The Woodentops (TV series)
The Woodentops is a children's television series first shown on BBC Television in 1955. Created by Freda Lingstrom and Maria Bird, it featured on the Friday edition of Watch with Mother and repeated until 1973; the main characters are the members of a middle-class family living on a farm. The aim of the programme was to teach pre-school children about family life. Daddy Woodentop Mummy Woodentop Jenny Woodentop Willy Woodentop Baby Woodentop Spotty Dog The children and Willy, were twins, they spoke and did many things together. Other characters included: Mrs Scrubbitt Sam Scrubbitt Buttercup the Cow Scripts and music: Maria Bird Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson and Gordon Murray Voices: Eileen Browne, Josephina Ray, Peter Hawkins Designs: Barbara Jones 1. Introduction 2. Boats and Pigs 3. Horse4. Spotty’s Paw5. Spotty’s Sheep6. Spotty’s Joke7. Dog Washing8. Injured Bird9. Bird Set Free10. Twins’ Holiday11. Soap Box12. Baby’s Bath13. Surprises14. Show15. Party16. Buttercup17. Belling the Cow18. Hayfield19.
Horse Shoe 20. Steam Roller21. Geese22. Ducks23. Pram24. Dinner Bell25. Sacks26. Paper Hats The Woodentops was filmed in a tin shed at the BBC's Lime Grove Studios; the narrator/storyteller for all episodes, who provided the dialogue for Mummy Woodentop, was Maria Bird who, typical of BBC presenters of the time, spoke with Received Pronunciation. Daddy Woodentop, being a farmer, spoke with a noticeable West Country accent. Although set on a farm, at an unspecified location, each episode began with the whole family being introduced as they sat in front of a tall curtain on a stage. Episodes closed with the family grouped in the same pose, with the word "GOODBYE" superimposed above; the music at the beginning and end of each story is taken from the 22nd piece of the set of 25 Norwegian folk songs and dances for piano, Opus 17 by Edvard Grieg. This music, quite short in duration, is called "Kulokk", which translates to "Cattle-Call", it is divided into two sections, the first of, used for the introduction and the second part for the end of each story.
It appears as a leitmotif in the stories, hummed by Mummy Woodentop from time to time. In 1983 the original puppets were stolen from the BBC, they were spotted a year in an auction room in London and returned. The puppets are now in the Museum of London's permanent collection. In 2009 the Woodentops appeared in The Official BBC Children in Need Medley music video which reached No.1 in the UK singles chart. Daddy and Mummy Woodentop appeared in the video. More information British Film Institute article
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees, it employs over 20,950 staff in total. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time and fixed-contract staff are included; the BBC is established under a Royal Charter and operates under its Agreement with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture and Sport. Its work is funded principally by an annual television licence fee, charged to all British households and organisations using any type of equipment to receive or record live television broadcasts and iPlayer catch-up; the fee is set by the British Government, agreed by Parliament, used to fund the BBC's radio, TV, online services covering the nations and regions of the UK. Since 1 April 2014, it has funded the BBC World Service, which broadcasts in 28 languages and provides comprehensive TV, online services in Arabic and Persian.
Around a quarter of BBC revenues come from its commercial arm BBC Studios Ltd, which sells BBC programmes and services internationally and distributes the BBC's international 24-hour English-language news services BBC World News, from BBC.com, provided by BBC Global News Ltd. From its inception, through the Second World War, to the 21st century, the BBC has played a prominent role in British culture, it is known colloquially as "The Beeb", "Auntie", or a combination of both. Britain's first live public broadcast from the Marconi factory in Chelmsford took place in June 1920, it was sponsored by the Daily Mail's Lord Northcliffe and featured the famous Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba. The Melba broadcast caught the people's imagination and marked a turning point in the British public's attitude to radio. However, this public enthusiasm was not shared in official circles where such broadcasts were held to interfere with important military and civil communications. By late 1920, pressure from these quarters and uneasiness among the staff of the licensing authority, the General Post Office, was sufficient to lead to a ban on further Chelmsford broadcasts.
