I take my role as TV Talk’s kids’ television expert very seriously. So as I was perusing the CBeebies channel, for strictly work purposes obviously, I came across what was possibly the strangest and most puzzling programme I have ever experienced.
This programme is Rastamouse.
Rastamouse is, as it sounds, the story of a Rastafarian mouse. He wears a ‘crown’, gold bling and speaks with an exaggerated Jamaican accent.
But he isn’t just any rasta-mouse. He is a skateboarding, reggae-playing crime fighter and member of The Easy Crew who devotes his life to ‘makin’ bad tings good’ (and no that’s not me being racist, this is what it says on the website!)
In the episode I saw, the mousey leader of the local orphanage, Bandulu, needs to make a birthday pie for President Wensleydale. However, the pies keep disappearing and he hasn’t got the energy to make any more. What is he to do? Step up Rastamouse to catch the ‘tief’.
The amazing plot twist comes when the culprit turns out to be Bandulu himself, sleep-walking and eating the pies.
Obviously this revelation was very shocking but apart from that the story was nothing unusual for kids’ tv.
What is utterly amazing is the quality of the accents, evidently voiced by English people such as Reggie Yates and one of whom sounds exactly like Dillys out of Postman Pat doing an exaggerated imitation of the accent. I literally watched the whole show open-mouthed.
There’s nothing actually bad about it. Indeed Rastamouse is the hero of the piece and is presented as being ‘super cool’. It’s a cheery and good-natured programme. It’s just that it’s also astonishingly clichéd and OTT, racial stereotyping at its best.
It really has to be seen to be believed, so if you like partially-clad rodents and ‘mega boombastic riddims’ take a look for yourself.
Rastamouse can be seen on the CBeebies Channel or on bbciplayer