Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bagpuss for healthy brains

There have been lots of posts paying tribute to Oliver Postgate who died a few days ago. We have all been exchanging memories of The Clangers, Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine and, of course, Bagpuss. It appears, though, that we would have been reading about these national treasures this weekend anyway. According to this article in the Sunday Telegraph, the slow pace of those old stories was ideally suited to the intellectual development of young children.

I know that for every report of a piece of scientific research there is a contradiction waiting to be published, but these results do look pretty convincing. Maybe Teletubbies and In the Night Garden should carry this health warning:

Television affects, among other things, the development of sustained attention, something that is crucial for learning. A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics' journal found that children who watch television between the ages of one and three had a significantly increased risk of developing ADHD-type attention problems by the age of seven.

Moreover, TV viewing between the ages of five and 11 has been linked with short attention span, poor concentration, and being easily distracted later in adolescence.

Of course the solution could be simpler - Bring Back Bagpuss!


  1. I'll bet a zillion pounds that the consensus at the time was that all TV, including Bagpuss, rotted children's brains.

  2. Do you remember the influx of cheap cartoons? The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Round the World with Willie Fog, He-Man, etc? All the characters seemed to talk so quickly and everything was so hyped up and manic. I much prefer slower TV which is why I prefer Morse to CSI.

    Interesting article from the Telegraph...though I'm not sure I'd want Sid James and Babs as a role model :)

  3. Yes, Sarah, I remember when everything seemed to become very fast and loud. Like you, I prefer the gentler approach.

    I don't think I would be recommending the Carry On films, either.


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