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I was watching The Neverending Story the other day whilst drinking a cup of tea and eating a bowl of weetabix minis; the chocolate flavoured ones with little additional chocolate chunks scattered throughout. I remembered watching the film as a kid, and although I knew it was certainly a strange film, at that tender age I just couldn't fathom what an utter pile of shit it was.

It's a story of a bullied child who finds solace by stealing a book. At the end of the film the main character's story arc comes to an end, as he - bullied at the start of the film - now terrorises his peers with the aid of his ugly luck dragon. He doesn't desire a world where people aren't bullied; where that imbalance of power exists, instead he just wants to be the bully himself.

In a similar vein, I was watching CBeebies when I viewed this awful atrocity to the right. I hear there's a lot of power in being offended, so I wrote a letter of complaint to the BBC.


I was recently in the unenviable position of trying to silence a screaming child that had just come into my possession. I remembered the words of an acquaintance of mine, a father who would sing the praises of your infant-orientated Cbeebies channel; its unique targeting of the under 7’s market enabled him to happily ignore his own children, essentially giving him a free cathode ray babysitter which gladly freed him from the burden and responsibility of parenthood.
I felt this would be a welcome release, and took the opportunity to place the child in front of my 50” flat screen Samsung PS50C450B HD ready plasma screen TV (which I had to buy because the bottom corners of my old TV’s speakers had been nibbled on by my sadly deceased dog (who died of cancer), and it didn’t come with freeview built in. I picked up my new TV for the low price of £249.50, and the money saved easily went to pay a rather rotund eastern european gentleman to install a digital aerial above my house, which I‘m sure you‘ll agree is a pretty good deal).

I turned on the Cbeebies channel and I was amazed at the speed of which the child was subdued. The BBC has outdone itself in terms of content and quality, managing to flood every home in Britain with a soothing stream of relentless opiate oblivion ready to plug directly into the brain of any child pushed in front of it. My joy at being relieved by the tedium of looking after a child was short-lived, however, when Cbeebies turned into a joy-filled celebration of racism and Christmas.

A short Christmas-themed Christmas song was playing. The film started with a gang of white males singling out a black man for bullying and abuse. After hurling snowballs at the gentleman there follows a small chase sequence where the two white males run after the black man; the pursuit ended by a camp fire where it appears the black male is set alight in a chilling echo of the atrocities carried out by the KKK. The worst aspect of all these scenes is the light-hearted attitude that prevails while these attacks are carried out; even the victim himself is smiling, giving the children at home the idea that bullying and racism are just a joke for all concerned. Racism is no joke.
After the immolation the victim is seen alive and well (neglecting to tell our children the importance of fire safety, but that’s a subject for another letter) however, his ordeal is far from over. The victim is seen pulling the two white males as they sit comfortably in a sleigh. The two white oppressors sit laughing as they’ve reduced a beautiful black man to a beast of burden, and the victim himself looks on smiling, happy with his indentured servitude.
I had never suspected that the BBC would in any way condone the slave trade on children’s television, not before the watershed.
It gets worse however, as the black victim is pushed by the two white men off a cliff, a coiled rope lies by his feet (no doubt it was their intent to hang him). The biggest insult is yet to come, as the victim rolls down the mountain and turns into a large comedy snowball. He reaches the bottom, covered  in snow, and lands in a village. Here he is now greeted with cheers and jubilation. It is only when the black man is covered with snow and symbolically becomes white that he is accepted in Cbeebies‘s‘s mythical Christmas village: The BBC’s message is clear, that they believe the black man will never be welcome in white society. Is this the kind of content a child can regularly view on Cbeebies? How am I supposed to explain this to a child? I had a hard enough time explaining the multi-coloured flying yoga drug monkeys on Waybuloo.
BBC Complaints - Case number CAS-449026-HN3RGY

From: "complaintresponse@bbc.co.uk" <complaintresponse@bbc.co.uk>

To: Steven Marwood <smarwood@rocketmail.com>
Dear Mr Marwood

Reference CAS-449026

Thank you for contact us regarding the CBeebies channel.

I would like to thank you for your comments and feedback regarding a programme on the channel. However, we're unable to identify the programme or trail that you describe in your e-mail. If you'd like us to investigate further please contact us again.

Thanks for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

Mark Roberts
BBC Complaints
RE: BBC Complaints - Case number CAS-449026-HN3RGY
From: Steven Marwood <smarwood@rocketmail.com>
To: "complaintresponse@bbc.co.uk" <complaintresponse@bbc.co.uk>

Hello Mark.

Frankly I was having trouble identifying the programme too, even at the best of times viewing CBeebies is like having fistfuls of Quaaludes regularly punched down your throat; a non-stop barrage of non-sequiturs; colours and shapes and songs and dances with no coherent logic behind any of it. Trying to identify anything that’s going on would be a fool’s errand, but after your reply I have indeed attempted it.

Since my first complaint, I’ve spent far more time than a grown man should watching CBeebies; purely out of morbid curiosity to see if I can identify any more of its hidden messages of hatred (usually I wake up in the morning and watch The Wright Stuff for its light-hearted topical chat, then I spend the rest of my time watching nothing but Top Gear by flicking back and forth between Dave and Dave Ja Vu; however, The Wright Stuff has stopped showing for a seasonal Christmas sabbatical, and Dave appear to have changed their scheduling, and are now showing far too much Robot Wars and not enough Top Gear). Now, I wake up in the morning and make myself two cups of tea (with milk and two sugars) while I’m drinking them I have a bowl of Alpen muesli (the kind in the blue pack - no added sugar, not the red, which does have added sugar), I then spend the rest of the day viewing the CBeebies channel until it closes. I have viewed the original racist Christmas assault many times since, it is indeed still playing on Cbeebies; but as there’s no title to it, no mention of it in the schedules, no warning that it’s approaching, I’m afraid I can’t help you to identify the programme if you haven’t seen it for yourself.

As I’ve spent all these hours watching CBeebies, another thing that has begun to concern me greatly is that I’ve identified severe maritime safety infractions on the programme In The Night Garden, in which the solitary figure of Iggle Piggle is seen at the start of every episode, sailing through a dark ocean in an unseaworthy vessel, tucking himself into bed, and falling asleep happily in his death trap. Not once is Iggle Piggle depicted wearing a high-visibility life jacket, there is no one else on board to take control of the boat while he is unconscious, he has no first aid kit, no emergency flares, he does not own a GPS system (or even any basic navigational equipment).  I’ve contacted The European Maritime Safety Agency and it’s my hope that you, me, and a representative of the European Maritime Safety Agency will be able to sit down together and draw up a list of codes and standards, listing the inadequate measures taken by Iggle Piggle, and advising Mr Piggle on everything that he needs to ensure that he has a fun but safe time at sea. The BBC will then be able to film the new adventures of Iggle Piggle using the directions the three of us have given him (at the BBC’s expense of course, I don’t believe the European Maritime Safety Agency will be willing to pay, and I’m a bit strapped for cash at the moment), and with any luck Mr Piggle will be able to teach children the important values of safety at sea. I believe that the three of us together can make a difference; and if just one child is saved it will be worth it.