Our writers are (lovingly) foisting pop-culture favourites on their unsuspecting nippers. This week, Daisy Leverington and her toddler enter a world of opinionated skulls and claymation menials.
In hindsight, an overtired toddler perhaps wasn’t the best audience to pass judgement on my favourite childhood TV programme. “What IS this?” she asked, incredulous that the events unfolding on the telly were in any way aimed at her, a consumer of such quality broadcasting as Baby Jake and Mr Tumble. “It was Mummy’s favourite show when she was little like you,” I replied. I paused the DVD to chair the inevitable discussion about how I was never a little girl like her, why did I grow up and why doesn’t she have boobs yet. That taken care of, we watched two episodes of The Trap Door before she spoke again.
“Do you like it?” I ventured.
“Can I draw now?” she replied. I’d stuffed a notepad by my side to record her reactions. She really liked the notepad. And the pen.
It all left my toddler and I a bit cold. Emily likes her telly fast-paced and garish. The gentle narrative of each episode was sadly too slow for this gal, while the hungry growls of “The Thing Upstairs” (the off-camera master of the castle in which The Trap Door is set) didn’t fill her with the same sense of dread I’d felt as a child.
The voice actors sound odd to adult ears now. The star of the programme is a lump of blue clay called Berk, a lumbering servant voiced by the inimitable Willie Rushton. His deadpan delivery is a cross between a Lancastrian club singer and a farmer with late-stage cirrhosis of the liver. The words and mouth movements of the creatures never quite match up, and why his sidekick is an opinionated skull is anyone’s guess. It made sense at the time.
Emily’s second attempt at watching it went slightly better. After gamely trying to sing along to the theme tune’s, “Don’t you open that trap door…” line, we discovered she’d got the words a little muddled and was in fact singing, “Don’t you open that track dog”.
I decided that the disappointment of Emily’s indifference to my old favourite and the weird déjà vu-like experience of watching it again myself was not the life-changing success story I had hoped for, and we all felt happier in the comforting flaps of Mr Tumble’s spotty bag.
Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.