Kids’ “Rastamouse” received scores of complaints

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Ras­ta­mouse” has plenty of detrac­tors, mon.

Fig­ures pro­vided by broad­cast reg­u­la­tor Ofcom indi­cate that the ani­mated TV show about a crime-solving Rasta­far­ian mouse was Britain’s most complained-about children’s pro­gram of 2011.

Ras­ta­mouse is made in Wales and dig­i­tally ani­mated by Dinamo Pro­duc­tions. It con­sists of 52 10-minute episodes.

View­ers were con­cerned that the series “stereo­typed black peo­ple.” They also lamented the patois lan­guage that char­ac­ters use.

How­ever, the British Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion described Ras­ta­mouse, aimed at chil­dren under six, as one of its most pop­u­lar shows of 2011.

The first episode, Da Cru­cial Plan, aired on dig­i­tal kids’ chan­nel CBee­bies on Jan­u­ary 31, 2011. It caused 13 com­plaints to be made to Ofcom. The BBC received 200-odd com­plaints about the series in its early broadcasts.

In “Da Cru­cial Plan,” da Easy Crew — the crime-fighting trio made up of Ras­ta­mouse, Scratchy and Zoomer — devise a clever plan to lure a cheeky cheese “teef.” Their slo­gan is “Makin’ a bad ting good.”

None of the com­plaints were upheld by the regulator.

While Dinamo Pro­duc­tions declined to com­ment, the program’s pro­duc­tion com­pany, Three Stones Media, didn’t reply to phone calls or e-mails.

We’re a strongly mul­ti­cul­tural pro­duc­tion com­pany mak­ing a pro­gram about char­ac­ters co-created by a Rasta­far­ian,” pro­ducer Greg Board­man said in a 2011 inter­view with The Guardian. “We think they’re great mod­els who use logic and problem-solving for the good of a pos­i­tive, cre­ative community.”

He added: “The show has a strong mes­sage: through love, under­stand­ing and respect, Ras­ta­mouse will make a bad thing good. The whole pack­age — music, color, rhythm and rhyme of speech — engages kids and enables that mes­sage to be heard by a wider audience.”

About 90% of the “cou­ple of hun­dred” com­plaints about the show early last year con­cerned the lan­guage that the char­ac­ters used, a BBC spokes­woman said.

We have had a huge amount of pos­i­tive feed­back about Ras­ta­mouse, which con­tin­ues to be a hit with our young view­ers, and which was con­sis­tently in the top ten CBee­bies shows viewed on iPlayer through­out 2011,” she added.

Last year, the stop-motion show was nom­i­nated a cov­eted children’s BAFTA award in the pre-school ani­ma­tion category.

Ras­ta­mouse is an adap­ta­tion of a book. It’s been attacked on Web site Mum­snet by par­ents who charged that the char­ac­ters are crude stereo­types and encour­age lit­tle ones to use non-standard English.

How­ever, dread­locked poet Ben­jamin Zepha­niah backed the char­ac­ters’ use of Jamaican patois.

Ras­ta­mouse, cre­ated by Trinida­dian Rasta Michael De Souza, had led to a valid debate about how black peo­ple are por­trayed on TV, he said.

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About Paul Anderson

Paul is an old-timer here at BCDB- his contributions go back to before the site! Paul is widely regarded as a Disney historian, and is also on staff at the Disney Museum in San Francisco. Paul is also a contributing historian for D23, the Disney Club. Paul has published several books and magazine articles on Disney history, too. You are welcome to drop Paul a line here.


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