There must be something about trains. When I was a nipper I used to love watching Ivor the Engine and a few years later my little brother was on the first wave of Thomas the Tank Engine adaptations.
I personally don’t remember wanting to be a train driver myself, I was more interested in being an astronaut but there are plenty of little boys around that still hold the dream. The boy isn’t one of them but if there was a queue for being a robot, he’d probably head it. Maybe some sort of robot train driver then.
Chuggington is a new train show on Cbeebies. A new generation and another show then. It’s a million miles away from the other two train filled kiddy entertainment shows I mentioned, it’s colourful, fast and brash. It’s also CGI, which is gradually replacing the old model based shows. Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, Noddy and Rupert Bear are all now computer generated. Have they lost some of their charm? Well that’s a discussion for another day really, but with Chuggington its not really an issue, its been computer generated since day one. It looks sufficiently different to everything else to give it its own clear identity. The tracks for starters will be instantly familiar to any toddler with a toy train track as its modelled on the very same. Interestingly (for me anyway), most of the engines are based on real world trains, like the British Rail Class 55 diesel or the EMD F3. Two ticks in my little book then!
The story itself is based around 3 trainee engines (pun intended), Wilson, Brewster and Koko, as they learn about being proper grown up and responsible engines. There is plenty of scope for action and adventure but there is always a strong moral story at the heart of things.
The moral story is a bit beyond Fifi our one year old but she loves the bright primary colours and the cheerful faces the engines have. It also helps that the theme tune is so hummable- I’ve found myself singing it to her at the crack of dawn when she’s decided 5am is a good time to get up. My work colleagues aren’t so impressed when I wander round the office humming “Chugger-chugger-chugger-chugger-chuggington!” but they’ve learnt to live with it.
I have to admit being a bit sceptical when Chuggington first started but it has grown on me and it is obviously well loved by both our children. And since it’s aimed at them, I think I have to go along with it! They have a rather swish website too at chuggington.com which is well worth checking out.