TV

8 kids’ TV characters we still look up to today, if we’re honest

Because everyone needs a little Tenderheart compassion or Babar wisdom in their lives from time to time.

By Sarah Macrae

There's something to be said for a kids' TV program that you can still remember some 30 odd years later.

Of course, some you remember for all the wrong reasons. The bad music, the bonkers characters and the underlying feeling that the producers may have been intoxicated when they came up with the concept!

But some you remember simply because they got it so right. Because they taught you something, because they made you laugh out loud or because they're the characters you can't wait to show your little ones. Here are some of those...

1. Babar

The regal elephant instilled two of life's great lessons into viewers from an early age: see the world and family is everything. Most episodes involved the King and Queen of Celesteville on an amazing globe-trotting adventure with their four kids. Together they seemed like the perfect family — not because they didn't argue, but because when they did, Babar always reminded them about the importance of family.

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2. Tenderheart

Whilst picking your favourite Care Bear is a bit like being asked to pick your favourite child, there's no denying that Tenderheart is the kind of furry friend you want in your corner for life. The cuddly round bear with the big ol' heart was always front and centre when it came to dishing out compassion, inspiring us to be kinder on a daily basis.

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3. B1 and B2

Aside from having the catchiest theme song ever, Bananas in Pyjamas was ultimately a celebration of collaboration. When B2 would ask, “Are you thinking what I'm thinking, B1?” he taught everyone about working together and the value of partnership. Plus, the show was a triumph for friendship in the face of adversity. It's not every day bananas, bears and rats end up being great friends, after all.

4. Fireman Sam

We don't know if there's a record for number of fires put out or cats saved from trees, but let's be clear, if there was, Fireman Sam would win on both counts. The cartoon hero has saved residents of Pontypandy more times than anyone can remember and always remains calm during an emergency. We do love a man who can keep a clear head in a crisis.

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5. Arthur

Despite hilariously being dubbed John Legend's doppelgänger recently, Arthur Read is actually most famous for teaching kids that it's ok to be themselves and not like everyone else. The aardvark (yes, that's what Arthur is) and his friends regularly touch on the theme that everyone is different and you shouldn't ever be embarrassed about things you like —
reason #987 to love Arthur at any age. Different is good!

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6. Chuckie Finster

Out of all the Rugrats you probably weren't expecting to see Chuckie's name up here. But, Chuckie is braver than Tommy Pickles or mean ol’ Angelica. Why? Because he routinely (albeit not always willingly) faces his fears to follow his friends and stick together. Unlike Tommy and the twins, Chuckie's nature makes him see the bad in everything, but having the courage to overcome that time and again is what's impressive. We can all take a leaf out of his book next time we're scared.

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7. Winnie the Pooh

There are hundreds and thousands of life lessons to be found in The Hundred Acre Wood, but perhaps one of the most important and relevant notions is the idea of living in the moment. Pooh, Piglet and co. were famous for being fully present in The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and without wanting to sound like a pretentious new-age blog, that's something we can all try to learn from in our adult life. As the famous phrase goes: “‘What day is it?’ says Pooh. ‘It's today,’ squeaked Piglet. ‘My favorite day,’ said Pooh.”

8. Mr. Wombat

Looking back, Mr. ‘Wombo’ Wombat legitimately deserves a medal for all the times he kept mischievous Blinky Bill in line. He's the stereotypical village elder who's always there with a generous heart to mentor and offer advice — no matter how many times Blinky Bill calls him ‘Wombo’. He was the prime example of the unwavering guidance older members of the community can offer younger generations and a part of us wishes that Mr. Wombat existed in real life. You too?