The Canterbury Museum November 7th 2009
I can never complain that my job doesn't get me into interesting and surreal situations. This morning I was sat in the museum among the rose coloured marble remains of Thomas Becket's tomb, whilst all around there were frantic acitivities for Rupert's 89th birthday. Among the wonderful kids dressed up as Rupert were people of a mature age united by their love of a close close friend they'll never meet. Some could be called enthusiastic, some perhaps obsessive, but there's nothing wrong there. The museum houses some wonderful Rupert exhibits, along with the original Bagpuss and some Clangers, and masses of historical artifacts from way back when. Stuart Trotter was signing copies of the beautiful new annual, and a costumed performer was giving his/her all . Now that's a strange job. But I did feel a little underequipped. I had no puppets, no sets, and no DVD's playing - lord knows where all the stuff is from the series. But worst of al is the general feeling that the TV series has nothing to do with the spirit of the real Rupert. They may be right, but I think that is more a reflection of the supposed tastes of today's audiences and the overbearing health and safety and focus group driven way that children's television is made today than our skills as programme makers. Some reactions bordered on aggression, others were just dismissive. Children however loved it. If I could have had a puppet or a set, I think the reaction would ahve been very different. It is clear though that you mess with institutions such as Rupert at your peril. rupert is a character very verl close to so many people.