I saw recently that channel 5 got into trouble for putting Watership Down on television on Easter day and subsequently got into trouble for traumatising a new generation of children with the violence, struggle and heartache that is endured by Hazel, Bigwig and the others rabbits looking for a new home. Then it got me thinking, which things do I remember watching on television as a child that were technically suitable for children but I still found somewhat traumatising myself? Here is my list but let me know which traumatic kids shows, films and adverts you remember from your childhood.
5 - The Animals of Farthing Wood.
A happy story about a group of woodland friends? Absolutely not. This series featured a group of animals trying to find a new home (similar to Watership Down). However, on their journey it felt as if more characters were killed off than in a series of Game of Thrones which is a bit surprising considering it was made for children. I remember some of them meeting particularly gruesome ends at the hands of humans or other animals. Still, it was actually a brilliantly written series that I remember vividly to this day.
4 - 'Hush' episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Whilst Buffy The Vampire Slayer may not have been made specifically for children it was still on early enough for me (and many other kids I knew) to watch it. For the most part this was fine. It was a well written show with decent humour, lots of action and strong female characters. That is until the 'Hush' episode which featured a group of ghouls name The Gentleman who steal peoples voices so they can't scream whilst they cut their hearts out. What most disturbed me as a child was the creepy way the glided silently just a few inches above the ground. Oh, and they looked like this,
3 - Are You Afraid Of The Dark?
This was a show for children in which each episode was a different horror story. Unlike the Goosebumps show which was largely ridiculous and funny, this was made to seem just that much more believable. There were many genuinely creepy episodes, the one that stands out to me was when a girl realises she is the dead girl from an urban myth she has heard (anybody remember it?). Also, the intro with the music and the swing swinging by itself!
2 - The Playstation advert with the weird girl.
As a kid who desperately wanted a Playstation I would latch onto anything on television that mentioned it. That was until I saw the advert with the girl who had the creepy face and the Scottish accent. I've just looked her up and, yep, it's still just as creepy now as it was back then.
1 - Paperhouse.
This was a film that my Mum put on for me because it sounded like a nice kids film. Basically, a girl discovers that whatever she draws comes to life. [Spoiler alert]. So, she decides to draw herself a friend. Problem is, she forgets to draw his legs so he can't walk and has to drag himself around the ground. That's okay, she can draw him a Dad to cheer him up. Problem is, she forgets to give him a smiley face so he is an abusive psychopath. That's okay, she can just scribble him out. Problem is, that just means he is now an abusive psychopath with no eyes. Nightmares ensued.
Special mention goes to the episode of The Fresh Prince when his Dad walks out on him. Man, childhood was tough for a 90's kid!