But by 1922, the GPO had received nearly 100 broadcast licence requests and moved to rescind its ban in the wake of a petition by 63 wireless societies with over 3,000 members. Anxious to avoid the same chaotic expansion experienced in the United States, the GPO proposed that it would issue a single broadcasting licence to a company jointly owned by a consortium of leading wireless receiver manufactures, to be known as the British Broadcasting Company Ltd. John Reith, a Scottish Calvinist, was appointed its General Manager in December 1922 a few weeks after the company made its first official broadcast; the company was to be financed by a royalty on the sale of BBC wireless receiving sets from approved domestic manufacturers. To this day, the BBC aims to follow the Reithian directive to "inform and entertain"; the financial arrangements soon proved inadequate. Set sales were disappointing as amateurs made their own receivers and listeners bought rival unlicensed sets. By mid-1923, discussions between the GPO and the BBC had become deadlocked and the Postmaster-General commissioned a review of broadcasting by the Sykes Committee.
The Committee recommended a short term reorganisation of licence fees with improved enforcement in order to address the BBC's immediate financial distress, an increased share of the licence revenue split between it and the GPO. This was to be followed by a simple 10 shillings licence fee with no royalty once the wireless manufactures protection expired; the BBC's broadcasting monopoly was made explicit for the duration of its current broadcast licence, as was the prohibition on advertising. The BBC was banned from presenting news bulletins before 19.00 and was required to source all news from external wire services. Mid-1925 found the future of broadcasting under further consideration, this time by the Crawford committee. By now, the BBC, under Reith's leadership, had forged a consensus favouring a continuation of the unified broadcasting service, but more money was still required to finance rapid expansion. Wireless manufacturers were anxious to exit the loss making consortium with Reith keen that the BBC be seen as a public service rather than a commercial enterprise.
The recommendations of the Crawford Committee were published in March the following year and were still under consideration by the GPO when the 1926 general strike broke out in May. The strike temporarily interrupted newspaper production, with restrictions on news bulletins waived, the BBC became the primary source of news for the duration of the crisis; the crisis placed the BBC in a delicate position. On one hand Reith was acutely aware that the Government might exercise its right to commandeer the BBC at any time as a mouthpiece of the Government if the BBC were to step out of line, but on the other he was anxious to maintain public trust by appearing to be acting independently; the Government was divided on how to handle the BBC but ended up trusting Reith, whose opposition to the strike mirrored the PM's own. Thus the BBC was granted sufficient leeway to pursue the Government's objectives in a manner of its own choosing; the resulting coverage of both striker and government viewpoints impressed millions of listeners who were unaware that the PM had broadcast to the nation from Reith's home, using one of Reith's sound bites inserted at the last moment
Mr Benn is a character created by David McKee who appears in several children's books, an animated television series of the same name transmitted by the BBC in 1971 and 1972. Whether in a book, or on television, Mr Benn's adventures take on a similar pattern. Mr Benn, a man wearing a black suit and bowler hat, leaves his house at 52 Festive Road and visits a fancy-dress costume shop where he is invited by the moustachioed, 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 world appropriate to his costume, where he has an adventure before the shopkeeper reappears to lead him back to the changing room, the story comes to an end. Mr Benn is left with a small souvenir of his magical adventure. Additionally, scenes before and after his adventure have some connection to it, such as the games the children are playing in the street as he passes. Several of Mr Benn's adventures are available to buy in book-form: four were published and further books in the 1990s were based on the television series.
The original four books were: Mr Benn - Red Knight, Big Game Benn, 123456789 Benn, Big Top Benn. There were six original books planned; the fifth was called Mr Benn Rides Again, the story of, used to make the television episode The Cowboy. The sixth, never completed, was Superbenn, in which the superhero Mr Benn sets out on an environmental adventure. There is one book. 123456789 Benn was published in 1970 and tells the story of Mr Benn as a convict inspiring his jail-mates to brighten up their cells. This was after the BBC – who screened the television series – felt that the story was too mature for a children's series. A new story was published in 2001, the first Mr Benn story that David McKee had written in thirty years, is called Mr Benn - Gladiator. McKee has indicated that he may write more Mr Benn stories in the future.2001 saw the publication of Mr Benn's Little Book of Life by Tess Read, which explores the lessons of Mr Benn's adventures. The only character who appears several times, apart from Mr Benn and the shopkeeper, is Smasher Lagru.
