Published on January 7th, 2014 | by admin
Children’s Television – Which Was Your Favourite Programme?
Some of the best-loved Classic Children’s TV characters from a bygone era are on the verge of making a very welcome comeback.
And 12 favourites covering every decade of Children’s Television since the 1950’s have been rewarded with a well-deserved first class honour – their very own set of stamps. These being: Andy Pandy; Ivor the Engine; Dougal from the Magic Roundabout; Windy Miller from Camberwick Green; Mr Benn; Great Uncle Bulgaria from the Wombles; Paddington Bear; Bagpuss; Postman Pat; Bob the Builder; Peppa Pig; and Shaun the Sheep from the Wallace and Gromit series.
So why the interest now you might ask in bringing these cherished household TV personalities back to our screens? Hard to believe though it is, 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Peppa Pig, the 40th anniversary of Bagpuss and the 50th anniversary of the Magic Roundabout.
As well as these milestones for three of these TV characters, 2014 also sees two more of Britain’s best loved TV shows making a spectacular comeback this year – to the Big Screen! Postman Pat and Paddington Bear are both highly anticipated films set to grace cinemas nationwide this year. And what’s more 2015 will see a return to television for The Wombles.
Taking a fond look back at each of these Children’s TV favourites, we’ve delved into the archives to understand how each of these characters originated and why they each become extremely popular in their own right, starting with the earliest TV classics which fascinated children and their parents alike.
Andy Pandy first appeared on our screens in 1950. The much adored clown puppet featured in 26 black and white episodes which were repeated continuously until 1970 in light of their popularity when 13 new episodes were transmitted in colour. Beyond the initial espisodes of the show, Andy Pandy was joined by two friends – Teddy and Looby Lou. Created by Freda Lingstrom, the long standing popularity of the show saw a further 52 episodes made in 2002.
The 1950’s also saw the creation of Ivor the Engine a small steam train working on a remote line in the “top left-hand corner of Wales” which first appeared on our TV screens in 1959. Filmed using stop motion techniques and animation using cardboard cut-outs painted with watercolours, the original series comprised six episodes and told the story of Ivor getting his pipes and joining the choir. The endearing fascination with the adventures of this small green locomotive saw further episodes shown in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
The Magic Roundabout created by Serge Danot is fondly remembered for the fairground carousel in a brightly coloured park featuring Dougal, a drop-eared variety of the Skye Terrier. 441 episodes of The Magic Roundabout, each five minutes long, were aired between 1965 and 1977 as the French TV creation grew a loyal audience over more than ten years. Further re-makes followed in 1992, as well as The Magic Roundabout film in 2005.
The 1960’s are fondly remembered for the arrival of Camberwick Green featuring Windy Miller and his famous windmill. Written by Gordon Murray, 13 fifteen-minute colour episodes each began with a shot of a musical box which rotated whilst playing a tune accompanied by the narration ‘Here is a box, a musical box, wound up and ready to play. But this box can hide a secret inside. Can you guess what is in it today?’ Set in the ficticious village of Camberwick Green in Trumptonshire, Camberwick Green, it is remembered for depicting ordinary people doing everyday things.
1971 saw the emergence of Mr Benn, the quintessential English gentlemen wearing a distinctive black suit and bowler hat. On each of his adventures which spanned 14 episodes, Mr Benn leaves his house at 52 Festive Road and visits a fancy-dress costume shop where he is invited by the fez-wearing shopkeeper to try on a particular outfit. He leaves the shop through a magic door at the back of the changing room and enters a new world appropriate to his costume, where he embarks on an adventure.
The 1970’s are also remembered for The Wombles which were created by Elisabeth Beresford. The distinctive pointy-nosed furry creatures lived in burrows with the focus on their existence being on Wimbledon Common. Complemented by ‘The Wombling’ song written by Mike Batt, sixty episodes were aired over two series in 1973 and 1975 featuring a number of Wombles led by their leader, Great Uncle Bulgaria alongside Tobermory, Orinoco, Bungo and more besides.