Tuesday, 18 November 2008


I'm not watching much TV these days - six months without one seemed to snap me out of my addiction of lying half comatose in front of the box for three hours an evening. And truly half of what's on there is rubbish. Freeview has given me access to god know's how many channels, and there's rarely anything I want to watch on any of them.

And then suddenly you discover something so wonderful, so exquisitely produced, so lovingly crafted, that it makes you want to weep. In this case I am talking about BBC4's current series, Picture Books, covering the history of children's writing from picture books to teen fiction.

Catch up with an episode on the BBC iplayer - assuming you've not caught it already - and you'll see what I mean. Amongst other things, the series is a homage to great children's illustration - original drawings from various classics form gorgeous backdrops behind the commentators in some scenes, while in others the camera pans lovingly across the artist's images. It makes you want to run out the room and root out your old copies, to feast your eyes all over again on John Tenniel's illustrations for 'Alice in Wonderland', or E H Shepherd's for 'Wind in the Willows'and 'Winnie the Poo'.

Simply unmissable for anyone with a passion for children's literature - or for that matter anyone lucky enough to have had these books and images form part of their childhood mental landscape.

No comments: