Before I became a parent, I hadn’t spent a lot of time considering kids’ TV, as you would expect. The last six years has been a real eye opener for me. I never realised that so much of it was so full of heart, with so many learning opportunities and, importantly, it could be so funny. I figured that sitting through endless cartoons with the kids would be a trial, but it isn’t. It’s a great chance to share an experience, to laugh at the same things and to enjoy ourselves. And that is what happened when we settled in to watch the Christmas special episode of Ricky Zoom, ‘Santacycle Down’.
If you’re not familiar with the world of Ricky Zoom, he is a bright red motorbike who hangs out with a group of bike friends and gets up to all sorts of adventures around the town of Wheelford. The programme airs on Nick Jr at the moment and will come to Milkshake on Channel 5 in the new year. The team behind Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly are also in charge of this new show, aimed at preschoolers, so you already know there is a decent pedigree at play.
‘Ricky Zoom – Santacycle Down’ Plot
The plot of the Ricky Zoom Christmas special revolves around Santacycle, the Father Christmas of the Ricky Zoom world, enlisting the help of Ricky and his gang to capture the magic that will help him complete his Christmas Eve deliveries. The bikes need to work together to get Santacycle going again and to catch a falling star that will bring him the magic he needs to head back out across the world, delivering gifts to the little bikes that are expecting to wake up to parcels under the tree on Christmas Day.
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The show is genuinely funny, with stand-out set pieces including the hapless Officer Bunker completely failing to convince anyone he is the real Santacycle, Ricky asking his mate Loop Hoopla to begin a countdown to blast off, which Hoopla inexplicably starts at 50 before being admonished by the gang, and one character believing throughout the episode that he is dreaming.
In solving the problem at the heart of the plot, Ricky Zoom has to make a selfless decision to aid the millions of expectant gift receivers around the world at his own expense and that is a great moment for viewing children to witness.
Reaction to the Ricky Zoom Christmas Special
My kids are six and two and they absolutely loved the Ricky Zoom Christmas Special. The eldest, Elsa, thought it was funny and “cool”, while her younger brother Seth enjoyed “the bit where he went really fast”. I asked them about whether they would sacrifice their Christmas presents so that other children could have something to wake up to on Christmas Day and, although they did not reply in the affirmative, the fact that they both at least considered it as an option suggests that the episode made them think about it.
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The most persuasive piece of praise I can bestow on Ricky Zoom – Santacycle Down is that, once it reached the end of the episode, both children demanded to watch it again. In an age of endless choice on streaming services online, there aren’t many programmes that earn that honour, so it must be worth a watch!
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The question is…