My first memory of children’s programming on IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) goes back to the early 1980s when I myself was a little girl. During the Iran-Iraq war years that lasted almost a decade we, “the children of wartime” as they would come to call us, were discovering the world around us in a country where serious matters of life and death, revolution and war, and other aspects of socio-political turmoil had surrounded the innocent world of our childhoods.
I used to watch the children’s program that was broadcast one hour a day, from 5 to 6 pm. The program was a collage of animation, educational shows, puppet shows, and other types of entertainment arranged for kids in an Islamic country. It included a moderator, a friendly lady who used to announce the order of shows and appear between breaks to chat with us, the little spectators.The last ten minutes of the programing block was dedicated to pencil and crayon drawings submitted by the viewers to the state television.
After the end of the war, the 1990s witnessed a flourishing of all sorts of cultural and economical fields across the country. Eight years of war and destruction were subsequently followed by eight years of rebuilding, restoration, and development. The tense ideological atmosphere present in war-time cinema, television, radio, and publishing industries slowly gave way to various forms of media geared towards fun and entertainment. Children now enjoyed two or three hours of morning and afternoon programming on two state channels. And it was then that “Kolah Ghermezi” (Redhat), the most famous puppet show in Iran, had its television debut and started to attract children of all ages.