Sunday, 13 September 2015

The Wombles

In 1968 Elisabeth Beresford created the first of what became some 20 books (6 of them novels) about small, furry, burrowing creatures that lived under London's Wimbledon Common called Wombles.  From the outset the books were a huge success that tapped very much into the emerging countercultural zeitgeist of simple, rural living and green issues.  The books have since been translated into various languages and continue to sell to this day.

Without wishing to take anything away from the books this enduring success can be, in no small part, attributed to The Wombles step away from the page and on to the screen with the 1973 BBC TV series. 
Elisabeth Beresford

This new series was written by Beresford and directed by Anglo-French animator Ivor Wood who had previously worked on 'The Magic Roundabout' (with Serge Danot) and 'The Herbs' and who would go on to make 'Paddington' and 'Postman Pat'.

Ivor Wood
Responsibility for the theme tune was given to the then virtually unknown songwriter Mike Batt who obtained the rights to musical exploitation of the characters and later went on to be entirely to blame for 'Bright Eyes'.

Providing the voices for the Wombles was British TV legend Bernard Cribbins.  In the video below he talks about the show.

Two series, each consisting of thirty 5 minute episodes, of  'The Wombles' were produced in 1973 and 1975 and all 6 can be viewed in the two playlists below.

They are beautifully made, utterly charming, slightly mischievous and gloriously daft.


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