Commissioners rejected the US-made programme on the basis that it was ‘thinly-veiled religious propaganda.’ The ‘independent’ production company Old Mother Hubbard Productions who made the series have hit back, pointing out that CBBC currently screens the show Rastamouse, which they claim encourages children to embrace Rastafarianism, and Teletubbies, which ‘might be something to do with the Church of England’. They have now launched a multi-million pound legal fight against the BBC to force them to broadcast it in a prime slot.
The multi-million dollar animation features the ‘loveable rodent’ – voiced by Tom Cruise – as he persuades his fellow farmyard creatures to fill out a lengthy personality questionnaire and part with substantial sums of money. ScientologyGerbil is aided on his weekly adventures by trusty sidekick Litigant the Llama, as he battles his evil foes Quack Medicine the psychiatrist duck and Gnawsqueek the corrupt journalist hamster.
The makers claim that the show is entirely non-religious, offering young people the positive message that you can ‘make a bad t’ing good, with copious bouts of biofeedback-based therapy.’
This is not the first time the Church has attempted to break into the children’s market. The martial arts-based feature length animation Past Life Panda flopped, as did the high budget remake Snow White and the Seven Thetans.
A spokesperson for CBBC, Martin Daltrey of 9 Acacia Avenue, Acton, London W3 8GN, responded by saying that ‘Old Mother Hubbard Productions can shove their so-called animation up their big bloated uptight litigious Californian rectums where even the most adventurous gerbil wouldn’t venture … er, this is off the record isn’t it?’
19th June 2012