Traumafessions :: Reader Kate on Stoppit and Tidyup & Animal Farm

I think this is a bit of an obscure one.

At some point in the early ‘90s, when I was about four or five years old, I saw a cartoon on Children’s BBC (I think) called STOPPIT AND TIDYUP. Or rather, I saw about ten seconds of it, because after that I ran away screaming. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was that scared me, but there was something about the character designs that I found unbelievably disturbing.

I know it was a five-minute short, because that’s what my mother told me in order to get me to come downstairs from my room ten minutes later, but apart from that, I know next to nothing. I remember that, for years afterwards, I was always a bit nervous whenever I was watching that channel, all prepared to bolt in case it came on again. Once or twice, it did, but I always managed to get away as soon as the title sequence started, so I never saw any more of it. I suppose I could go to the show’s Wikipedia page to look up some information on it, but… there might be pictures.

Anyway, here’s the strange part- from that day to this, every time I’ve mentioned STOPPIT AND TIDYUP to a group of people my age, someone has always said, “Oh, God, that terrified me as a kid!” And that’s the only thing that they can remember. As far as I can gather, this show’s entire legacy was to disturb an entire generation of four-year-olds. And considering that, a few years ago, I found out that it was by the same people who made THE TRAP DOOR (which is essentially cosmic horror for tinies), I’m starting to suspect that they did it on purpose.

(Also, when I was six, my Year One class were shown the cartoon version of ANIMAL FARM. I’d write this off as the teachers being a bit distracted and not reading the blurb, but then they showed it again two years later- both times in a double-bill with CHARLOTTE’S WEB, strangely enough. Apparently they were going for a “farm animals in peril” theme. Anyway, for about ten years afterwards, ANIMAL FARM was still the scariest film I’d ever seen. It kind of spoiled me for horror movies.)



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Jami JoAnne Russell
11 years ago

It actually amazes me how many people don’t know what Animal Farm is about. We had a copy on VHS at the library where I work and parents would just see it was animated and would pick it up thinking to get it for their kids. I’d always have to tell them, “You know, this isn’t for little kids. It’s based on George Orwell’s book which is basically about communism and government corruption.”

I can’t comprehend why they said they never heard of it. Animal Farm was required reading when I was in school – and some of the parents were my age so I knew they had to have read it.

We finally had to put labels on it to shelve with adult videos and that it’s not for children.

Brian Katcher
11 years ago

Yeah, I’m sure the scene where the elderly horse is hauled off to the gluemaker’s is good for kids.

You know what chapped my arse about that cartoon? They gave it a happy ending!

Joanna Boese
11 years ago

I believe I saw some of “The Trap Door” on a flight to London maaaannnnyyyy years ago as part of British Airway’s inflight entertainment…can’t remember it, though, but it reminded me of “Bump in the Night”…

Hannabella Doe
Hannabella Doe
10 years ago

I love Animal Farm. It’s a really good book. I first read it when I was in grade 10, and it wasn’t for school since you don’t read it till grade 12, so I’m ahead of the curve by two years. So I’ll already have a copy for next year.