Update: There are some notable omissions from this list – probably because we don’t watch the said show or we’ve developed some immunity. Postman Pat and Mike the Knight would probably make a crowd-sourced second list.
If you’ve watched CBeebies for any length of time — and let’s face it, that’s only likely if you have kids or you work for the BBC — you probably have some pet hates.
You know, those really irritating characters which your children probably love but you can’t stand.
You’re not four.
And yes, although you’re an adult and should just grin and bear it — and take pleasure that the TV has given you a little respite from your little darlings’ antics — you still have this irrational dislike for a number of those pesky characters on the box.
Hey, some (most) of them are animations or puppets! How weird is that?
And yet, the feeling lingers.
Here is our roundup of the dozen most annoying characters currently gracing the CBeebies screen. Feel free to agree, disagree, moan, add or reflect in the comments below.
This list is sorted alphabetically, so who else should be at the top of the list than the Alphablocks.
At first I thought this was the ‘filler’ entry — as I got to eleven characters quite easily and then drew a blank — but then I thought about it some more and I am happy for these little legged cubes to be here.
They’re educational, but they’re also irritating. Jumping around all the time, having weird little wars with each other, and coming up with less-than-obvious three letter words. Like ‘jab’. Why would you want to teach your child the word ‘jab’ before ‘jam’ or ‘jar’?
You’d think there were 26 of the blighters, but in fact when a word appears with a duplicate letter, suddenly an extra AB with that letter on appears. Where from? Are they like amoeba? How do they do that? It’s a little scary.
I am sure the Alphablocks mean well, but I don’t want to see them again.
Baby Bud (Nina & The Neurons)
Poor Nina has five of these colourful creatures in her head, but Baby Bud has to be the worst.
I can’t get on with anyone (with the possible exception of dogs and cats) who thinks that a suitable greeting is to lick me. Yet, every episode, that’s exactly what Baby Bud does.
What is this little blue creature teaching my kids? That it’s OK to go around licking things? It certainly is not, young man.
Even during the intro, you can see two other neurons having to hold him back. Perhaps they are concerned about what he might like next.
The definition of neuron begins: A neuron is an electrically excitable cell”. Oh, he’s excitable alright. I can even live with the rather bizarre “did you just come back from visiting Rastamouse” Jamaican accent emanating from one of the other blobs, but take this little blue chap away, please?
Taste is overrated anyway…
You’d’ve thought the BBC had learned from the bizarro baby-in-sun character in the Teletubbies, but it seems not.
The human baby, of course, is beautiful and cute — as all good babies are — but the animated version is just… huh??
Jake is a baby. He shouldn’t be able to talk, sing or dance. He’s certainly not old enough for magic or flying. Jake should be eating mushed up food and dribbling a bit. What is it with all these unrealistic kids programmes?
You’ll note that no individual character is named here, because they are all irritating.
Scratch that — the whole set is irritating.
Would anyone in their right mind get on a Chuggington train? I doubt it.
The trains jump up and down, race around tight bends, pay scant regard to signals, safe stopping distances or their proximity to each other. They’re chatting away constantly to each other instead of paying attention, and attempting to be “helpful” but instead getting things dreadfully wrong.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, we have some kind of bouncy megaphone character who doesn’t seem to be able to keep control over these juvenile trains, and gives out gold-coloured awards for very little.
If Chuggington is privately owned I’d be looking to renationalise them.
Dr Ranj (Get Well Soon)
I’ll admit that this is a bit of a revenge entry. A few days ago I had to sit through this chirpy, cheery doctor and his puppet patient singing incessantly about being sick, having runny poo, and needing to spend lots of time on the toilet. This just a week after our household had suffered a similar fate — for real.
When you are truly ill with some kind of stomach bug, you don’t want to sing and dance. You generally don’t want anyone else near you.
Setting this aside, Dr Ranj is far too happy for a real doctor. He is a real doctor — and one in the NHS, too — so perhaps the media lights are doing something for him, or he’s on some happy juice.
Harriet (Timmy Time)
Before I’m accused of mocking someone with a speech impediment, I think Harriet (who is a heron) is supposed to sound the way she does. Yet she’s annoying. She’s one of the teachers at Timmy’s school, and I think is modelled on Charlie Brown’s teacher (except you can actually see her).
Now, I like herons. My children like herons. We spotted a heron in the little river five minutes’ walk from our house, and are very happy.
But when herons start thinking they have the right to be teachers, there’s something wrong.
I can understand an owl being a teacher. That makes a lot of sense. Herons should not be teachers. If they have to be teachers, they should make less annoying sounds and… well that’s it really.
