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Fireman Sam creator says he doesn't see a 'stereotype problem' after London Fire Brigade controversy

Roisin O'Connor
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Fireman Sam creator says he doesn't see a 'stereotype problem' after London Fire Brigade controversy

Fireman Sam creator says he doesn't see a 'stereotype problem' after London Fire Brigade controversy

The creator of Fireman Sam has responded to the controversy surrounding the children's show after a claim that it puts women off joining the service.

David Jones, himself an ex-firefighter, who created the popular programme set in the fictional Welsh town Pontypandy and began working on the idea for Fireman Sam (Sam Tan in Welsh) in the late Eighties after hearing Mike Young talking about his cartoon project Super Ted.

The show was first broadcast in November 1987 on Welsh TV channel S4C, and is now shown in more than 155 countries around the world.

Senior fire officer Alex Johnson told the Daily Telegraph earlier this week that "most of the job is nothing like it is portrayed" in the show. The London Fire Brigade also recently criticised an episode of Peppa Pig that began with the narrator saying: "Mummy pig is dressed as a fireman."

"Come on, we've not been fireman for 30 years," the official Fire Brigade Twitter account wrote. "You have a huge influence on kids [and] using out of date stereotypical gender-specific wording prevents young girls from becoming firefighters."

London has more than 5,000 firefighters, only 354 of whom are female. But Piers Morgan was among those fuming at what he deemed "political correctness" by the London Fire Brigade, commenting: "Why don't you go and put out fires."

Mr Jones said his show "wasn't meant to be advertised as a recruiting post... it is for children," he told the BBC.

"Someone doesn't join the fire service when they watch Fireman Sam. They wouldn't be the right people for the job if that was their mentality."

He maintained that he would change nothing about the show and said that in his 14 years as a firefighter, rushing into burning buildings was "part of the job".

"A fireman is someone who runs into the fire or towards danger when other people run away," he said. "There has been no harm done from Fireman Sam, it has only done good and I am very proud to have created it."