Parents Complain About One-Armed CBeebies Presenter

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Cerrie Burnell
Cerrie Burnell
TheBabyWebsite were absolutely horrified to learn that the new disabled CBeebies presenter has been the victim of a worrying and disturbing campaign by parents.

The parents have complained that she was scaring their toddlers and have claimed that the host Cerrie Burnell - who was born with one arm - is not suitable to appear on the children's channel.

There has been a flurry of complaints, about the BBC's decision to employ her, to the BBC and on some parenting message boards, with some of the posts on the CBeebies website becoming so vicious that they had to be removed.

Unbelievably, one father actually said he wanted to ban his daughter from watching the channel because he was worried it would give her nightmares. Others claimed that they were forced to discuss difficult issues with their young children before they were ready.

One woman posted that .... 'I didn't want to let my children watch the filler bits on The Bedtime Hour last night because I know it would have played on my eldest daughter's mind and possibly caused sleep problems. And yes, this is a serious post.'

Some parents have even accused the BBC of hiring the talented 29 year old presenter, because of 'political correctness' and solely to meet employment quotas.

A BBC spokesman said that they had received nine formal complaints about Miss Burnell. But she also insisted that the new presenter had also received messages of support and that many parents were keen to have a range of people on screen.

Miss Burnell herself has a four-month-old daughter and has hit back at her critics, branding them 'small minded' and their remarks 'terrible'.

Admitting she was upset by all the comments, she added: 'It can only be a good thing that parents are using me as a chance to talk about disability with their children. It just goes to show how important it is to have positive disabled role models on CBeebies and television in general.'

Sue Stotes, from the charity Reach, said they were appalled by the negative reaction. "We are appalled that parents are talking on behalf of their children. .... Children don't notice the differences. The parents need to think about how they would feel if it were their child born without an arm. It is great for children with disabilities to see people like them on the television."

Michael Carrington, controller of CBeebies, said: 'Cerrie is warm and natural and we think that in time all mums and dads and children will love her as much as we do.'

Cerrie studied drama in Manchester and won plaudits for her theatre work before landing small roles in EastEnders, The Bill and Grange Hill. She also works as a teaching assistant at a special needs school in London.

2009

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