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to want help dealing with the "fuck you" response I just got from cbeebies re woolly & tig complaint?

(170 Posts)
Disgruntledfromblahblah Wed 04-Feb-15 09:39:15

There is an episode of Woolly & Tig called Dobbin shown a few days ago. It is about a horse dying, all very simplified but the only explanation of death given is that Dobbin "was happy and went to sleep".

Luckily I was in the room to hear this and able to counteract the bullshit by telling my 4yo that sleep and death are not the same. Having had to deal with a death in the family recently I thought it was widely accepted now that you should never associate death and sleep where children are concerned because it causes confusion and upset. I called bbc complaints immediately to ask them not to show this episode again (they quite often double up on some shows during the day and I do not want another child to be confused by this) and do their homework before raising the topic of grief. I clearly explained that I have no problem with them using the subject of death but I did expect it to be done in an educated manner not using backwards terminology which will cause more harm than good.

This morning I got a brush off email and the episode is still displayed on iplayer so presumably will be shown again elsewhere. Please can I have some help here, I am not sure how best to answer this apart from telling them thanks for nothing and given their ignorance I have no choice but to escalate to mn!! Maybe if they get more complaints they will update their grief management protocol beyond the 1950s?

Here is the brush off email response I got this morning;

Dear Disgruntled

Thank you for getting in touch with us about Woolly and Tig.

Firstly, we’d like to say that we're very sorry to hear of your terrible loss ... We would certainly never set out to cause any distress, and we’re sorry that it’s had that effect.

The reason that the subject of dying was covered is that it's one which, from time-to-time, arises in the lives of children when, for example, pets die or older members of the family pass. By showing somebody else's experience (in this case, Tig's) it can help children to begin to process the difficult concept in a way which is distanced from their own immediate surroundings. We felt that using "Woolly and Tig" was a good way to help gently explain the subject in a way which younger viewers with no direct experience of the situation could start to grasp.

Although the auntie does indeed describe Dobbin as having gone to sleep, it is made clear that Dobbin was very old and in a lot of pain.

We've had some very positive feedback from parents and care-givers who tell us that this episode has helped them to begin to explain the topic to small children in their family, but we're very sorry that it hasn't been so helpful in your situation.

Thanks again for contacting us with your concerns, and rest assured we will take your comments into consideration if we should address such topics in the future.

Kind Regards


PtolemysNeedle Wed 04-Feb-15 09:43:38

Did you really expect them to never use the show again just on your say so?

You may have a point about the show, and you are right that we should associate sleep with death to children, but I can't judge whether YABU on this or not because I haven't seen the programme.

EatShitDerek Wed 04-Feb-15 09:45:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

harryhausen Wed 04-Feb-15 09:47:13

Hmm. I don't think that response email is too bad. I think it acknowledges your concerns. I haven't seen the programme either so it's hard to know exactly how the 'sleep' was described.

My DH works in TV production. Believe me, they don't just make things off the cuff. A tonne of research and work goes into it.

PtolemysNeedle Wed 04-Feb-15 09:48:33

I meant shouldn't in my post above, hope that was obvious!

Corsu Wed 04-Feb-15 09:49:07

As far as I can tell from the description (I haven't seen the episode) YABU. The response from the BBC is that the program aims to provoke a discussion about death between child and parent, rather than be the definitive explanation of death for young children.

With this in mind, I think that the analogy of sleep could be a good starting point.

WowOoo Wed 04-Feb-15 09:50:32

When very young children grow older they are perfectly capable of understanding what 'the long sleep' alludes to.

Children far younger than 4 watch this show.

Sorry for your recent loss.

ChangingItUp Wed 04-Feb-15 10:01:40

I think YABU. PTS (put to sleep) is the term most vets use. It's only confusing to children if you don't explain the difference surely.
I've done many euthanasias with children present, should I say 'I'm going to kill fluffy now'? PTS just sounds kinder in those circumstances.

MessyHair9 Wed 04-Feb-15 10:05:02

it's a fine line to tread though, explaining death to very young children. there's no right or wrong way.#

there was a very sick child in one of my children's classes and I was shocked when some of the parents rounded on the teacher because they felt she had said something inappropriate. (she hadn't). It was all ludicrous.

HoraceCope Wed 04-Feb-15 10:08:16

you are never going to stop people saying, Died in his sleep, which has connotations that it is peaceful and resting
what is wrong with the phrase Went to Sleep? does it cause children to not want to go to sleep?
what is the suggested alternative?

UncleT Wed 04-Feb-15 10:09:03

Erm, no - what you have there is a clearly original, personally-addressed explanation of their position in regards to your complaint. The fact that you disagree with it doesn't mean it's a 'fuck you' response - it very obviously isn't and it's an absurdly and highly ungracious thing to say.

HoraceCope Wed 04-Feb-15 10:09:26

Of course sorry for your loss too OP thanks

MessyHair9 Wed 04-Feb-15 10:11:47

they say it for babies as well as old people "born asleep". it probably does cause children some confusion but ''born DEAD" sounds like a calf

BeeRayKay Wed 04-Feb-15 10:11:57

YABU for all the reasons people have said.

atticusclaw Wed 04-Feb-15 10:12:54

I think its a perfectly reasonable and polite response acknowledging your concerns. YABU

Samcro Wed 04-Feb-15 10:14:10

I can't see anything wrong with their reply or showing it again.

Gruntfuttock Wed 04-Feb-15 10:15:45

Like others, I fail to see how you can call that email a "fuck you" response. It's far from it.

DancingDays Wed 04-Feb-15 10:15:49

DD1 anything more descriptive than 'gone to sleep' has her in floods of tears. She understands death very well and understandings it means that but would struggle with any more descriptive language.

DD2 has to be told "X has died. Gone forever, not coming back, finished, been killed" and needs the information to be very matter of fact to grasp the importance of the information.

The BBC are supporting sensitive viewers like DD1 and it's my responsibility to inform DD2 to the extent that she understands. It's the sensible way to deal with the subject. BBC would have far more calls if they catered for DD2 and ignored the needs of children like DD1.

Anewmeanewname Wed 04-Feb-15 10:16:24

Did you really expect them to never use the show again just on your say so?


reni1 Wed 04-Feb-15 10:17:18

Sorry for your recent loss, Disgruntled. I think the response of cbeebies is perfectly adequate and not at all fuck-you. They can't just pull a carefully planned show because a viewer objects to a word.

YoullLikeItNotaLot Wed 04-Feb-15 10:20:08

YABU. Sorry.

rebelfor Wed 04-Feb-15 10:20:11

I don't think it was a 'fuck you' either.

It's the parents job anyway to explain the difference between sleep and death, not a child's programme.


gamerchick Wed 04-Feb-15 10:20:50

You can't just write in with demands not to show something again man. Let it go.

I'm sorry to hear about your loss.

FarFromAnyRoad Wed 04-Feb-15 10:22:46

Sorry if this isn't what you want to hear but YABU. I too am recently bereaved and the person who died did in fact go to sleep. She just did. From there to coma to death in 12 hours. We do children a disservice to assume they're too stupid to work out a euphemism from plain fact.

TheFairyCaravan Wed 04-Feb-15 10:23:00

YABU It's not a fuck you response.

Sorry for your loss.

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