Monday, 20 September 2010

Go Grandpa!

I had two grandfathers, which is the usual number, although it later transpired that my paternal grandfather wasn't exactly a blood relative - but that's another story.

The were a cheeky pair. My maternal grandfather was already in his 50s when my mum was born, so he was pretty old by the time I came along. He'd spent World War I on the front line as an engineer mending the little train which took food to the soldiers. Every day the Germans shot the train to bits and every day my Granddad - who was called Frederick but known as Jimmy - fixed the little train and sent it back to the front to be shot at again. I remember his cardigans, sitting on his lap shrieking "tickle me slowly" and paper bags full of stripy humbugs.

The other one - Stanley - was our very own Percy Thrower. His garden was huge and bursting with vegetables and fruit. He'd arrive to dig our garden in his old suit, hang his jacket on a garden fork, roll up his shirt sleeves and set to the double digging. In his youth he was an excellent snooker player and behind the wheel of a car he was utterly lethal.

They're long gone now and I have children of my own and they have their own grandpas. Granddad Peter looks after St Anne's Head lighthouse in his spare time, so my two think it's perfectly normal to have the free run of a lighthouse from time to time. Granddad Bob is impossibly tall, ex-army former butler to Lord B, with a handlebar moustache and the bearing of great grandpa Wallace who was in the Horse Guards.

There's a unique bond between grandparents and their grandchildren. There's no need for discipline and often there's a mischievous anti-parent, 'let's see what we can get away with' bond. This is the basis of the BAFTA nominated CBeebies series Grandpa in my Pocket, of which I've just been sent series one, volume two for review (out today with a finger puppet of grandpa, so his young fans can put him in their own pocket).

We hadn't seen this before for some reason but I mentioned it to friends who said it was good. So we watched it and it was. Grandpa is played by James Bolam who has been on my TV since he was a Likely Lad and right up to the present with his New Tricks. He has a shrinking cap which he puts on his head to shrink down to fit the pocket of his grandson Jason.

Grandpa does fun things like drive a toy car, fly a plane and ride on the back of Gordon the seagull. He loves hiding in things and making them look alive to the other grown-ups and he uses his voice to pretend that his Yorkshire terrier Beowulf can actually talk. Jason - and us, the viewers - are the only ones in on the joke and it's really quite fun. Grandpa does quite naughty things really and runs about the house causing comedy chaos - chased by Jason - shouting: "Catch me if you can!"

My six-year-old loved it. My elder daughter stated it was B. O. R. I. N. G. but as she's eight going on 13 so that's understandable. It's gentle and involving. Grandpa helps Jason to deal with things like nerves and he hates it when people are rude, mean or selfish. He's a mini force for good and it made a nice change - sorry H8 - from the relentless onslaught of Tracy Beaker and Hannah Montana.

Grandpa in my Pocket Volume Two DVD is released today RRP £12.99.

1 comment:

  1. Being a grandfather as well, this story is very interesting. It resonates.

    Thanks for sharing this, Mags.


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