26.09.2007 07:15 - Pipkins: A Lesson in Disappointment
When I was young, I used to watch a programme named "Pipkins". It was about a toy store, where all the toys were alive, and was kept by Mr. Inigo Pipkin, who, unfortunately, died just before the third series. (the series actually took the rare step of announcing that Mr. Pipkin had died - something very unusual in children's TV) Memorable characters were Hartley, the know-it-all hare, Pig, who for some reason had a Birmingham accent, grumbly old Tortoise, Octavia the (French?!) Ostrich, who was also Hartley's inamourata, and Topov, the monkey.
One of the main features of this programme was the story. I loved a good story, and still do. On my recent holiday in Wivenhoe, I was delighted to find the B&B crammed full of books, and spent a significant amount of time reading. However, I digress. Pipkins used to introduce the story so : The presenter (Wayne Lareya at the peak of his career) would say "It's..." and then a little animation of pictures of clocks appearing and disappearing would be played, whilst a deep voice intoned "Time!" over a background of clocks ticking. Cut back to Lareya, holding the storybook, who would say "...for a story!"
Unfortunately, the writers never counted on Pavlovian behavior-conditioning, because there was at least one programme where the presenter said "It's...." (cut to animation) "TIME!" (picture the excitement rising in thousands of pre-schoolers) "....to say goodbye!" End of programme, straight into "World at One".
I, after all these years, can still feel the horrible sinking feeling of utter disappointment caused by this. This was my first inkling that the world wasn't the wonderful place it was cracked up to be, that magic didn't happen, and that life was going to be cold, miserable, full of broken promises and ultimately, a let-down.
I think I was about thirteen at the time.
Wayne Lareya, if you're reading this, I hate you.