in Everything Else

‘In The Night Garden’ as a communist utopia

My son, Ben, like most toddlers, has a routine. This includes, every night before bed, watching In The Night Garden. Now before anyone accuses us of being bad parents, let me just point out that he watches the programme, then goes in the bath, is read a story, has his milk and then goes to bed. :-)

If you haven’t seen In The Night Garden before, you really should – it’s quite an experience. Each episode is around 30 minutes long, but you can get a flavour from this YouTube video:

I’ve watched most of the episodes several times by now. We record them all as the BBC, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to screen the programme in the morning instead of during CBeebies Bedtime Hour.

The above is by way of prelude to my main point. The programme (probably intentionally) can put you into a state of not quite being awake and not quite being asleep. In that rather nice state of consciousness I got to thinking just how much like an ideal communist society it is:

  • The characters have all of their needs provided for, yet no-one is in overall control (do they ‘own the means of production’, though?)
  • There is no monetary system.
  • Men, women and children are of equal status.
  • There is no mention of, or reference to, religion – the garden just exists.
  • In the most innocent way imaginable there is ‘free love’ – in that everyone kisses everyone else.
  • Liberal parenting (in the form of the Pontipines) prevails.

Whilst I’m sure the group who conceived and produced the show aren’t raging communists, it does make you think of the values being explicitly and implicitly inculcated into even the youngest of children… :-p

  • http://primarymfl.ning.com/ Jo Rhys-Jones

    Then there’s the somewhat dubious attitude to hygiene – the Pontipines are never reprimanded for playing INSIDE someone else’s clean washing as it hangs on the line!
    Have you been on the site? (again via cbeebies) it’s just brilliant. My kids have to drag me away from it…

    • http://dougbelshaw.com Doug Belshaw

      Good point r.e. the Pontipines!

      It’s a great programme and Ben’s transfixed by it – at least until the
      Tombliboos come on! He doesn’t seem to like them so much. Yes, we’ve
      had him on the website and have printed out the pics for him to colour
      in. :-)

  • http://dougbelshaw.com Doug Belshaw

    Good point r.e. the Pontipines!It's a great programme and Ben's transfixed by it – at least until theTombliboos come on! He doesn't seem to like them so much. Yes, we'vehad him on the website and have printed out the pics for him to colourin. :-)

  • Anonymous

    yeah, but I’m pretty sure the Smurfs were supposed to be communist too!
    http://www.iamlost.com/features/smurfs/commies.shtml

    As a child of six or so, I often wondered about a world without money, and equal distribution of resources. No rich people, no poor. . . Maybe it is a natural way for children to understand the world — It wouldn’t do for Iggle Piggle to have lost his blanket because he was panhandling for loose change to buy liquor, would it?

    In the states we have not gotten this yet (I don’t think) — but we do get most British Children’s programming (Teletubbies, and now Boobahs) All of it is kind of simultaneously outrageous to my more developed mind, and strangely satisfying to my inner child.

  • mrplatts

    yeah, but I'm pretty sure the Smurfs were supposed to be communist too! http://www.iamlost.com/features/smurfs/commies…… As a child of six or so, I often wondered about a world without money, and equal distribution of resources. No rich people, no poor. . . Maybe it is a natural way for children to understand the world — It wouldn't do for Iggle Piggle to have lost his blanket because he was panhandling for loose change to buy liquor, would it? In the states we have not gotten this yet (I don't think) — but we do get most British Children's programming (Teletubbies, and now Boobahs) All of it is kind of simultaneously outrageous to my more developed mind, and strangely satisfying to my inner child.

  • http://primarymfl.ning.com/ Jo Rhys-Jones

    Then there's the somewhat dubious attitude to hygiene – the Pontipines are never reprimanded for playing INSIDE someone else's clean washing as it hangs on the line!Have you been on the site? (again via cbeebies) it's just brilliant. My kids have to drag me away from it…

  • Anonymous

    LOL maybe communism is making a secret comeback through our children.