Sinterklaas (Dutch for 'Saint Nicholas', a Santa Clause-like traditional figure in Europe) and his mischievous assistant Zwarte Piet (Dutch for 'Black Pete') are staying in their secret ... See full summary »
Frans Van Der Aa,
In this long-running Dutch animation series, Mr. Owl reads from the Fabeltjeskrant (Dutch for "Fables newspaper") it's named after the links between the scenes which show various animals (... See full summary »
Frans van Dusschoten,
Only the Belgians could come up with a TV show for newborns too young to understand Sesame Street. Programme maker Mil Lenssens became convinced that children below the age of 2 prefer meaningless colour and movement over stories and songs after discovering their obsession with the national lottery draw. The resulting programme was Tik Tak, a collection of swirling images, simple puzzles and repetitive animations. It may have been a breakthrough for keeping baby's quiet in front of the television set, but for pre-schoolers who had already grown some teeth it came as a bit of a shock to see their regular children's serials replaced with nonlinear babytainment. At that time little Belgians only got one programme before bedtime a day and it had just been replaced by five minutes of mindless dribble.
Although not a word is spoken, each episode is 'presented' by an infant, who pops up between the various items but is usually too busy playing with blocks or blankly staring into space to make an introduction. Features include the little transparent man who drinks colourful liquids (or an ostrich marionette who suits the same purpose). Then there are the animal puzzles that make those on Sesame Street look like University Challenge. Lets not forget the primitive computer generated rotating objects nor the cheap stop motion dancing tea cozies. As an analogy for reading a story before bedtime, every Tik Tak end with the opening of an empty book. Swiftly an inkblot turns into the silhouette of a woman who then proceeds to draw herself some sort of background with an enormous pencil. Don't get too excited about this, because just when you think it's time to use your brain, little Miss Inkblot strikes a pose and the show is over.
Unlike Jim Henson's show, Tik Tak has nothing to offer any viewer above the age of 24 months. But for it's intended audience it works quite well and it will presumably be repeated until the end of time. It has been moved from it's 18.00 pm bedtime slot to the early afternoon and is now followed by a whole range of children's programmes ranked by age limit. Apparently toddlers are sent to bed in the early afternoon now, since the opening sequence still resolves around counting sheep to the sound of a lullaby. Speaking of the intro, hold on tight, for at long last the secret of Tik Tak is about to be revealed!
SPOILER ALERT! If you want to continue watching Tik Tak with no prior knowledge, read no further. This is your last opportunity to turn back!
The show opens on a little weather hut with an animated clapper swinging to and fro. When the pendulum stops, the doors on either side open up and tiny plush sheep come out one side only to disappear down the other. Occasionally however, the sheep are followed by a little toy dog. Here comes the secret to whether or not the dog will show up (positively FINAL CHANCE to stop reading):
Watch that yellow clapper closely: If it keeps hanging still, there will be no dog. HOWEVER, if it DISAPPEARS, this is you're lucky day: prepare to make way for the dog! Sometimes there is a little wooden forester standing in front of the house obscuring the clapper. No chance of a dog sighting then. Many years later they added another variation involving a cat. Unfortunately the kitty cat code has yet to be broken.
End of spoiler.
5 out of 10
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