Smasher first appears as an inmate in 123456789 Benn, after his release in Big-Top Benn and the new Mr Benn, Gladiator. A'Mr Benn Annual' was published by Polystyle Publications Ltd in 1972, it was illustrated by David McKee. This contained a number of illustrated text stories, three strip-cartoon style adventures and a few puzzle pages. Mr Benn visits: China for a kite festival, a fairytale Arabia and Holland, he becomes a barrow boy in a pearly suit and meets Mr Grubbly and his animal friends in the African jungle. Tate Publishing republished all of the original books in 2010. McKee animated thirteen Mr Benn episodes for the BBC in the early 1970s; these episodes were repeated twice a year for 21 years. The episodes were narrated by Ray Brooks; the music is credited as composed by Don Warren, a pseudonym for Duncan Lamont. Although Smasher Lagru features in The Gladiator, he does not appear in The Clown as the book in which he made his debut, 123456789Benn, was not adapted for television – thus it would have been strange that he and Mr Benn knew each other.
The Hunter was slightly altered. McKee has not benefited financially to the extent he might have: "I signed a contract where I only got a one-off payment and no repeat fees, but I've done quite well from a number of other things and I'm still exhibiting paintings." According to Mr Benn's Little Book of Life little of McKee's original artwork created for the television episodes exists today, as most of it was thrown into a rubbish skip in the 1970s. After over thirty years, a brand new Mr Benn episode was screened for the first time on 1 January 2005, on the United Kingdom channel Noggin; the episode was based on McKee's 2001 book Mr Benn - Gladiator. The series was voted the sixth most popular children's television programme in the 2001 Channel 4 poll 100 Greatest Kids' TV shows, it was rated number 13 in the 50 Greatest Kids TV Shows which aired on Channel 5 on 8 November 2013. The first six episodes of Mr. Benn were broadcast Thursday afternoons on BBC1 at 1:30pm from 25 February to 1 April 1971.
When the final seven episodes aired Friday afternoons on BBC1 at 1:30pm from 21 January to 31 March 1972 the first six were shown again but in a different order. Four of the episodes were billed with alternate titles in Radio Times; the one-off special episode based on the final Mr. Benn book called "Gladiator" was broadcast on The Noggin Channel in 2005. In 1999, it was reported that a feature film was in development and that director Jevon O'Neill's production company, had purchased the film rights to Mr Benn from David McKee; the film was to star John Hannah as Ben Kingsley as the Shopkeeper. However, the film was cancelled in 2001 and, as of 2017, the project remains dormant. In an interview with the BBC in May 2014, McKee stated that, on a film version: "I'd like to see that happen, because Mr Benn's a big boy and he can live his own life. I think he's right for being developed on the big screen". Mr Benn lives in London at 52 Festive Road, inspired by Festing Road in Putney where David McKee used to live.
McKee had the house "next door" at 54 Festing
Andy Pandy is a British children's television series that premiered on BBC TV in summer 1950. Live, a series of 13 filmed programmes was shown in 1970, when a new series was made. A reboot of the show was made in 2001; the show was the basis for a comic strip of the same name in the children's magazines Robin and Pippin. The original version of Andy Pandy premiered on BBC TV in 1950, on either 11 July or 20 June, as part of the For the Children strand narrated by Maria Bird; the programmes were transmitted live, but it was realised that if the programmes were filmed, they could be repeated. Twenty-six episodes of fifteen minutes duration were filmed on 16mm, were produced around 1952. In 1970, thirteen new episodes were made in colour with Vera McKechnie as narrator. In one episode Andy Pandy sees how high he can go on a swing, an episode featured in the 1987 compilation by BBC Video. Under the umbrella title Watch With Mother as well as the Andy Pandy episodes, there were The Woodentops,'Bill and Ben', all having a similar format-filmed marionettes, there was an animated drawn character called'Busy Lizzy' incorporated into the Picture book series.
All the filmed black and white 1950s original transmissions were narrated by Maria Bird, to become a co-producer, with Freda Lingstrom, who worked for the BBC. Bird was a prolific writer of books for the young, notably Andy Pandy, but it was for her distinct BBC English" enunciation that she is best remembered. A marionette who lived in a picnic basket, Andy was joined by Teddy, a teddy bear, Looby Loo, a rag doll, who would appear/come to life when Andy and Teddy weren't around. Looby Loo had her own special song "Here we go Looby Loo". All three lived in the same picnic basket; each episode ended with a variation on the song: "Time to go home, Time to go home, Andy is waving goodbye."It is claimed that the design for the character was based on Paul Atterbury, the young son of puppeteer Audrey Atterbury. A comic-strip version was published in Robin; the production staff for the original series were: Producer: Freda Lingstrom. Narrator: Maria Bird Writer/composer: Freda Lingstrom and Maria Bird.
