he need DIY Derek to bail him out of every decorating disaster, but he’s also a bit of a showboater who likes to make everything about him. Come on Topsy & Tim’s Dad, the show’s not named after you…
9 – Horrid Henry
This one is very subjective, mostly because my son had a spell of being obsessed with Horrid Henry and somewhat coincidentally started becoming considerably more horrid. He screamed IT’S NOT FAIR at every minor set-back or request for him to eat some non-pizza-related food, and started to see Henry as some kind of role model. I’ve never been in favour of censoring entertainment because of the effect it supposedly has on people, but when it comes to this I’m all in favour of BANNING THIS FILTH.
8 – Grandpa (In My Pocket)
I’m a bit conflicted by this one because it’s great having James Bolam appearing on CBeebies and classing up the joint, but his character in this show is really rather irritating. Sure, grandparents get to be the fun ones, having served their time as parents, but whenever this Grandpa puts his shrinking cap on he turns into an irresponsible jack-ass who just causes lots of trouble for his poor grandson. Mind you, the cap must shrink his brain too, so maybe I’m being harsh.
7 – Blaze
A pretty new one this, Blaze is a monster truck from the show Blaze And The Monster Machines, a show on Milkshake that seems to last at least two hours an episode. Blaze is the the hero of the piece and of course saves the day each week, no matter what crazy scrapes his pals get into. However, the way he does it is a little too familiar, needing the audience to help out, like we’re not already sick of that from Tree Fu bloody Tom. And instead of dancing, this time we have to shout out words to make bits of machinery appear on him. Shouting CARBURETTOR at 8am isn’t my idea of fun.
6 – Raa Raa
Raa Raa is a character I’ve had a change of heart over in the last year or so. When my oldest son started to like it, I found it quite charming and fun, and the lovable lion reminded me of him. A year or so later and the charm has worn off. Possibly because I’ve seen every episode many times (not quite as often as I’ve seen every single second of Pip Ahoy, which seems to only have four episodes in total), but each and every annoying song and rhyme is embedded in my brain and I want it to end. NOW.
5 – H.P.
If you’ve never seen Toot The Tiny Tugboat, you’ve missed out on a lot. Well, ok, you haven’t. Toot himself is kind of annoying, but generally good-hearted. The Harbourmaster is wise and his grandkids (where are their parents?) aren’t too bad. Sure, I’ve got questions about why Ken Toyn has to be referred to by his full name at all times (he’s the only Ken on the show) but the main problem I have is with H.P. He’s a showboating speedboat who only thinks of himself and instigates most of the crises in the harbour. Like most irritating characters on this list, he never learns his lesson and is back to being a prat again after the credits roll.
4 – Angelina Ballerina
As a father of two boys, you’d think I’d be spared TV shows about mice who do ballet, but this simply isn’t the case. More’s the pity, because I hate this damn mouse. Not because it’s about ballet or even because everything in the show is named after cheese, but because Angelina is such a pain. She’s entitled, lazy, selfish, jealous and while she always learns her lesson by the end of the episode, it’s always forgotten when the next one comes around.
3 – The Rat In The Hat
A show based on a weird nonsense song by Enid Blyton’s nephew, featuring some damn bananas who can’t even be bothered getting dressed every day and generally getting themselves into trouble. And they’re not even the most annoying characters in it, because there’s the Rat In The Hat (when I normally talk about him, ‘Rat’ gets replaced by a word that rhymes with it). He’d sell anyone out for a quick buck, his catchphrase is ‘cheese and whiskers’ and it’s hard to see why any of the other characters would want to be his friends. Apart from the fact that they’re all idiots.
2 – Sportacus
Ok, let’s get this out of the way. It’s important to teach children to eat healthy food and do exercise. In that respect, Lazytown is a show with good intentions and has hopefully had a positive impact on many lives. Now that’s done, let’s get on and talk about what an irritating buffoon Sportacus is. He’s a superhero who literally sets himself above the proletariat of Lazytown by living in a blimp and he’ll never walk across a room when he can do a somersault across it. Because he’s a pathetic show-off whose main claim to fame is outwitting a witless super-villain who mostly just wants to sit around and watch TV.
1 – Norman Price
Ugh. There’s a theory that Norman’s constant life-threatening pratfalls are all an attempt to get the attention of Fireman Sam, because Sam is his real father, with Norman being the result of a drunken assignation with Dilys Price (REALLY drunk, presumably). I don’t like this theory because it makes me feel guilty for hating Norman, which is the only thing that gets me through episodes of Fireman Sam. His voice is like nails on a chalkboard, he’s never been truly sorry for any of the trouble he causes and most of the people in Pontypandy would be dead because of him if it wasn’t for Sam. The only positive thing I can think to say about Norman Price is that Elvis and Penny probably would be out of a job if you took away all the work that he causes them.