Monday, 16 May 2011

A little brave lion - Andrew Ball, Campaign Director

I recently had to take my 3 year old son to our local Accident and Emergency department. We’re lucky that our local hospital has a separate emergency department for children with a nice waiting room with a handful of toys (mostly broken), a vending machine (full of healthy sweets, chocolate and fizzy drinks) and a nice big widescreen TV (to help while away the hours waiting).

To my surprise, whoever run this children’s A&E had decided that it was appropriate to have the EastEnders omnibus edition showing on the television...

When I arrived there were two young parents with their kids already waiting to be seen – a father and son and a mother and daughter. The young father was content for his 18 month old son to play with the toys whilst he concentrated on his BlackBerry. In the 20 minutes we were waiting there, the only thing that the father said to his son was "I'm watching you" (while he clearly was playing with his phone) and “sit down, and watch that”.

Meanwhile, the young mum was watching the television with her 4 year old daughter. After a few minutes the daughter turned to her mum and said "I love Cat and the baby..."! Now I know that ‘cat’ and ‘baby’ are probably two of the first words that children learn but surely they should never be used by a 4 year in relation to a story line involving cot death, kidnapping and who knows what else. Tom and Jerry never covered those issues.

All this was very timely I thought given the launch last week of Raa Raa the Noisy Lion and our recent surveys about parents attitudes towards watching TV with their children. My son ended up being admitted to hospital overnight which meant that I got to watch the first episode of Raa Raa with him – and he loved it. We’ve watched each subsequent episode at least a further 3 times thanks to the BBC iPlayer so that’s at least one very happy viewer!

So, if you’re a parent of a young child and are wondering what to watch together or if you manage a children’s A&E department with a TV and are wondering what to show on it, may I suggest Raa Raa the Noisy Lion. It’s so much better than EastEnders - and far more realistic!

P.S. My son made a full recovery...

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