My daughter Esme (two and a half) loves it when me and Karen read her Beatrix Potter stories. She has a full boxed set that her Granda bought her. She loves turning the pages and she knows some of the stories so well that she even attempts to recite them from memory as she’s too young to be able to read them herself. She knows books are precious and even wants to help put them back on the shelf after we’ve read them.
Imagine my delight to read in the Guardian that there was to be an ‘All new Peter Rabbit for the 21st century’. Brilliant, I thought, a children’s TV show that actually has really strong stories. Then I read the quotes from Chorion chairman Lord Alli and I have to confess that the air turned blue as I’ve rarely read such dumb comments.
What Lord Alli and Chorion mean by ‘updating’ is apparently dumbing them down to suit the lowest common denominator. All they are doing is taking Beatrice Potter’s fantastic characters such as Peter Rabbit and Tom Kitten and creating new and ‘appropriate’ storylines. According to Alli this means: ‘Peter Rabbit’s father being caught by the farmer and being baked into a pie is not going to be our first episode. We’ll be skipping over some chapters.’
So there you have it, Chorion is planning to make an anaemic and pointless show that will have no resonance whatsoever with children or parents who love Beatrix Potter’s beautiful tales and characters.