Singers: Gladys Whitred, Julia Williams Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Molly Gibson, Martin Grainger. The 26 episodes were: By 1970, as BBC1 was by transmitted in colour, 13 new episodes were produced and shown from 5 January 1970; the 13 episodes of the 1970 series are: Another set of 52 episodes was made in 2001, using the stop-motion technique instead of string puppeteering. The original nursery and garden were expanded to an entire village, with Andy and Looby Loo now owning individual houses, four new characters were introduced into the series: Missy Hissy; the new series was narrated by actor Tom Conti. While the emphasis of the original series was on music and movement, the emphasis of the 2001 series was on making and doing. Listed are the episodes in each series, along with their songs: British Film Institute Screen Online IMDB
Clangers is a British stop-motion children's television series, comprising short films about a race of shrew-like creatures who live on, inside, a small moon-like planet. They speak only in a whistled language, eat only green soup and blue string pudding; the programmes were broadcast on BBC1 between 1969 and 1972, followed by a special episode, broadcast in 1974. The series was made by Smallfilms, the company set up by Peter Firmin. Firmin designed the characters, his wife knitted and "dressed" them; the music part of the story, was provided by Vernon Elliott. A third series, narrated by Monty Python actor Michael Palin, was broadcast in the UK from 15 June 2015 on the BBC's CBeebies TV channel, gaining hugely successful viewing figures, following on from a short special broadcast by the BBC earlier that year; the new programmes are still made using stop-motion animation. Clangers won a BAFTA in the Best Pre-School Animation category in 2015; the Clangers originated in a series of children's books developed from another Smallfilms production, Noggin the Nog.
Publishers Kay and Ward created a series of books based on the Noggin the Nog television episodes, subsequently expanded into a series called Noggin First Reader, aimed at teaching children to read. In one of these, called Noggin and the Moonmouse, published in 1967, a new horse-trough was put up in the middle of the town in the North-Lands. A spacecraft hurtled down and splash-landed in it: the top unscrewed, out came a largish, mouse-like creature in a duffel coat, who wanted fuel for his spaceship, he showed Nooka and the children that what he needed was vinegar and soap-flakes, so they filled up the fueltank of the little spherical ship, which "took off in a dreadful cloud smelling of vinegar and soap-flakes, covering the town with bubbles". In 1969, the BBC asked Smallfilms to produce a new series for colour television, but without specifying a storyline. Postgate concluded. Postgate adapted the Moonmouse from the 1967 story, by removing its tail. Hence the Clangers looked similar to mice.
They wore clothes reminiscent of Roman armour, "against the space debris that kept falling onto the planet, lost from other places, such as television sets and bits of an Iron Chicken". And they spoke in whistled language; the Clangers was described by Postgate as a family in space. They were small creatures living in peace and harmony on – and inside – a small, hollow planet, far away: nourished by Blue String Pudding, by Green Soup harvested from the planet's volcanic soup wells by the Soup Dragon; the word "Clanger" is said to derive from the sound made by opening the metal cover of one of the creatures' crater-like burrows, each of, covered with an old metal dustbin lid, to protect against meteorite impacts. In each episode there would be some problem to solve concerning something invented or discovered, or some new visitor to meet. Music Trees, with note-shaped fruit, grew on the planet's surface, music would be an integral feature in the simple but amusing plots. In the Fishing episode, one of the Cheese Trees provided a cylindrical five-line staff for notes taken from the Music Trees.
Postgate provided the narration, for the most part in a soft, melodic voice and accounting for the curious antics of the little blue planet's knitted pink inhabitants, providing a "translation", as it were, for much of their whistled dialogue. Postgate claimed that in reality when the Clangers' were whistling, they were "swearing their little heads off"; the first of the 26 episodes was broadcast on BBC1 from 16 November 1969. The last edition of the second series was transmitted on 10 November 1972. However, there was one final programme, a four-minute election special entitled Vote for Froglet, broadcast on 10 October 1974, not shown in the usual timeslot during children's programmes. Oliver Postgate said in a 2005 interview that he wasn't sure whether the 1974 special still existed, it has been referred to as a "missing episode". In fact the whole episode is available from the British Film Institute; the original Mother Clanger puppet was stolen in 1972. Today, the second Mother Clanger are on display at the Rupert Bear Museum.
