Mr Benn at 50: why they don’t make children’s TV like this any more –

There was a short adventure – as a pirate, caveman, knight or zookeeper, for example – before Mr Benn returned to the shop, changed back into his suit and bowler hat, and went home. Ray Brooks provided the voiceover.

Only 13 episodes were made, and they were repeated twice a year for two decades. And as he prepares to display some of his original illustrations in an exhibition marking Mr Benn’s 50th anniversary, McKee reflected on the animated programmes now aimed at the very young.

“One thing that has changed: as any parent will know, children want the same story repeated. My theory is that it’s security, they know what’s coming next and they feel safe with it,” said McKee, 82.

“The Watch With Mother series had that repeat quality, which the children liked. They were secure with that.

“Now the series have to be very big to avoid repetition, and I think that’s an error for very young children. And the speed of things which I’ve seen – some of it is even too fast for me.”


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