How “In The Night Garden” was conceived

30th August, 2005

It’s great working for the BBC. I’ve been given a project to work on, a new children’s programme with the working title, “In The Night Garden”. I’ve got to expand on that, create the setting, characters, everything. We want it to have a similar impact to our previous success, the Teletubbies, so I’ve got my work cut out. It’s going to be brilliant! Deadline is the end of September, 2005.

25th September, 2005

Hmm. Having a bit of a creative dry spell. The title, “In The Night Garden” just makes me think of a garden, at night. Not much to run with there. I’m thinking of maybe making the lead characters badgers, worms, moles and foxes. I’ll run that past Anne and the team tomorrow and see what they think.

26th September, 2005

Well, she hated it. Didn’t think that it showed enough imagination. She wants something with a little more “wonder and magic”. I’m beginning to get nervous. I’ve only got three more days to come up with my completed synopsis. Damn.

27th September, 2005

OK, just brainstorming here… talking vegetables… owls with attitude… green things that whistle. Oh Christ, I don’t know. I really don’t know. I need to go somewhere inspirational, somewhere that will get the creative juices going. Maybe sit in an actual garden, at night? I’ll try that.

28th September, 2005

Gardens are fucking boring. Nothing happens. It was cold, it rained. Don’t think that’s going to make a very entertaining series, is it? Welcome to “In The Night Garden”. It’s cold, it’s fucking raining. What fun, eh kiddies? That was a complete waste of time. Bollocks.

29th September, 2005


Well, this is it. I have to hand it in tomorrow. So far, I have nothing. Zip. Zilch. Zero. I’m screwed. I may even lose my job over it. I’m going to have one more crack at coming up with something. Sod it. May as well have a glass of wine or two as well. May help the mind relax and give me something I can’t get out of it at the moment. Mmm. Nice. Rioja, my favourite. How about a character called Rioja? No, that’s silly. It’s an alcoholic drink, not suitable for children at all. Think, Jonathan, think. Hmm. How about multi-coloured hippo-like creatures with stripey noses who have a tinkling tree which… hang on – bollocks, that’s the Fimbles. Oh God, I’m losing it. Better pour myself another glass of wine. This isn’t as easy as people think!


I hate working for the BBC. It’s no good, all I can think of are programmes which have already been made. I’ve just re-written The Tweenies, The Flumps and Button Moon in my head. None of which are helpful. I’ve even been imagining that I could somehow make Terry & June into a children’s programme starring robotic meerkats. Better pour myself the last of that wine. What harm can it do?


OK, OK, OK. I think I’ve got something here. I think it sounds brilliant, but, then again, I am a little tipsy, so I probably would. Let’s go back to basics and make something that’s like Teletubbies, but isn’t Teletubbies! Multi-coloured teddy bear-type creatures with stupid names that don’t actually look like anything – and have television screens on their tummies! Actually, no, scratch the television screen idea. That’s a bit too much like Teletubbies, isn’t it? Hmm. What would they be called, though, and what could they do? I think I’ll open another bottle of that Rioja. It’s rather moreish.


Right, I think I’ve got something! I was thinking about Peppa Pig. Ha ha, not in that way. Well, not right now anyway. Ha ha! Right, anyway, I thought the lead character could be called Igglepiggle, because that’s a really cute name and the kids will love it. What should he do and say, though? I was thinking that maybe he never says anything, but he has like, a bell in his toe and a squeak in his middle and a klaxon up his arse… and, well, not the last one, but the rest are really good ideas! He can be blue. I like the colour blue. Now to think of some friends for Igglepiggle. Igglepiggle! That’s great!


More wine, I think. REALLY enjoying this wine. I’m not drunk. Really, I’m not. I’m just REALLY enjoying the wine! Ha, just nearly fell over getting another glass of wine and said “Upsy Daisy”, so – fuck it! Igglepiggle’s best mate can be Upsy Daisy. Maybe like a wine-coloured, wine bottle character. Or a rag doll type thing. Yeah, that’s much better than a wine bottle. Wine bottle! What was I thinking? I think that she can speak, but she only ever says her name. And maybe something really profound, like “religion is the opiate of the masses”! Ha ha, that’s bloody hilarious. No, can’t have that, too controversial. How about something inane like “Daisy Doo”. Yeah, that’ll do. Fuck it. He can parp and tinkle at her and she can say her name repeatedly back at him… and something witty like… like… um… “Pip Pip Onk Onk”! Bwahahaha! That’s hilarious! Kids will fucking LOVE IT!!!


Just been thinking (over another glass of wine, natch!) – we need more characters. It can’t be just those two parping, tinkling and giggling at each other. Let me think. Another glass of wine should do the trick. They need another friend. Someone equally as stupid and inane. Something like Macca Knacker. No, not suitable for kids. Macca Stacker, Macca Tracker… Macca Pakka? Yes! That sounds great! He can be like Upsy Daisy and just say his name. Maybe do a stupid little dance too. Have stupid little things in the stupid little garden with stupid names. Like an Og-Pog and an Uff-Uff. Christ, that sounds so stupid. But it may just be stupid enough to work!


OK, now I think I am a bit drunk. Losing the will to live here. Having trouble concentrating and typing. Thank God for spell check! All I can think of is a load of old nonsense. Stuff like Ninky Nonk, Pinky Ponk, Tombliboos, Pontipines, Tittifers, Haahoos and Wottingers! What a load of bollocks! We can’t use those. Surely. Can we? Can we?!?  We can, can’t we!!  Hell yeah, I’ll make the Ninky Nonk a train, the Pinky Ponk a big fuck-off balloon, the Tombliboos will be some little annoying twats who say annoying twattish things, the Pontipines can be idiotic idiots who all bugger each other, the Tittifers can be like, birds or something and… you know what, I’ll work out the rest later. I really need to go to sleep. My head is pounding.


Ah crap. I’ve just thought. What the hell has all this got to do with the title “In The Night Garden”? Absolutely bugger all, that’s what.  God, my head. I haven’t drank this much in a long time… I really need some sleep. Hmmm.   Sleep?  Hang on – sleep!  That’s it. All of the characters can be in somebody’s dream, like J.R. in Dallas, but set in a garden instead of Texas. Brilliant! I’m a fucking genius! Now that’s sorted, I can get some sleep myself. This is going to be one fucking fantastic kids show!

30th September, 2005


Oh God. I’ve just woken up and I’ve got to be in the office at nine, to make my presentation to Ragdoll Productions. What the hell am I going to do? Everything I wrote last night was complete and utter bollocks! It’s all idiotic nonsense! None of it makes any sense! Some of it is out-and-out offensive! Well, I’ll just have to clean it up a little on the train and use it. Nothing else for it. If I get fired, I get fired. Oh God, I’m going to get fired.

The BAFTA-award winning “In The Night Garden” first aired in March, 2007.

About A.D.S.

You are reading the musings of a music-obsessed forty-something who was brought up on The Beatles, lived through Britpop and now spends his time in pursuit of the best music around. This 'blog gives me an outlet to write about the huge number of albums I buy and the many gigs I go to. All of the opinions expressed are my own and if you don't agree with me, then I understand - music is a very personal thing. I like to receive comments, especially if they're nice ones.
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