The TV series helping put toddlers to bed - and terrifying parents

Photo: Moon and Me, Sutikki / Supplied
Photo: Moon and Me, Sutikki / Supplied 

Getting my two toddlers to bed every night is a challenge.

I'm not ashamed to admit that watching an episode of In the Night Garden is an integral component of their bedtime routine.

There's something about the predictable structure, babbling characters, soothing music and Iggle Piggle sailing off into the ocean with his red blanky that helps calm and relax them before I send them off to nigh-nigh.

Photo: Moon and Me, Sutikki / Supplied
Photo: Moon and Me, Sutikki / Supplied Photo: ABC Kids / Supplied

That's why I was very excited to hear about a new series that's about to start on ABC Kids called Moon and Me, created by the same genius behind In the Night Garden and Teletubbies. 

The show revolves around a magical toy called Pepi Nana and her "comical" toy friends who come to life once their owner goes to bed. 

"Lie down Pepi Nana. Close your eyes. Don't you peep. This is the way we go to sleep." 

I'm not going to lie, I find Pepi Nana and her mates seriously creepy. If you already have a fear of clowns and Chucky, then watching this show with your darling toddler probably isn't going to help.  

And I'm clearly not alone. A recent Reddit thread titled 'Moon and Me is absolutely terrifying' declared the show to be the stuff of nightmares.

"This is the scary bit of parenting people don't tell you about," said one person.

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"The clown? He's called Colly Wobble. Pretty sure his side job is harvesting organs."

When the trailer was posted to the ABC Kids Facebook page, Australian parents voiced a similar sentiment. 

"I didnt think it was possible to make a show that is weirder than In The Night Garden, but by the looks of this, maybe they have! #newigglepiggle"

Photo: Moon and Me, Sutikki / Supplied
Photo: Moon and Me, Sutikki / Supplied 

"This looks creepily terrifying. I'm sure my daughter will love it though."

Exactly. Who cares if you're too afraid to sleep yourself? The kids bloody love it and aren't scared one bit. 

Photo: Moon and Me, Sutikki / Supplied
Photo: Moon and Me, Sutikki / Supplied 
Creator and producer Andrew Davenport is no stranger to creating successful television for preschoolers. Both Teletubbies and In the Night Garden became global hits and spawned billion-dollar merchandising industries.  
Moon and Me was developed out of a two-year project with the University of Sheffield, in which cameras were set up all over a toy house, so Davenport could observe the way children engage in contemporary play.

"We had children playing in toy houses and set up a microphone inside. It was like a Big Brother house for toys," he said in an interview with i News. "I was looking at how children play with their toys, their emotional attachment to them and how they use toys to find out about the world they are in."

The show was created using a combination of sophisticated puppetry and stop-motion animation.
Remarkably, the Toy House alone features over 500 incredibly detailed, individually designed, hand-built and hand-painted miniature props and furnishings. Davenport says he deliberately eschewed any form of CGI in favour of  "filming with beautifully-realised real objects."
And it's this unique approach and level of detail which means you feel like you can just about reach in through the television and grab the life-like toy characters. 
At the end of every episode, after their story adventure, it's back to to the Toy House for tea before each toy snuggles down in their respective beds, Moon Baby heads on back to the moon and the narrator wishes them all 'good night'.

The repetitive chants, string of farewells and deliberate routine are perfectly reminiscent of In the Night Garden and a winning formula for getting little ones ready to drift off to sleep.  

Trust me, it works. 

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​'Moon and Me' airs weekdays from June 10 at 12.15pm and will also be available on the ABC KIDS app and iView.