Talking of which another friend, Sally Hitchiner, put this rather shocking fact up on Facebook yesterday: 'checked out the Newsround website to send links to the children leading prayers in our All Age service tomorrow and was surprised to find it's REALLY mindless... Lady Gaga, the Brits, Bieber Fever and at the bottom in "other news" (with "Polabear visits dentist") a small feature on the small trouble in Bahrain - 25% of which is about the possibility of it cancelling the grand prix!'
Michael Morpurgo didn't comment on this, but he did in passing refer to the BBC's Mission, which is: "To enrich people's lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain". As their flagship news programme for children, the sample of Newsround that Sally found seems to me simply to fail a generation. As she went on to comment: 'I remember it being great when I was a child - they sometimes had an element of "Something really bad happened today in the Middle East but our soldiers are trying their best to make sure everyone is ok" but at least they covered the issues that mattered... They're doing children a real disservice in suggesting that all they're interested in is celebrities and lollipop ladies!' (And I need to say, Sally's not some nostalgic middle-aged fuddy-duddy. She's young, and wonderfully hip.)
On a lighter note, I enjoyed this exchange by children of friends of ours:
Daughter : "You know when they are old and past it...."
Son : "Yes...."
Daughter : "Well, if I look after mum, you could look after dad."
Son : "That's not fair! How come you get the one that does the cleaning, the cooking and the shopping, while I get the useless one!"
You and me also, old pal!
I've just found a summary of Michael Morpurgo's lecture here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2011/02_february/15/dimbleby.shtml