Pre-school animation appears to have something of a stigma in the United States. Cartoons targeted at children aged 6-11, such as SpongeBob SquarePants, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic and Adventure Time, have picked up adult followings of varying sizes; however, there seems to be an assumption that anything aimed at the 5-and-under crowd will be too simplistic and didactic to interest older viewers.
In Britain, things are slightly different. Most animated television series made in the UK today are aimed at the preschool audience, but often cater to any adult viewers who appreciate gentle whimsy. In this way they can be seen as continuing the tradition of Bagpuss, The Clangers and Noggin the Nog, children’s series which were not intended specifically for the preschool demographic but now find themselves pigeonholed into that area when they are rerun – and yet still maintain fond adult followings.
Sarah and Duck, a recent CBeebies series created by Sarah Gomes Harris and Tim O’Sullivan of Karrot Entertainment, has plenty of charm and is sure to net itself a number of adult admirers. Its appeal for older viewers lies not in any winking asides above the heads of the target audience, but in its way of evoking the more fondly-remembered aspects of our childhoods.