Outcry as Humpty Dumpty ‘Made Better Again’

21 October 2009

Amy Sutherland

Cbeebies logo taken from their website

A programme broadcast on Cbeebies, the BBC‘s children’s channel, has come under scrutiny for changing the end of the famous nursery rhyme to something more positive.  The show ‘Something Special‘ replaced “And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again” with “And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men made Humpty happy again.”

The BBC has defended this as merely being for creative and entertainment reasons but several columnists and Tom Harris – the Labour MP for Glasgow South – who publicized the change after watching the show with his young sons, have condemned it as ridiculous.

According to the Cbeebies site, it is “at all times modern and fresh in its approach” and aims at delivering “entertaining programmes underpinned by learning values.”  The channel’s mission statement declares that its content is “developed and produced using pre-school and early-school specialists. Content is bright, exciting and interactive, and covers all aspects of the Early Learning Goals within a stimulating environment for young children.”

One Edinburgh mother of two, who also watched the programme, believes that this is another example of political correctness gone mad: “It’s all very well wrapping our children up in cotton wool and making everything rosy for them, but the original endings of our nursery rhymes didn’t do older generations any harm.  Why should our children be any different?”

The same programme has also changed the end of Little Miss Muffet to have her befriending the spider instead of running away.