When people talk about children’s television, they tend to wheel out the old cliche about the programmes being “…on drugs!” By drugs, they either mean speed – as shorthand for the super-fast cutting and attention deficit disorder many such programmes display – or LSD, to reflect the weirdness of what’s on screen.
Baby TV’s Baby Chef is on drugs too, but it’s not on speed or on LSD. It’s on heroin.
Before I get into this I’d just like to say that Baby TV is brilliant. Toddlers love it, it’s mainly quite gentle and relaxing, and it’s entirely ad-free. But it also shows Baby Chef.
Baby Chef is a simple wee programme. A puppet chef with the amazingly original name of Cheffy Chef teaches toddlers how to cook, with the help of a mute, lipstick-wearing teapot.
This is, of course, perfectly normal in the world of kids’ TV.
What’s not normal, however, is the theme tune. I believe that Baby Chef is made somewhere in Europe, and the YouTube clips I’ve been able to find of it have a brilliant theme tune recorded by someone who sounds like a cheaper Pavarotti. Here in the UK, though, the theme tune has been handed to somebody who (a) doesn’t have any timing; (b) couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket; and (c) hates himself and wants to die.
It’s extraordinary, it really is. “Baby Chef! Baby Chef!” sing the kiddies. “Cooking is a lot of fun”, Baby Chef honks back, putting the shotgun into his mouth. “Baby Chef! Baby Chef!” the children coo. “It’s fun for everyone,” Baby Chef sobs, his finger tightening on the trigger.
I’m not making this up. Check it out for yourself: BabyTV’s on the second or third page of Sky’s “Kids” category, and Baby Chef’s on at 9am.
Or at least, he was today. I’m not convinced he’ll still be around tomorrow.