It's been a trying year for us all, but it's been even more of a hardship for the parents of small children who simply cannot stand another second of Peppa Pig.
Kids' animations often get a bad rap for being either a) dull b) repetitious or c) slightly brainless – and no one wants to see their little darlings numbed by empty-headed cartoons.
If you're going to plonk them in front of Netflix (no judgement here, by the way), at least make it one of these five gems that won't drive you around the bend.
How much do we love Duggee? Put it this way – the campaign to install him as the rightful successor to Miggledy starts here. This Cbeebies show about a dog who is a Scout Leader (Duggee) teaching his young charges (The Squirrels, who are a rhino, a crocodile, an octopus, a mouse and a hippo) various skills is colourful, sharp, quirky and hands down, the funniest kids' cartoon on TV right now. It's also socially aware in a beautifully un-self-concious way (see: Mr & Mr. Crab) and has some of the best in-jokes, accents (Chew Chew the Panda) and tongue-in-cheek characters (Tino the Artistic Mouse) ever committed to animation. We must have put in thousands of hours in front of Duggee at this point, and we're still not sick of it. Trust us, that's saying something.
CHICO BON BON: MONKEY WITH A TOOLBELT
He's a little monkey with a lot of personality – and the capacity for solving problems with the help of his pals Tiny, Clark and Rainbow Thunder (who's a little cat with a lot of attitude, by the way). This sweet little animation – made right here in Ireland by Dublin's Brown Bag Films – is a great example of a kids' show that's both educational and fun; every episode, Chico learns how to tackle a new dilemma using the STEM concepts (i.e. science, technology, engineering and maths.) Not only that, but you're guaranteed to have the irritatingly catchy theme tune bouncing around your skull all day. Chico, Chico, Chico Bon Bon...
You can't beat a classic. The fact that Clangers was revived in 2015, decades after Oliver Postgate's creation first entertained a generation of kids in the early 1970s, says it all: the stop-motion series about a family of small creatures that look like knitted mice and live on a moon-like planet is still suitable for kids, 40 years on. The soporific quality of this gorgeous, slow-paced animation (not to mention Michael Palin's narration) makes it a bedtime favourite, while its distinct style is a refreshing change from the digital animation that dominates the industry these days.
Any animation that gives animals amusing human names is always going to be okay with us – and there's a pet pig called Jimmy Jones in this Australian-made animation. He's the porcine pal of Monty Kazoops, a 6-year-old boy with a big imagination – which is what Kazoops! is all about. Monty learns some important life lessons in each episode, using his imagination to work things out and see things from a different angle as he embarks on an adventure with Jimmy Jones. If you or your kid is a Pixar fan, the animation style of this show will be a hit.
It's hard to believe that the first episode of SpongeBob aired in 1999. 21 years ago. Twenty-one years. Since then, the animation about the annoyingly cheerful talking sponge and the residents of Bikini Bottom has gone on to become one of the biggest cartoons of all time, spawning several movies and even a Broadway musical (FYI we've seen it and yes, it's brilliant.) If you've ever seen an episode – and who hasn't – you'll be aware that this the sort of kids' animation that adults don't mind watching. It's witty, entertaining and occasionally very wacky; what more could you want?