I am obsessed with British television, and have been since I was a little girl and PBS ran BBC shows at night. I fell in love with shows like Keeping Up Appearances and Eastenders, and to this day, some of my favorite shows come from across the pond. My children seem to be no different. It's to the point where my kids have watched so much Peppa Pig, that they pronounce tomatoes "toe-mah-toes." I love it. Alas, one cartoon is never enough, and we've started searching out more shows. So far I've found 7 cute British cartoons that are really fitting the bill.
British television has been gaining popularity in the United States since BBC America and Netflix have made access to this entertainment all the simpler. In the United Kingdom, they have what's known as CBBC, or children's BBC, which functions much like Nickelodeon or Disney Kids channel. It's quality content, well-regulated, and the shows are extremely creative. Because there are fewer of them, they tend to be highly curated, which explains why they've become so popular in the U.S.: They're just that good. Shows like Fireman Sam and Peppa Pig are perennial favorites, but others are gaining popularity in their midst.
1. 'Hey Duggee'
This show has several episodes available on YouTube, making it a perfect entry point to British television. Kids know YouTube, and love it even more than television. It's also available on NickJr, if you have cable. Perfect for your little ones aged 2 to 5 years old, the show is all about kids in The Squirrel Club trying to earn badges and going on adventures.
2. 'Danger Mouse'
I remember the original Danger Mouse, and his evil nemesis, Baron Greenback, from my childhood. It's a cross between Pinky and The Brain, and Mighty Mouse, and while that sounds really strange, it works. This one is available on Netflix, thank heavens, and each episode is chock full of intrigue and the workings of the super spy mouse.
I remember when I was learning to read, we had a show called The Letter People, and it was from about 20 years before I was born, but they played it in school, anyway. It was creepy as heck, and I think I still have scars from Mr. T. The Alphablocks are decidedly less 1970s terrifying, and kids absolutely love them. They also have a really great educational website and merchandise tie-in you need to check out.
4. 'Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom'
Showing on Nick Jr, Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom was a favorite of my daughter for years. It's made by the same people who created Peppa Pig, so you know that children will absolutely adore it. There is always a lesson learned, but each show has enough magical hijinks, that it's not overly-pedantic.
5. 'The Ooglies'
If Ridiculousness had a child with Veggie Tales, and they divorced it from religion, that is what The Ooglies would be. It's part disaster show, part Fruit Ninja, and it's weirdly addictive. You'll have to head to YouTube for your fix right now, but hopefully, with the relaunch, it'll make its way to Netflix, soon.
Based on the wonderful graphic novel Hilda and The Troll by Luke Pearson, Hilda was imagined by the BBC in all of her free-spirited glory. The artistry and graphics on this one are beyond gorgeous. I found myself utterly captivated by the show, and my daughter and son were, too. It's one of my little girl's absolute favorites.
7. 'Dennis and Gnasher Unleashed'
This is the British version of the classic Dennis the Menace, fully realized for the twenty-first century, complete with Gnasher, his canine companion. Dennis faces challenges every day, and he does so with plenty of attitude. The difference between this and previous iterations is that he's viewed through a lens of compassion, which is novel and needed. It's available in the states on Beano.