Pussy Galore

I’ve mentioned on a few occasions Denis Healey’s first rule of holes – when in one, stop digging – a lesson that seems lost on the BBC in its handling of the Great Blue Peter Cat Naming Scandal.

The scenario is pretty straight forward.

A while back, Blue Peter acquired itself a new kitten and gave its young audience – apparently it’s the 8-10 year old demographic that the show targets – the chance to name the cat through the BBC Blue Peter website. So far, so innocent.

Only when the votes were counted, something went wrong. Whatever the chosen name was – and more on this in a moment – it was deemed unsuitable for a kids TV show, so the producer took it on themselves to to dub the cat ‘Socks’ and announce on the show that it was that that had been the popular choice.

Since the story broke there has, naturally, been, much speculation on the exact nature of the original offending name, with the smart money going on ‘Pussy’.

This is a natural enough assumption to make, after it is the kind of perfectly functional, if rather literal, name that would occur to many children in that age group, for all that it lends itself to a plentiful supply of double entredres of a kind that have long been exploited unmercifully in British popular culture in everything from ‘Are You Being Served’ – in which rarely did an episode lack a reference to Mrs Slocombe’s pussy – to Ian Fleming’s ‘Goldfinger’ and the memorable scene in which a young and very attractive Honor Blackman informs Sean Connery of her character’s name; Pussy Galore.

You suspect that Fleming must have pissed him laughing for weeks for pulling that gag out of the bag.

Let’s face it, a cat named ‘Pussy’ on a show like Blue Peter, while an innocent enough proposition for its core audience, presents endless comedic possibilities for adults – there’s easily enough material in that one conceptual juxtaposition to give Julian Clary a half-hour set.

But apparently, no. It was not ‘Pussy’ that caused the problem, at least not according to the BBC:

The cat was called Socks after staff changed the results of an online poll. Viewers wanted the cat named Cookie.

And they’ve now announced that Blue Peter will be getting another kitten, one that will be called Cookie.

Does any of this make sense?

Pussy? Yeah, you can see why that would give the production staff on Blue Peter an attack of the vapours, not least because every tabloid hack in the country would be fighting over the chance to be first to crack a gag about one of the male presenters sitting on the sofa while stroking the show’s pussy.

But Cookie? Where’s the problem with that?

Is there some hitherto unheard of sexual connotation to the word cookie that’s known only to the BBC? And if so, where the fuck does that leave Sesame Street and the Cookie Monster?

This is a complete bizarre situation, not least because if Blue Peter had told its audience a little white lie in order to avoid having a ‘Pussy’ on the show, would anyone really have complained, or would have thought, ‘fair enough, we’ll give you this one’.

Somewhere in all this there’s an explanation that makes sense, but I’m fucked if I can figure it out.

  • Gregg

    The cat has grey fur on each paw and leg, making it look like it’s wearing socks. It was obviously meant to be called, “Socks”. Only a fool would call it anything other than “Socks”. The production team recognised that that was the name it was meant to have and duly named it that, rightly ignoring the whim of the mob.

  • I agree with Gregg. Cat’s already have names. It is for us to find them. Mine are called Tillie and Lacey (sp? who cares) and the previous incumbents were Bruce and Wylie. Those were their names we found them. I find the Cookie alternate hard to believe. I’m off to doing some digging in the Blue Peter garden. Oooh, sounds a bit rude.

  • Grocer’s, sorry.

  • Andy W

    Hi Unity,

    Perhaps his explains it:-

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cookie

    Or maybe cookie is just short for ‘Cooking Fat’