Returning to Sunday's theme of children's television programmes, I was struck by how innocent they all were in those days. Children sat on the Magic Roundabout without wearing safety harnesses, Mr Benn lived alone on Festive Road with no questions asked, and the lift in Mary, Mungo and Midge's tower block was always free from graffiti. It's a different world now. If these shows were being made today, Postman Pat would only deliver 70% of his letters and nick the rest, Grange Hill would have been closed down by Her Majesty's inspectors due to serious weaknesses, and Captain Pugwash really would have had seafaring mates called, well, you know what.
A number of kids TV shows from the past have been remade recently, including Andy Pandy and the Flowerpot Men, and there must be more to come. I'd therefore like to put forward my pitch for the contract to update Trumptonshire for the discerning modern audience, bringing that ancient county into line with 21st century reality. For added accuracy I propose to stick a bus shelter full of used needles in the middle of Camberwick Green, replace Trumpton town square by a soulless concrete shopping mall and pepper Chigley with burnt-out hatchbacks. Heavens, I might even introduce some non-male non-white characters.
Windy Miller the miller --> Crusty Miller the eco-warrior
Miss Lovelace the hatmaker --> Beryl Loveless the baglady
Lord Belborough's steam train --> Mina Sharma's minicab service
Chippy Minton the carpenter --> Minty Chipman the white van man
Dr Mopp the family doctor --> Dr Mopp the holistic health practitioner
Jonathan Bell the farmer --> Johnny Martin the have-a-go gun-owner
Mickey Murphy the baker --> Mustafa McDonald the dodgy kebab vendor
PC McGarry number 452 --> Gary Percy the steroid-abusing security guard
Mrs Honeyman the chemist's wife --> Ms Honey the drugdealing single mother
Captain Snort of Pippin Fort --> ex-con Ken Stort jailed for interfering with his privates
The Mayor of Trumpton and his town clerk --> The Mayoress of Trumpton and her long-term girlfriend
Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb --> Dibble and Grubb, the slimmed-down fire service