Hmmm…I know how she feels!
I don’t often spot greatness – note my liking of Uwe Boll and Paul WS Anderson if you actually need proof – but I made an exception with Charlie and Lola. I prize my copy of I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato more than I might a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, seeing all that was wonderful in Lauren Child’s Pritt-Sticking. Albeit less blessed, I feel like a guest at the wedding in Cana who marvelled at the turning of the water into wine with a, “That Jesus…Jebus…whoever he is…he’ll go far with tricks like that!”
Toddling off CBeebies, I Can’t Stop Hiccupping And Other Stories features nine more adventures with Charlie and Lola, none of which originated in Child’s box of make-and-do backgrounds and wallpapers. But they’re still great. These begin with the title episode, one in which Lola can’t stop giggling as she and Lotta practise for the school play. As well as tears and stained underwear, giggling leads to hiccups, leaving Lola worried that she won’t be able to stop hiccupping before her performance. But I Am Completely Hearing and Also Listening shows that Lola isn’t good at just everything. She’s not very good at listening and when Arnold Wolf invites Lola to a Batcat party, her not listening means that she and Charlie miss it!
Our Shop Sells Completely Everything sees Lola and Lotta open a shop that is full of all the things in their flat. But all their things includes Charlie’s swimming goggles and he needs them. So when Morten buys them for a packet of banana chips, Lola has to tell Charlie that Morten doesn’t want to swap them for anything! Lola has no friends in I’ve Got Nobody To Play With. Charlie is going out and Lotta has a cold. What joy, then, when imaginary friend Soren Lorenson decides to play with Lola! But not even Soren Lorenson can help in Thunder Completely Does Not Scare Me. Lola is not scared of the rumbling of thunder, even if wearing cushions on her ears and hiding behind her sofa suggests otherwise. How can Charlie convince her that thunder is nothing to be frightened of?
I Really Absolutely Must Have Glasses sees Lola learning about long- and short-sightedness and is all excited about getting bright pink glasses that are all covered in flowers. But will the optish…otipi…eye testing lady give Lola glasses? It Is Very Special And Extremely Ancient. No, they’re not talking about their grandmother! It’s a fossil that Charlie gets from his father. Now Lola wants one of her own and sets off with Sizzles to get one. But while lollipop sticks and bouncing balls are easy to find, fossils are not.
When Lola sees Charlie and Marv playing fighting, she thinks that they are no longer friends. And it gets worse when Marv makes a new friend who is called Jack. But Marv Is Absolutely Charlie’s Best Friend! Lola is very worried that Charlie will not be friends with Marv any more and so hatches a plan to make them friends again. And it involves pirates! And lots of treasure! Finally, in I Am Inventing a Usefullish Invention, Charlie and Marv have to invent something for their school and Lola would like to join in. But what can she invent? The telephone? A horse? With all their chattering, Charlie and Marv are running out of time…but then Lola comes up with a brilliant invention.
Without any extras on this disc, it’s both the quality of the episodes and the BBC’s presentation that allows it to get by. There’s probably never been a cartoon that is so close to the original books on which it is based, not only in terms of its writing but also its animation. Charlie and Lola look identical on the screen to how they are portrayed in the books and this television show has all the colourful pink wallpaper, swirly writing, pink butterflies, bugs and bits and bobs of photographs that Child had also included. The BBC transfer does a very good job with this disc, keeping Charlie And Lola simple but very clear. There are no obvious faults and nor are there any in the noiseless audio track, which is clear and with a good separation between the left and right channels. Once again, the shrill but very charming delivery of the children is a big part of what makes Charlie And Lola such a thing to treasure and this is captured perfectly well on this DVD. Finally, the BBC have included English subtitles on the main features as well as the bonus material.
It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for…
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