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Made to be mass marketed to small children - still a good show though....
Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom
Member Name: azana
Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom
Date: 19/05/09, updated on 19/05/09 (1800 review reads)
Advantages: Appeals to parents and children alike
Disadvantages: You may end up knowing the dialogue off by heart
From the makers of "Peppa Pig", Astley Baker Davis, comes this new
offering "Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom", set in a magical world
which is hidden from sight amongst the brambles apparently, and where
everyone is "very very small", according to the opening credits.
The show debuted in April 2009 on Nick Jr, the channel has long shown Peppa Pig, a show much loved on the toddler scene by children and parents alike. I would imagine that following on from such huge success in TV for children terms must be quite daunting, however I think that the makers have managed to create a show that will soon become beloved by children and parents alike.
The animated show has some of the same familiar elements in it as Peppa Pig, actually some of the voices are very familiar from that programme - I suspect Granny Pig is moonlighting! Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom is about 2 families, one of fairies and one of elves. Holly is a trainee fairy who can do magic with varying degrees of success, and Ben is an elf - it looks like elves in this kingdom shun magic, make toys and blow horns and say "we are elves" every time elves are mentioned. As the characters are tiny they also commune with insects who are giant sized to them - there is a barking ladybird called Gaston who is somewhat of a pet and various birds and worms enter the stories, all of giant size, whilst flowers loom in the scenery as tall as trees.
There is great emphasis on the family unit and humour is used to great effect. Holly lives in a castle and is part of the Fairy Royal family so has a nanny, she is best friends with Ben and their adventures seem to send a moral message that different groups can get on and learn from each other, whilst having fun. The two friends go to school, are left in charge of the castle with predictably disastrous results, or go on fun filled outings with Nanny Plum. All of it is highly watchable in a bit of a quickly comfortingly formulaic manner.
Somehow the show manages to be quite moral without being cloying or too annoying - Peppa is one of the few shows that I can watch repeatedly with my children without wanting to bash my head against the nearest wall, and Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom seems to hit the spot (or not) where this is concerned as well.
The animation is well rendered and all in all this is a quality kids' show. Each episode lasts about 20 minutes and comprises 2 stories and there is a clear beginning, middle and an end to each story. It seems to appeal to my two year old and also my 5 year old, and I think they have been quite clever in making a show that will appeal to boys and girls alike. Apparently the target audience is 3-7, if so, that is quite clever as there is a bit of a void currently in the 5-7 market as far as I am concerned, I find my five year old has grown out of some shows but we are not ready for Hannah Montana and the like yet.
I am pretty sure that much merchandise is bound to follow on the back of this show, and somehow if my children want a book or puzzle about Mr and Mrs Elf or King Thistle and Queen Thistle, I don't think I will mind too much - I even fancy a Gaston the Ladybird myself!
If you have a child of under 7 or so and haven't seen this yet, I am sure that you will soon, in any case we highly recommend it here and watching it at 4:30pm has become a little bit of a ritual already. I didn't think that they would be able to create new families that we would love as much as Peppa and friends, but do you know, I think they might just have pulled it off!
More details: http://www.littlekingdom.co.uk/
Summary: The new peppa pig - sort of