Thursday, 26 February 2009

Should Cerrie get the sack?

By Oonagh Robinson

Due to circumstances beyond my control (i.e living with a psychotic toddler), I find myself watching a lot of kids’ telly.
Specifically, CBeebies - the dedicated channel for pre-school kids.
Now it’s not very often that this channel gets a mention in the news (I think the last time was when some plonker decided to drop In the Night Garden), but this week it’s hardly been out of the headlines.
All because of new presenter Cerrie Burnell, who only has one arm.
According to some reports, small tots have been running screaming from their living rooms and having recurrent nightmares because they have been forced to watch Ms Burnell.
Her disability, which she makes absolutely no attempt to hide (and why should she?) is too scary for small tots to put up with, according to some dubious Internet discussion forums.
"This sort of thing shouldn’t be inflicted on my granddaughters!" said one irate woman who called in to The Wright Stuff on Five this week.
Doesn’t it make you proud that you live in such a caring and broadminded society?
Of course, it’s utter nonsense that kids have been scared by Cerrie’s appearance.
My tot hasn’t even noticed and neither have any of her friends. That’s the beauty of little kids - they accept everything as completely "normal."
It’s far more likely that any "scaring" that’s been going on is a result of narrow minded parents vocalising their own expressions of distaste.
And even if a child did appear to be uncomfortable about watching the disabled presenter, wouldn’t that be a good opportunity for a parent to have a little chat about the issue and resolve the situation?
Rather than immediately bombarding the CBeebies message board with demands for Cerrie to be sacked.
On the other hand, I do actually think Cerrie SHOULD be fired. And her co-presenter Alex.
But that opinion has got nothing to do with disability.
I say that because they are both utterly terrible at presenting.
She has a permanent look like a rabbit caught in the headlights while he is so bland you could probably use him to wallpaper a new-build house.
And neither of them can sing the iconic "bedtime song" - a signal for millions of kids all over the UK to go to sleep.
Predecessors Chris and Pui were magnificent in comparison and it’s a travesty that they were dropped in favour of this insipid pair.
Heck, Pui was an actual Teletubby for goodness sake - what more could you want from a children’s presenter?
As I listen to my 22-month-old asking me every day: "Where Oy Dom?" (translation "where’s Pui gone?"), I have to wipe away a silent tear as I tell her she’s just away on holiday and will be back soon.
Don’t get me wrong, I wish Cerrie all the best and hope she goes on to prove me totally wrong - developing into an accomplished presenter.
But at this very moment?
Bring back Chris and Pui!