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Tuesday 8th June 2004

CNPS numbers spotted 2 (793).
I have become a bit obsessed wth the children's television show, "Big Cook,Little Cook." Because I've been drinking too much I find myself regularly waking up at around about 6 o'clock each morning and because of my hangover and nausea unable to sleep for a couple of hours. I find watching TV helps pass through this unpleasant time and to be honest find the inanities of the various adult breakfast shows too much to bear; so I tend to watch CBBC. Possibly because of my delicate condition or the long term deterioration of my brain due to alcohol poisoning I find the programmes aimed at pre-school children almost endlessly fascinating.
When I was at Longleat the other day, the guide pointed out that the gorillas had TV in their house on their island and you could tell which programmes were their favourites because they actually applaud them. They liked stuff like "The Tweenies" because of the colours and music. Although I'm not so far gone as to like "The Tweenies" (I find it a bit childish), I think something similar has happened to me with the Cook show and also to some extent "Balamorie" and "Tot's TV". To my adled brain they are the greatest entertainment in the world.
"Big Cook, Little Cook" is the best though. I love the songs and the repetitive nature of the show. The BBC are so cheap that they actually go as far to use the exact same footage for about 40% of the show, but if anything this makes the programme even better. For those of you without kids or alcohol problems, the basic premise of the show is that a normal sized man and a tiny man (of about six inches in height) have for some reason decided to open a café together, even though the small man is no real practical help in the kitchen due to the disadvantage of his size (it is possible that it is actually a café run by a normal sized man and a giant man - of around 1000 ft tall, but if this is the case then they live in a world where everything else is similarly gigantic and thus the normal sized man is still of little to no use. Let's assume the big cook is normal and the little cook is tiny).
Each day someone (often a nursery rhyme character) comes into their café and then Little Cook tells a story about them which always in fact merely glorifies himself and shows how they owe all their success to this tiny red-haired man.
Then they decide to cook the character something which is themed around what that character does for a living (Old Macdonald got an animal smoothie decorated to resemble a chick- to be honest, if I was Old Macdonald and I got food themed on my job I'd be tempted to say, "Look I spend all day at the farm looking after animals and when I come out for a bit of lunch I'd like to forget about my work for a bit and maybe just have some ordinary food, not based on what I do. It might be nice to be shown a menu rather than just be given whatever it is you imagine that you'd think I'd like"). The kitchen is always short of one ingredient, which smacks of bad planning and so Little Cook is sent off on a flying spoon to track it down. He never carries the item back with him, but clearly possesses some unexplained magic which allows him to transport it to the café - probably negating the need for him to fly off on his spoon in the first place. Presumably these magic powers were what persuaded Big Cook to go into business with the otherwise useless and arorogant midget. Then they make the food for the customer, sing a song about cleaning up and get a present from their delighted customer.
I mainly like the programme because the actor playing Big Cook Ben is absolutely rubbish. He looks as if he is hating ever minute of his job and when the script calls upon him to laugh he invariably just says "oh ho ho ho" before exhaling. I could understand if it was Little Cook who was shit (and frankly he is barely adequate, but next to Big Cook looks like the greatest actor ever); after all it must be tricky to find a person who is six inches tall and also great at acting. But Big Cook is normal size and so could have been played by anyone. So how did they end up with someone so bad?
Unless of course my other theory was right and that Little Cook is actually the normal sized one and Big Cook is a giant. But considering the costs of building the gigantic studio set to accommodate this monster, then surely it would have been easier to employ a normal sized big cook and a tiny small cook. Or maybe to have used special effects or something and employed two normal sized actors. I expect their choice is something to do with political correctness gone mad.
I have taken to laughing like Big Cook in life now. He is my hero.
My only major problem with the show is that whilst Big Cook has a normal name (ie Ben - not the actor's name interestingly), Little Cook's actual name is "Small". This seems a bit insulting and unnecessary. I presume it is more than just a cruel nickname as the song about the clean kitchen includes the line "His name's Small" (NB not nick-name).
I find it hard to believe he was Christened this by his parents. After all, in all probability one
or both of them was equally tiny and so although Small would have been smaller than them because he was a baby, I still don't think they would have been so heartless as to point out his tininess so clearly. They would probably have been bullied at school about it themselves and would want to have given him a normal name like Ian. If however both his parents were normal size, then it would be even more cruel for them to have christened him Small. It makes no sense to me.
There is definitely something very sinister going on and I wonder if Big Cook maybe kidnapped Little Cook when he was a baby or something, realising that this was his only chance to get on TV (judging by his useless acting skills) and it was him who called him "Small", in order to keep him in his place and remind him who is boss.
Anyway, even though I am staying in a room without a TV at the moment, when I wake up I still have the cleaning up song ringing around in my head. I just hope this new show is going to be worth all the mental and physical health problems it is clearly going to cause me.

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