BBC’s Christmas Day Hansel and Gretel will show ‘dead children’
The BBC is planning to show a “gory” version of Hansel and Gretel on Christmas Day that shows dummies of dead children hanging by ropes. The Royal Opera House production, which it has described as “perfect family fare for everyone at holiday time” will be aired at 3pm on BBC2. Children’s campaigners have criticised the BBC’s decision to broadcast it at a time when young children will be watching.Even the Royal Opera House has recommended that children younger than eight should not see the two-hour show, which culminates in a final scene in which the wicked is eaten by the captive children.Margaret Morrissey, of Parents Aloud, said: “There are lots of wonderful children’s operas that would be delightful on Christmas Day. If we can’t keep out such horrible, gruesome scenes I think we have come to a very sad state of affairs.”But knowing the BBC they will show great delight in broadcasting this, and saying that people like me are Mary Whitehouse fuddy-duddies.”Michele Elliott, founder of the Kidscape charity, described the decision to broadcast it at 3pm as “absolutely appalling”.She said: “Children could be really scared or even traumatised by watching this.”The Brothers Grimm fairy tale is one of their darker stories. It tells of a brother and sister who wander the forest in search of food as their woodcutter father cannot feed them. Chancing upon a gingerbread house, they are beckoned inside by a witch who enslaves them. Eventually they manage to trap her in her oven and escape.The televised version shows her larder hung with what appear to be dead children, who spring back into life to eat the witch.A BBC spokesman said it was within editorial guidelines and would be preceded by an advisory warning. She said it was no different from the darker elements in “Roald Dahl or Harry Potter”, adding: “This is on BBC2 not CBBC. It’s a perfect family treat. I think modern audiences will see that it isn’t a realistic drama, it’s a stage production.”
A spokesman for the Royal Opera House said: “There is only one particular scene that’s a bit gory, that shows dummies of dead children hanging in the fridge. Very shortly afterwords they all come alive and sing and dance and eat the witch.”
She said it was recommending children younger than eight did not watch the live performance, but mainly because it was three hours of German opera.
“If it’s on Christmas Day parents may want to video it,” she added. Stephen Adams Daily Telegraph.
So over to you parents how many of you agree, we know Hansel and Gretal is not the most pleasant of fairy stories but even so do we really need to keep showing our children these images and on Christmas Day?