“Iggle Piggle Iggle Onk, we’re going to catch the Ninky Nonk” – Derek Jacobi
My nephew is still obsessed with In The Night Garden, which is amazing considering he’s only four and distracted quicker than my nan with a bottle of vodka. Along with Doctor Who and Ben 10, the show has enveloped him to the usual extent of TOYS EVERYWHERE and constant repeats and re-watches on CBeebies and as such I’ve seen the wonders of the night garden often enough to know what’s going on.
The main guy seems to be this Iggle Piggle bloke, situated to my left here, who goes around carrying a red blanket, falling over and just generally having the same shaped head as David Cameron. Despite the obvious disadvantages of having such a features, he is the face of the show, and the character you’d immediately think of and associate with the Night Garden (despite the fact he doesn’t actually live there, but resides there often enough that if this were real life Cameron would probably be after this immigrant faster than you could say “I won’t cut the NHS…”).
Iggle Piggle has sold, in what I’m told is a technical industry term, a feck-load since ITNG first came out and is the most familiar face on kids tv. Today’s heroes’ face hasn’t, despite the fact he’s on tv just as often as Iggle Piggle. In fact he’s on tv pretty much whenever Iggle Piggle is; yes, Nick Kellington is the man who plays Iggle Piggle.
I always found it strange to believe that these larger than like characters have people inside them. For some reason, he Teletubbies, Tweenies, Bungle and their ilk were all either animatronics or just located in my brain under the sub-section “real-enough” (Not to be confused with another sub-section in my head containing Steps, Jim Davidson and the Twilight series labelled “real, enough!”). I remember being told that CBBC presenter was actually the woman who played Po from the Teletubbies and being surprised that she wasn’t either 8-foot or 2 inches tall.
Anyway, Nick was unveiled by the Daily Mail *spit* a few years ago. He’s an unassuming guy who the paper revealed as ‘a tattooed rocker’, because as we all know, tattoos are the single most shocking thing about a person. He isn’t even a rocker; he played the cornet and ukulele in an indie band and went to clown school (not the same thing as clown college). So it turns out, like most people who work in the entertainment industry, he liked to entertain people as part of a band and was a normal guy; great scoop Daily Mail!
He just seems a decent guy. He also doesn’t go around boasting about who he is, especially not to children; in an interview with the Guardian, he said “I never tell children it’s me. You wouldn’t tell children that Father Christmas isn’t real, would you?”. Hats off to him; I know a lot of people who’d say ‘that’s me, you know!’ to adults and children alike just for a bit of attention, especially if you spend all day in a sauna of a suit without being able to see much and feeling very claustrophobic. He’ll never get the recognition that Iggle Piggle gets despite being the man behind the face, but yet provides joy to millions of children. Truly an honourable deed.
The best bit for me though? A man who plays a nice happy, loving kids TV character also played an angry, war-hungry Sontaran in Doctor Who. Personally I’d love to see a Nick Kellington-special crossover episode; Sontarans in the Night Garden. My nephew would love it.