A Surprising Voice-over

Yesterday I was sitting in Cavendish Square killing a few moments before an appointment, idly watching a woman play with one child, while another slept in the buggy she was pushing.  It looked to me like she’d made a rod for her own back – the child was speeding around the park on a scooter, while she chased after him, the pram bouncing along in front of her.

So speedy was the child that it took him very little time to circumnavigate the grass and pass in front of me again.  What caught my eye were a couple of bags hanging from the handles of the pushchair as the woman trundled past; they were adorned with images of cartoon characters from a children’s programme I encountered only recently when spending time entertaining the young daughter of a friend.

In fact I didn’t know they were from a television show, as my path first crossed with them was as an App on my friend’s iPhone.  The toddler had been walking around shouting something that sounded to my ear like ‘makanaka’ and her mother asked me to supervise play with the phone;  one funny character washing the faces of the other funny characters with a bubbling sponge, with a priceless voice-over by Sir Derek Jacobi.

Something about his mellifluous tones incanting ‘Makka Pakka washes Uspy Daisy’s face’ repeatedly at the demands of a chuckling toddler, amused me more than I can tell you.  The last time I saw Sir Derek he was playing King Lear.  Somehow it felt like something of a comedown for him, and  I can only imagine the expression on his face as he informs us that the Tomliboos might also have their faces washed.

I hope he gets a good royalty for each App sold.  Maybe it’s his strategy for building a pension fund.  I’m not sure that he was able to benefit from the Harry Potter franchise that so improved the finances of  nearly every other British actor of a certain age.  But will a generation grow up ignorant of the classic that was ‘I, Claudius’ and instead associate him with Ponitpines?

I recounted my amusement at the juxtaposition of a great Shakespearean Thespian and a the funny face washing thing to a Belarusian  friend and she replied ‘Oh yes.  It’s in the Night Garden.’  It turned out that her one year old daughter also loves watching it on the television.

The whole thing is so surreal I couldn’t resist searching for it online….. and was rewarded with more laugh out loud pretentious silliness. I quote: ‘In the Night Garden is best described as a modern televisual interpretation of a nursery rhyme picture book.’

A ‘modern televisual interpretation’ of anything’s got to be worth 5 minutes of a Knight’s voice-over, hasn’t it?

Leave a comment


  1. margaret nickels

     /  September 7, 2011

    I like IgglePiggle best ! It is just slightly more sophisticated than Andy Pandy getting into the basket with Looby Loo and Teddy .I say well done to Sir DJ little children should have the best examples of speech to listen to .He could read the telephone directory and I would listen .


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