Opinion: Is Iggle Piggle a good role model for children?

Iggle Piggle was at the Denver fun day. Picture: Ian Burt

Iggle Piggle was at the Denver fun day. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

I normally write about health matters in this column, but today I need to get something off my chest – Igglepiggle.

For those that don't have children or grandchildren under the age of five, Igglepiggle is one of the main characters in the CBeebies programme In the Night Garden.

I should be thanking the BBC for airing a show that sends my 13-month-old son into a hypnotic trance and captivating him just before his bedtime every evening.

However, I have come to the conclusion that Igglepiggle is not the best role model for children. This usually happy chap spends most of his time playing in the Night Garden with his friends and riding the garden's 'Ninky Nonk' train or 'Pinky Ponk' airship. He also carries around a red comfort blanket with him all the time and sleeps in a little sailing boat.

Igglepiggle is clearly loved by thousands of children across the country by featuring in CBeebies' primetime show during their bedtime hour.

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However, my biggest gripe with him is the way he collapses when life gets a little difficult or things don't quite go his way.

The smallest bit of worry seems to cause Igglepiggle to fall on the floor with stress, prompting the narrator to reassure him 'don't worry Igglepiggle'.

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In recent weeks I've witnessed Igglepiggle collapsing after misplacing his blanket, losing the ball he was playing with, and not being able to find his best friend Upsy Daisy. At the end of every show, he also falls over when he realises everyone else is in bed and he is not asleep.

He soon recovers after his sudden collapse, but is this the right message we should be sending to our children? Falling over at the first sign of stress is not a great coping strategy to teach the next generation.

My son is not old enough to understand why Igglepiggle responds to life's stresses in this fashion, but it concerns me that older children may mimic his actions. Will we be seeing the workforce of tomorrow falling over when they get stressed?

Perhaps the BBC could introduce a counsellor to In the Night Garden to help Igglepiggle to talk through and overcome his anxieties?

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