Why Postman Pat is the most disturbing show for children on TV.
For those of you that were deprived in your childhood, Postman Pat is a charming childrens show about a postman in a rural english village called Greendale that delivers packages and has minor and delightful adventures.
This is the opening for the original 1981 version
Hot damn that is charming and whimsical. Pat pootles around in his van with his cat and is just delightful and British. Typical episode names are ‘Postman Pat and the Crazy Crockery’ and ‘Postman Pat and the cheeky sheep’.
And this was all fine. Perfectly normal
But that was 1981. Things have changed since then.
As we return to Pats story, he has been placed in charge of the Special Delivery Service, that still operates out of the small town of Greendale and the slightly larger town of Pencaster. The Special Delivery Service, or SDS to the cool kids, is an agency tasked with delivering anything at any time. From giant ice cubes to suits of armour, Pat and his team have delivered it all. To do this he makes use of his new van, helicopter and speedboat, all controlled from a high tech mail-sorting and command centre. Imagine the adventures!
But lets stop and think about this for a second.
In the 1981 series Postman Pat was just a humble postman, delivering nothing more complicated than some letters, parcels and occasional folksy wisdom.
Now, an unspecified time later, Pat has command of a clearly high tech facility with a pretty huge budget. Lets do some maths
Command Centre — $10,000,000,US
SDS Helicopter (1 seater) — $120,000US
SDS Single Seater Plane — $75,000US (Small Cessna)
SDS Jeep — $40,000US
Postal Van — $40,000US
SDS Limosine — $100,000US
SDS Motorcycle — $20,000US
SDS Snowmobile — $10,000US
Thats a rough total of ten +and a half million dollars US. That is 8 Million pounds just to get the SDS started. And that isn't including the maintenance and running costs
Helicopter maintenance — $50000US/year (Assuming 200 hours of flight/year)
Plane Maintenance — $40,000US/year (assuming 200 hours of flight/year)
Fleet Maintenance — $10,000US/year per vehicle
And I haven’t even mentioned the other things, like power or insurance.
Does this seem kind of excessive to anyone? 10.5 million on delivering special packages to two small towns in nowhere UK? With the fiscal issues that the UK is facing from Brexit and global issues?
So how did this come to pass? Who approved this?
Lets look at Pat in more detail
Pat has some odd skills for a postman. As in very odd.
Despite what movies have shown you, it takes more than one lesson to fly a helicopter.
Training to fly a helicopter is an expensive and lengthy process. To get a private licence (non-commercial) can take up to a year. For a commercial licence, that’s 3 years. To fly an plane is a separate licence, requiring at least 1500 hours of air time and tens of thousands of dollars of training for a commercial licence. Even a motorcycle licence is a difficult process, taking 6 months to a year to get.
So how does Pat know how to do this?
In the show he is shown flying a helicopter with some serious proficiency. Time and time again, he manages to land a helicopter on a dime, or pick up a strangely shaped and weighted package with a rope without breaking a sweat. And he swaps vehicles without any kind of apparent trouble, going from a snowmobile to a motorbike with the kind of proficiency rarely seen in the general population.
Pat is also very fit. In the show he regularly runs, drives and generally engages in high levels of physical activity over extended periods of time. In the show he is shown as a bit of a clutz, but when he really needs to do something he absolutely nails it. When Pat carries a giant stack of plates (https://youtu.be/m0YO_E0c4Is?t=3m19s), he keeps them stable. With how those plates were sliding, they should be broken. This kind of behaviour, combined with his superlative vehicle skills indicate some serious dexterity at his command.
Pat has something of a mysterious past. We know his name, Pat Clifton, but nothing about where he comes from, or even his age. How does a simple postman acquire the kind of skills to head the Special delivery Service?
At one point Postman Pat was part of the UK post office, but this was dropped in 2000. After that Pat stopped using the official UK postal service logo on his van. What happened? Why would the UK post office distance themselves from this fun and whimsical guy
And why do these small villages justify the existance of the SDS? Based on the size of the towns in the video there can’t be more than 15 thousand people in the service area, if that. That is an estimated cost per person of $700US per person, not including maintenance, insurance and staffing. This is insane. For that kind of money the UK government could give each person in Greendale and Pencaster access to personal couriers for a year and still save money.
What is going on?
The Horrible Theory
Why would a government strapped for cash authorise 10 million dollars for a middle aged, oddly skilled postman?
Pat was a military black ops pilot for the UK government. And this is his retirement.
What happened between 1981 and 2008 (the birth of the SDS)? The rise of global terrorism. Imagine a man, so nice and sweet that felt he had to join into the fight against global terror. Maybe he didn't want to directly fight, but he wanted to help.
With his superior agility, commonplace looks and affable nature he would make a superior black ops pilot, able to hide in plain sight ready to pull his team of covert killers out at a moment notice.
What kind of things might a man like Pat have seen while piloting secret missions for the UK government? Assassination? Bombings? Chemical Attacks? Genocide?
What kind of government secrets rest behind those spectacles?
And what might the government pay to keep a man like this quiet?
Lets look at some facts again
- Pat is oddly skilled for a normal postman. His level of expertise in different vehicles would require a James Bond level of training
- He is far more physically able and agile than a simple postman would require
- The SDS is a massively overfunded government organisation
- The UK Post office distanced itself from Postman Pat and the SDS
Imagine a broken Pat, returning home from a terrible mission. Something happened. Something bad. Maybe someone died. Maybe he had to pull the trigger and launch some ordinance that he didn't agree with. Maybe it was the lives of civilians or the world.
Maybe he was captured by the enemy. Maybe he was tortured. Maybe a part of him is still in that cell with the car battery attached to his balls being screamed by his captors to tell them the code.
We will never know.
What do you do with a man like Pat, trained and pushed to the extremes of human endurance, that has suffered for his country. How do you keep a man like that occupied?
The opening lyrics go “Pat feels he’s a very happy man”. Pat isn’t happy. How could he be with a life like that. He is making himself feel that. Perhaps for his mental safety. Perhaps for our safety.
The special delivery service is his retirement. The constant activity and mild adventures keep him busy and don’t give him time for the voices to come back. What kind of government could refuse a man such as this a helicopter and a limousine so that he can live out his bizarre and twisted normal life fantasy, where he is needed and never needs to hurt anyone or be hurt again.
Every adventure is resolved. No-one gets hurt. It is nice, and mundane, but exciting enough to keep a man that has lived on the edge interested.
Plus, if he is happy and occupied he will never need to tell the horrible secrets he knows. I am sure the press would be interested, or even the UN. The Geneva convention is pretty specific about what an army can and cannot do.
This life also keeps his skills sharp. Just in case the government needs him again. Ready to serve, and to suffer so you can sleep soundly in your bed.
Thank you Pat. Thank you for your service. Deliver your packages.
Next time, why Fireman Sam is inherently untrustworthy.