The Casual Father: Postman Pat? It was more like a episode of 24

Michael Steward

Michael Steward - Credit: Archant

It’s amazing how the mood of a four-month-old baby can change in an instant, and for no apparent reason.

One minute, they’re laying blissfully on a play-mat, like it’s a beach in the Caribbean, and all is right with the world.

The next, it’s as though a nuclear weapon has been detonated on that beach, and they have been transported into the fourth layer of hell.

Recently, and for reasons unknown to the wife and I, our little girl has taken a complete aversion to her rocker.

A chair that once brought happiness, and provided a welcome break, now brings real tears. “There must be way we can get her back in there,” says the wife.

Turns out there is, by doing something that we both said we never would – plonking her in front of the television.

It’s funny how quickly baby ethics go out of the window when faced with a screaming daughter for a few hours straight.

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The motion and colours of CBeebies seem to work wonders and soon Elizabeth has completely forgotten what she didn’t like about the chair, if she even remembers.

Being the first time I have watched children’s television for the best part of 25 years, I am intrigued to see how it has developed over time. To begin with, it’s all a bit disappointing. I see a fairly nondescript programme about a talking sheep, followed by a re-run of those blasted Teletubbies.

But the next thing on makes me sit up sharply.

It’s an absolute classic from my childhood, and a man whose curtains graced my bedroom until middle school when I started having friends round and begged my mum to take them down.

Yes that’s right, the Royal Mail legend that is Postman Pat.

But hang-on just a minute, this isn’t a re-run, it’s a new version and all of a sudden, I’m worried. What might they have done to Pat?

I watch with apprehension. The theme tune is roughly the same – sung by someone else but nevertheless acceptable.

Pat’s van certainly seems bigger, and Jess looks as though he’s piled on the timber, but the opening stages are enjoyable.

Even if the pair appear to be working less for Royal Mail these days, and more for a shadow postal organisation known as the ‘Special Delivery Service’.

In this episode, Pat is dispatched to deliver a birthday parcel, but there’s a problem. It’s stuck on a train.

I’m gripped for the next 10 minutes as I watch Pat receive co-ordinates from an operator with a headset (on his hands-free in the van of course), race to the where the train is, locate the parcel and jump from the moving express back into his van while Jess holds the wheel.

It was exhausting. Postman Pat? It was more like an episode of 24.

In my day, some sheep would be loose in Greendale and he’d have to round them up before he could continue his deliveries, or a dog would bite a hole in his letters sack. These were real village postie problems.

Whatever next? An assassination attempt on Mrs Goggins? Ted Glen acting as double agent? Or perhaps Reverend Timms smuggling arms through the church?

I can’t wait for next week.