Hey, at no point did I say my annoyance at these characters was either logical or based on well-formed arguments.
Iggle Piggle (In The Night Garden)
I truly admire In The Night Garden for scooping Derek Jacobi to narrate, even getting him to sing the silly, nonsensical songs (just how much they paid Sir Derek is unclear…)
As for the rest…
I think we’ve become used to programmes in this sub-genre exhibiting similar signs: strange species with odd names, various non-language character noises, other peculiar sounds, and repetitive scenes (particularly intros and endings).
So it’s little surprise to find characters such as Upsy Daisy, Makka Pakka, the Tombliboos and the Pontipines; transport including the farting Pinky Ponk; and lots of strange songs.
Yet it has to be Iggle Piggle that’s the most annoying of them all. First of all, he’s not even a resident of the Garden — he’s a dreamtime visitor. If it wasn’t for us having to follow his mind around, we could’ve safely left all these Garden creatures to get on with their own little lives undisturbed.
Yet now we have this blue dancing thing clutching his blanket and making mischief in the night garden. His squeak is like that of a dog toy, and his smile has a smugness about it. Yes, it does.
I’m sure he wants Upsy Daisy for his girlfriend, but she’s not convinced. He’s stolen her bed before — not very gentlemanlike.
Lola (Charlie & Lola)
Little sisters are supposed to be annoying, aren’t they? Yet Lola seems to take this to new levels.
I don’t know how old Charlie is, but either he’s been brought up incredibly well, or he just has some innate superhuman grace. I wonder what it will be like when they turn into teenagers?
I have seen Lola described as “an annoying and eccentric but unfailingly adorable little twerp”. I’d be happy to remove “but unfailingly adorable” from that sentence.
Yeah, yeah, I know we are all supposed to love little kids and think they are wonderful, cute, giggly creatures all the time, right?
It’s all just a bit too sickly sweet for me.
Oh goodness, Waybuloo.
For a start, there are 100 episodes.
Four of them: Nok Tok, De Li, Lau Lau and Yojojo.
I could cope with the irritating tones of their voices if they spoke good English, yet they constantly refer to each other in the third person and misuse language.
I’d be quite happy for the Piplings to shoot off into the sky and stay there.
Raa Raa (Raa Raa the Noisy Lion)
Lions are supposed to be loud when they roar, but Raa Raa is just annoying.
He doesn’t seem to be proclaiming his territory as he is always the only lion in the jingly-jangly jungle. If he were, he would also be urinating and defecating everywhere, which (thankfully) he doesn’t.
Lions also roar to communicate, but Raa Raa can speak English (as can all the other animals in the land) so its use is superfluous. Particularly as no other animal speaks ‘lion’ and as we’ve already established, Raa Raa is a loner lion.
Perhaps I should’ve picked Ooo Ooo the monkey as the most annoying character. However, I’ve become somewhat immune to character monkeys in kids’ TV programmes, thanks to Keith Harris and Cuddles, and those twins in 64 Zoo Lane. Monkeys are just supposed to be annoying, right?
Raa Raa is just… grrr…
Shelly Periwinkle (Old Jack’s Boat)
I’m not surprised Freema Agyeman is in this little series, given we also have national treasure Bernard Cribbins, and some of the episodes were written by Russell T Davies. It’s got “I used to be in Doctor Who” stamped all over it.
Yet there’s something about her that’s just not right. No child would ever see it, but it’s that opening title sequence. She just looks like she’s about to go all… saucy. It’s hard to describe. Maybe it’s just my problem. I don’t know. It doesn’t seem right. Someone help me out here. Staithes, on the North Yorkshire coast, doesn’t seem a fitting place to have a sultry “I used to be a Time Lord’s assistant” cafe owner.
Teal (The Adventures of Abney & Teal)
I understand the remit behind this animation, and I can see why it has won awards. It’s great that Adrian Scarborough narrates it and voices Abney. Yet there is something odd about it.
Of the two main characters, Abney does seem a bit more down to earth (despite quite possibly having OCD about gaps between the possessions on his shelves). Teal seems to be the protagonist.
A walking, dancing turnip and seven little unidentified wooden things I can cope with. It was just the final straw when Teal decided she was a guitarist in a rock band. No. Just no. Not at 6pm when we’re trying to wind down for the evening, thank you Teal.
Well, there you have it. What do you think? Should I cut these shows some slack and just accept that my kids love these shows and I should deal with it? Am I wrong to dislike characters in programmes which have won awards and accolades? Or do you have your own pet hate kids TV nominations. Let us know!