Charlie, Lola and the health and safety minefield of children’s TV

Following the revelation in this week's Radio Times that the BBC were anxious about animated kids' TV character Lola performing a forward roll, Ben Dowell puts other shows on the spotlight...

Today’s Radio Times reveals that the BBC was worried about the health and safety implications of Lola – of Charlie and Lola fame – performing forward rolls on the children’s TV show.


“The BBC got terribly worried she could have a dreadful accident and break her neck,” says author Lauren Child, who wrote the books on which the series is based. “It doesn’t matter that she and Charlie are fictional, and they’re made of paper. The designers had to draw a very squishy mattress for her to do her forward roll on.”

So if the Corporation was anxious about what an animated paper girl could get up to (apparently Lola’s fondness for crisps and biscuits and standing on chairs is also banned by the BBC even though she does this in the books) then what other children’s TV favourites could come under the microscope?

Here’s our guide to how the guardians of health and safety could come down on some of the best loved kids’ shows.


Well, the black and white dog can come down off that kennel roof for a start! Without wishing to spoil his fun, there’s no way the lovable mutt could balance there all night – let alone fall asleep and fantasise about being a First World War flying ace – without falling off and potentially seriously injuring himself. No Snoopy old boy, it’s time you grew up and actually slept inside your dog house for once.


The plasticine character, who first appeared in Tony Hart’s BBC art shows in the 1970s, was much loved by a whole generation of children. But how much was he himself really cared for? The poor guy lived in a pencil case that was snapped shut every night and clearly did not provide the wee fella with enough oxygen to breathe. No wonder he got so antsy with Tony….

The Flintstones

Riding dinosaurs… come on Fred Flintstone, sort it out, old son. You’re not trying to kid us that this in any way adheres to any kind of responsible mode of transportation are you? Dinosaurs are notoriously big and volatile – and we haven’t addressed your insistence on riding bareback, without a helmet and with a flimsy animal hide for protection from grazes. That’s just neanderthal thinking…

In the Night Garden

I’m sorry, but it’s just a matter of time until Makka Pakka drops one of those massive rocks he’s so obsessed with on his foot. Mikkka Makka Moo! I’m also not too sure that Iggle Piggle’s consistent refusal to ever go to bed is in his long-term developmental interests (both emotional and intellectual), but we will keep a watching brief on that one…


Pre-schoolers Tommy Chuckie, Phil, Lil and Angelica may be the lovable protagonists of this charming animation but come on, where are the adults when they’re getting into all kinds of fun but potentially hazardous scrapes? A clear case of child neglect if ever there were one…


Yes, our little fellow and his mouse reggae band Da Easy Crew are crime fighting superstars without whom the President of Mouseland world be bereft. Yes Rastamouse’s mission is to make a “bad ting good” but please… Mice are pretty unhygienic creatures at the best of times and whatever it is we think these little animals smoke in their down time they are still probably best kept away from a clean home. Especially eating areas.