The Clangers grew in size between the first and last episodes, to allow Firmin to use an Action Man model figure in the episode "The Rock Collector". In October 2013, the BBC's CBeebies channel announced that a new series would be produced for broadcasting in their 2015 schedules, with Michael Palin narrating in place of the late Oliver Postgate; the American pre-school channel Sprout added the series to their 2015 schedule, with William Shatner narrating. In November 2015, The Clangers won the Best Pre-school Animation award at the BAFTAs; the principal characters are the Clangers themselves, the females wearing waistcoats and the males brass armour: Granny Clanger: an elderly Clanger, she is fond of knitting and falls asleep. She wears a black tabard in the original show, but a lilac one in the new version, it
Tales of the Riverbank
Tales of the Riverbank, the latest series for Channel 4'Further Tales of the Riverbank' sometimes called Hammy Hamster and Once Upon a Hamster for the Canadian version, was a British children's television show developed from a Canadian pilot. The original series was broadcast on Canadian and U. S. television, dubbed by Canadian and American actors for the markets they were to be broadcast in. The pilot was created by David Ellison and Paul Sutherland, CBC film editors, in 1959. After completing the pilot programme, CBC turned down the production and so Dave Ellison travelled to the BBC in London to show it; the BBC commissioned thirteen episodes, but extended this later. A second series was made in colour in the 1970s, narrated by Johnny Morris; the show aired on the Animal Planet during the late 1990s and early 2000s. A remake was produced by YTV and Channel 4 in 1995 which ran for three years, a feature-length film was made in 2008 using puppets rather than live animals; the programme had human voices in sync with the actions of the live animals, to give the impression that the creatures were performing activities.
They lived in a place called "The Riverbank" and operated various artefacts including toy sailboats, a diving bell. Various techniques were used to persuade the animals to do what was required, including smearing jam on the objects they were to handle; the voices were selected to reflect the personalities of the animals. Each episode ended with the narrator alluding to an event involving the characters, but refusing to elaborate, saying "But, another story." The original black and white Tales of the Riverbank series was first shown by the BBC on 3 July 1960 at 4:50 pm. It was narrated by Paul Sutherland, but the BBC did not want Canadian accents and so for the BBC showings, all the voices were provided by Johnny Morris; the series was sold to 34 countries around the world. After the original thirteen episodes, 39 further episodes were made in white; the majority were written by Charles Fullman, Paul Sutherland and Cliff Braggins. The episodes of Tales of the Riverbank purchased by the BBC were adapted by staff writer Peggy Miller.
Much of the filming was done on location at Wootton Creek on the Isle of Wight. A series with 26 episodes was filmed in colour in the 1970s, retitled Hammy Hamster launched in 1972; the BBC had introduced a policy of not using human voices for live animals and so this series was shown in the UK by ITV. In Australia the show aired on ABC TV through the'70s as Adventures on the River Bank; the last series'FURTHER TALES of the RIVERBANK' made from 1991 to 1992, was produced for WTTV and Channel 4. It is ranked 79th in the UK Channel 4's 2001 poll of the 100 Greatest Kids' TV shows. In the United States, Once Upon A Hamster was broadcast in a late-night slot, which helped the programme transcend its intended audience and develop a cult status among American viewers; the late Dave Ellison launched his own website to update information about Hammy Hamster and his friends. He was involved with optimising the TV series, last shown on Channel 4, for release on DVD. All 26 episodes are now available on three DVD's published by Hammytime Productions UK who continue to make the series available for future generations to enjoy.
Three children's books were published by Scholastic Publications Ltd in 1993 based on the series and illustrated by Pauline Hazelwood. In the series the list of characters was expanded from the original first three listed below. A feature-length film titled Tales of the Riverbank, was released in September 2008 directly to DVD, it used a mix of puppets, live action, special effects. Directed by John Henderson, produced by Handmade Pictures and starring Stephen Fry as Owl, Ardal O'Hanlon as Hammy, Steve Coogan as Roderick and Jim Broadbent as G. P. the story follows three friends who live in a riverbank. After being swept away from their homes by a storm, they embark on an adventure to find their home and save it from the danger of the Fat Cats' factory; the series was filmed at Cothy Butts near Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight. At the end of filming in 1973, the animals were released into the wild at this site; the rats and cavies died not long after release, but the Mongolian Gerbils survived for at least three years, the colony reaching c. 100 individuals by this time.
