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