TV review: Bottersnikes & Gumbles (CBBC)

I happen to think that many things were better about life in the olden days, but I am perfectly clear that one thing that is much the better is children’s television. Yes, The Magic RoundaboutRoobarb and Custard and Trumpton are fondly recalled as classics (and deservedly so). But there was awful lot of dross too, and such was the state of the national economy back then that we couldn’t afford to make many of our own animations, so more and more of our cartoon series came in from America, with a steadily declining level of quality. The progress from Fred Flintstone to Skeletor was a dispiriting one.

Anyway, this is all a roundabout way of complimenting the makers of Bottersnikes and Gumbles. These are derived from the books by SA Wakefield, and are better adapted than most other exercises of this nature. Bottersnikes are superbly rendered lizardly creatures that are the bogeymen of the show, a bit like Momentum in the Labour Party; Gumbles are apparently normal, but hopelessly optimistic, like Brexiteers. The stories are short and sweet and the attention to detail is remarkable. I never thought I would live to see such a perfect recreation of a Bedford CF ice cream van, complete with “Greensleeves” playing out of it.  A nice reminder of the olden days, that. 


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