A publicity image by David Ellison of Hammy - an image showing Hammy holding a clapperboard, now the trade mark property of Hammytime Productions UK, reprinted on page 69 of True North: Everything You Wanted to Know About Canadian Television by Peter Kenter made an unexpected appearance on a January 2009 news broadcast regarding the disappearance of a young girl named Molly Bish. During a report regarding the arrest of a potential suspect eight years after the girl's disappearance, an error resulted in an image of a hamster - the clapperboard publicity image of Hammy Hamster - being shown instead of a photo of the suspect. Anthropomorphism Tales of the Riverbank on IMDb Andante in C by Giuliani The Official website of Dave Ellison and Hammy Hamster
Bagpuss is a British children's television series, made by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate through their company Smallfilms. The series of 13 episodes was first broadcast from 12 February 1974 to 7 May 1974; the title character was "a saggy, old cloth cat, a bit loose at the seams". Although only 13 episodes were made, it remains fondly remembered, was repeated in the UK for 13 years. In 1999 Bagpuss topped a BBC poll for the UK's favourite children's TV programme; each programme began in the same way: through a series of sepia photographs, the viewer is told of a little girl named Emily, who owned a shop. Emily found lost and broken things and displayed them in the window, so their owners could come and collect them, she would leave the object in front of her favourite stuffed toy, the large, saggy and white striped cat named Bagpuss intended by Firmin to be a retired Indian Army cat who entertained children in the hospital with his "visible" thoughts appearing in a "thinks bubble" above his head.
When Postgate and Firmin were asked to develop this character for a BBC programme Postgate placed him in the shop with other characters and his "thinks bubble" became a way to illustrate the stories and mend or explore the objects that Emily had found. Emily recited a verse: Bagpuss, dear BagpussOld Fat Furry CatpussWake up and look at this thing that I bringWake up, be bright, be golden and lightBagpuss, oh hear what I sing When Emily had left, Bagpuss woke up; the programme shifted from sepia to colour stop motion film, various toys in the shop came to life: Gabriel the toad and a rag doll called Madeleine. The wooden woodpecker bookend became the drily academic Professor Yaffle, while the mice carved on the side of the "mouse organ" woke up and scurried around, singing in high-pitched voices. Sandra Kerr and John Faulkner provided the voices of Madeleine and Gabriel and put together and performed all the folk songs. All the other voices were provided by Postgate, who wrote the stories; the toys discussed.
There was much banter between the characters, with the pompous Yaffle finding fault with the playful mice: his complaint,'Those mice are never serious!' became his main catchphrase. However, peace was always restored by the end of the episode thanks to the timely intervention of Bagpuss, Gabriel or Madeleine; the newly mended thing was placed in the shop window, so that whoever had lost it would see it as they went past, could come in and claim it. Bagpuss would start yawning again, as he fell asleep the narrator would speak as the colour faded to sepia and they all became toys again, and so their work was done. Bagpuss gave a big yawn and settled down to sleepAnd, of course, when Bagpuss goes to sleep,All his friends go to sleep too; the mice were ornaments on the mouse organ. Gabriel and Madeleine were just dolls, and Professor Yaffle was a wooden bookend in the shape of a woodpecker. Bagpuss himself, once he was asleep, was just an old, saggy cloth cat,Baggy, a bit loose at the seams,But Emily loved him.
The scene is set at the turn of the 20th century, with Emily Firmin playing the part of the Victorian child Emily. The first antique village vignette is a cropped image of Horrabridge taken in 1898, though nothing is known of the other photo of the children with the pram; the shop window was at the Firmin family home in Blean. The episodes were broadcast at 1:45pm on BBC1; the titles of the episodes each refer in some way to the object. The programmes were made using stop-frame animation. Bagpuss was not intended to be such an electric pink. "It should have been a ginger marmalade cat but the company in Folkestone dyeing the material made a mistake and it turned out pink and cream. It was the best thing that happened," said Firmin. Madeleine the rag doll was made by Firmin's wife, with an extra long dress to hold their children's nightdresses, but Postgate asked Joan to make a new version as one of the characters. Gabriel the Toad was the only character in the series who could move without the use of stop-frame animation.
Scenes featuring him playing the banjo and singing would have taken quite a bit of time if filmed with the stop-frame method, so Peter Firmin created a mechanism that helped him control Gabriel through a hole in his can. The character was based on a real toad that lived in the basement area of the flat that Peter and Joan Firmin rented in Twickenham beside the River Thames. Peter first made Gabriel for his live ITV programme "The Musical Box". Oliver chose him as one of the characters in Bagpuss and Peter made a new larger version. Professor Yaffle was created as the Bookend who had access to "facts"; the BBC did not like Peter's first character, a man in top hat made from black Irish bog oak called "Professor Bogwood". They asked for a non-human instead. Bagpuss is now