I don’t mean to get all over dramatic about this, but it’s fair to say that my worst nightmare has come true.
When I first discovered that Nick Jr 2 (it’s a TV channel showing kids’ cartoons, catch up), had morphed into Nick Jr Peppa, I had a nagging hunch it was too good to be true.
Peppa, of course, is the anthropomorphic female pig whose five-minute long adventures are catnip for toddlers the length and breadth of the country.
Each morning, after first telling me “Not bad” in reply to me asking him how he slept (no idea where he got that from), the next utterance from my two-year-old son’s mouth is invariably the same.
“My watch bit of Peppa Pig on telly,” he says, looking me deep into the eyes and nodding slowly.
This creditworthy stab at a Jedi mind trick is often combined with a movement to place his thumb in his mouth, an action that signifies there is nothing more to discuss on this matter.
To be fair to him, if his mother wasn’t on the scene he would probably be right.
Growing up, I came to count our hulking TV, and the colourful array of characters it beamed into my living room, as some of my closest friends.
There was Jamie and his magic torch (although the actual programme never quite lived up to the theme tune, in my humble opinion), Chorlton and the Wheelies, The Flumps and, of course, Bagpuss (although I always found this a little bit sinister for some reason).
For my son – and also my daughter, although she tends to get a bit bored after three episodes – it’s Peppa Pig.
Despite being a bit too middle class for my liking (her dad’s an architect, she goes on skiing trips with school and her grandparents own a boat), I see nothing wrong with him watching this for half-an-hour or so each day.
The only trouble, as I’ve discovered to my cost, is what happens when I agree to let him watch some Peppa Pig only to discover that Peppa Pig isn’t actually on – he cries uncontrollably for approximately three days.
Nick Jr Peppa solved this problem at a stroke.
I could confidently play the benevolent dad by agreeing to his morning entreaties, letting him haul himself on to the sofa to await another instalment of the adventures of Peppa, George and their many animal friends (Pedro Pony being my personal favourite).
But now, without warning, it’s suddenly gone.
Hunkering down with him for a Peppa sesh the other day, I had to resort to some old episodes I’d luckily Sky-plused several months ago to keep him at bay.
Yet this is no long-term solution. Without a dedicated Peppa Pig channel there’s no guarantee I’ll have access to Peppa when I need her.
It leaves me with no other option but to get him into Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom as well, thus doubling my chances.