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When I was a child I used to watch children’s TV a lot. We all did, it was fab. Playschool, Jackanory, Think Again with Johnny Ball, Playaway… all good quality kids tv.
Faces would become part of your life: Bernard Cribbins, Brian Cant, Fred Harris, Derek Griffiths, Johnny Ball, Peter Purves etc . If you’re of a certain age these names will instantly conjure up faces in your head. These avuncular men (and they were Men, not young lads) were like Uncles to us all. You’d wish you can hang around with them because they were just so effortlessly cool. They were real men too. They probably drank beer out of those handled glasses with the dimples. Some of them might even have smoked a pipe. True there were women too such as Toni Arthur and Floella Benjamin but they never held the same appeal.
In those days straight men were allowed to talk to children. But for many years childrens TV now has become the home of gay men, preferably under 25. Why? Because they’re not threatening. The 21st Century is a world where straight men are not allowed near children in case they’re paedophiles. You know that all straight men are not to be trusted don’t you? It’s in all the papers! They’re everywhere, these deviants!
I wonder about fathers today. Can they walk along holding their children’s hands? Are they allowed to sit with their sons on their laps while watching tv? This used to happen all the time when I was young. The sofa was a place where families rubbed up against each other without a second thought. Nowadays you try to keep a respectful distance from each other, people just don’t get on any more.
How many of us used to sit on the bus and have old men smile at us and pull faces? Children would hang around sweetshops (remember them?!) and talk to the man behind the counter. It was innocent because we didn’t see perverts everywhere. Of course even then there were weirdos who’d offer to show children the puppies in the woods, but everyone accepted that these were the exception, not the rule. The same is true today, but no-one will accept it. You can’t trust any man on his own. No woman with him? Hmmm, must be a paedophile.
We live in a world of tabloid fear. Children no longer go off all day only rushing home at mealtimes because parents are scared. And they shouldn’t be. We didn’t die, we didn’t break our bones, we didn’t get kidnapped and molested. There’s no reason to be afraid. Sure, there really are weird people out there, but the only difference I see is publicity. We have Gary Glitter treated as a vile monster when really he’s just a strange old man. He’s as dangerous as the shabby man who used to sit on the park benches leering at children. Stay away from him and everything’s fine. You don’t need to treat him as a monster who preys on every child in a 20-mile radius.
In the whole, men do not fiddle with children and parents should understand this and calm down. Let’s have cuddly uncles back on the box and allow men to pull faces at children. It’s ok!