“Miss Frances” chides teletubbies

Television pioneer Frances Horwich, who launched the Ding Dong School as one of network television’s first children’s series in 1952 and was known to a generation of kid viewers in the ’50s as “Miss Frances,” has sharply criticized public television’s hit show Teletubbies, one of Britain’s most profitable TV exports. In an interview with Chicago Sun-Times’ columnist Robert Feder, the 93-year-old Horwich, who was head of the education department at Roosevelt College in Chicago when she hosted Ding Dong School, said that she particularly objected to the baby-talk used by the characters because it “defies every piece of research that shows what children like and need. Many mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers have called me and said that their 4- and 5- and 6-year-old children have reverted to baby talk and have become so immature. I know people have committed crimes of many varieties. But this is also a crime.”