In The Night Garden...: Hello Igglepiggle Review
Having used a previous review of In The Night Garden... to describe the show, this short review concerns itself with the five episodes on this disc, all of which feature the lopsided charm of Igglepiggle. I'm thirty-six but if I were to nominate a man of the year, Igglepiggle would certainly be in the running. If he is actually a man...only the relationship with Upsy Daisy and being coloured blue suggests he is. But if he is, he'd be there. Helplessly charming, never anything less than happy and with a cheery little boat to sail around in, more Igglepiggle in the world could only be a good thing. He stays up later than the rest and by his running through the garden after everyone else has gone to bed, he sticks it to The Man (Derek Jacobi). He makes me smile like nothing else and no matter how many times he falls over, it's still funny. And he dances like the devil!
The five episodes on this disc are all concerned with Igglepiggle and what he and his blanket get up to. The first one here is Igglepiggle's Blanket In Makka Pakka's Ditch, a fairly self-explanatory title in which Igglepiggle and Upsy Daisy meet and hear the distant sound of Makka Pakka's trumpet. Going to see their friend, Igglepiggle drops his blanket into Makka Pakka's ditch, trapping his friend in his home. Realising what he has done, Igglepiggle lets his friend out, getting his and Upsy Daisy's face washed as thanks! Meanwhile, in Jumping For Everybody, the Pontipines go a-counting while Upsy Daisy shows Igglepiggle how to jump. "What happy jumping!" The Tombliboos are joining in, as is Makka Pakka, the Pontipines and even the giant Haahoos.
Igglepiggle's Mucky Patch reveals our man's naughtier side as he falls into a muddy patch and gets up to laugh at how filthy he now is. He wipes the mud onto his blanket, which also gets dirty, and he laughs at that too! His hugging Upsy Daisy gets her dirty while a rollicking trip on the Ninky Nonk leaves the seats, walls and ceiling of the train covered in mud! In The Pinky Ponk Adventure, everyone takes a trip on the airship but it gets stuck in the trees! It's not the Hindenberg but it is something of a crisis for In The Night Garden... As it struggles to get out, everyone falls down to one end of the Pinky Ponk. Happily, the all know what to do and rock backwards and forwards until they are free.
Finally, in Igglepiggle's Blanket Walks About By Itself, Igglepiggle leaves his blanket somewhere safe while he goes for a walk but finds it gone when he returns. He searches about the garden for it but it is nowhere to be seen! Then he hears the sound of Makka Pakka's trumpet and the wheels of his ogg-pogg...and sees his blanket walking about the garden by itself! He has a fall over to celebrate finding his blanket. And his friend. Isn't that a pip?
This has been brought over from my earlier review of In The Night Garden... Like everything else that has been released by the BBC's Children's department, In The Night Garden... is anamorphically presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and is of a very good quality throughout. There are some obvious halos in amongst the blue/green screen, most notably on the Tittifers, which is made even more obvious with the sharpness of the transfer, something that is a cut above the average DVD. Colours stand out, the image is bright but the interlacing is obvious, particularly with the stop-motion of the Pontipines (the tiny red family) and the Wottingers (the blue) but this is the only fault on an otherwise very good DVD.
Everything about the DD2.0 audio tracks is well handled, not least that they sound clean and without any obvious problems with background noise or audio effects. Once again, the BBC are to be congratulated for included English subtitles across this set.
There are two extras on this disc, the first being an Audio Commentary with Anne Wood and Andrew Davenport on the episode Igglepiggle's Blanket In Makka Pakka's Ditch. As they describe it, their commentary is to answer the many questions that parents have for them and to describe the format of the show. They don't sound as though they were recorded together - Davenport, however, sounds as though he had Wood's commentary to hand while recording his own - but they do a very good job of explaining In The Night Garden..., even to the reason for the falling petals, why the viewer begins on the opposite side of a hedge to the characters and the cultural background to the connection between falling asleep and sailing away. As a parent, it's an interesting listen. Things that I hadn't put any reason to are explained while aspects of the show that will be expected, such as the repetition in it, are spoken of with regards to wanting to make children feel safe and to have them enjoy the experience of watching In The Night Garden... And this is such a lovely, relaxing listen that even I felt tired at the end of it.
The second is Time To Go To Bed, which sees Derek Jacobi guide all of the characters to bed. Except for Igglepiggle, who continues to do his own thing! However, eventually even he heads off to his little boat, leaving this little feature, which turns into Nap Time to see children off to sleep. Against Igglepiggle sleeping in his boat and to the gentle songs of In The Night Garden... this extended ending plays so long as the DVD is left alone, allowing children to nod off to sleep with it playing in the background. Every episode can have this ending enabled rather than the more familiar one.