The news I heard on Monday afternoon was quite possibly the best news I have heard all week. According to Showbiz guru Peter Ford  on 2UE’s John Stanley afternoon show (and many other shows and stations it would seem), moves are afoot at Banksia Productions  to sever ties with Channel Nine, and sign with Channel Ten to provide new episodes of “Here’s Humphrey”.
Since 2003, Channel Nine have only run repeats of Here’s Humphrey, and brought Humphrey out alongside Hi-5 during Carols By Candlelight. You would think this would have been enough for the show to be gone forever, but it’s not, as Banksia still produce a Spanish, American and Mandarin version of Humphrey (they fly the hosts to Adelaide for filming), which effectively keeps the show alive.
The repeats of Here’s Humphrey have effectively been Channel Nine’s answer to the “what to do when Kerri-Anne’s on holidays” dilemma, and he has been treated as an irrelevance since the Hi-5 marketing juggernaut hit the screens.
In my view, Humphrey is more suitable for children than Hi-5 which seems more appropriate for an older audience, as I fail to see how skimpy costumes and semi-teen behaviour help a preschooler learn and develop. Humphrey, according to his website , is a perpetual four year old, forever discovering the world, and having lots of fun doing it. Actually, I’ll let the website explain:
Each episode of Humphrey is designed to entertain and educate its audience as they join in the fun with Humphrey B Bear. Humphrey enjoys exploring and pretending. He likes playing, singing, dancing and being with his friends. The essence of the program is in its star that will forever be four years of age and loves every minute of it.
Everyday is a new adventure for Humphrey. An adventure that parallels the needs, fears and fun of the average four year old child. Humphrey Bear explores life as they do, reinforcing their self esteem and showing them it’s OK to make mistakes (after all everyone does). We don’t always have to be the best at everything, it’s more important to simply take part.
Immensely more useful to a preschooler than a bunch of virtual pop-stars!
Humphrey has been on Channel Nine without ads since 1965, and I can understand them wanting something which will make more money, but some things are more important than profits, and if Channel Nine fail to see that, then I hope Channel Ten (or even Channel Seven) do pick up Humphrey, as the nation is a poorer place without new and up-to-date episodes of Here’s Humphrey.
I think Humphrey is one of the best children’s entertainers we have in this country, and just as it would be an incredible tragedy if the ABC were to cancel Play School, it would be a tragedy if new episodes of Humphrey don’t return to television soon.
As the Here’s Humphrey theme song “Humphrey’s Best Friends” says “Hooray for Humphrey, Good old Humphrey. Hooray for Humphrey Bear!!”