Television animations to stir childhood memories

Please note, this is an archive article, originally published in January 2014. The featured items may no longer be available.

Royal Mail’s first stamp issue of 2014, Classic Children’s TV, will celebrate much-loved animated characters drawn from more than 60 years of British television.

The release of 12 free-form self-adhesive stamps on January 7 roughly coincides with the 10th anniversary of Peppa Pig, the 40th anniversary of Bagpuss and the 50th anniversary of The Magic Roundabout. Designed by the Interabang agency, the set was printed by International Security Printers (Walsall) in gravure.

1st class ANDY PANDY
Devised by Freda Lingstrom and Maria Bird, this programme was first screened live in 1950 and became central to the Watch With Mother schedule from 1953. Narrator Vera McKechnie addressed string puppets Andy Pandy, Teddy and Looby Loo directly, and encouraged young viewers to sing and dance along with them.

1st class IVOR THE ENGINE
Developed by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, these were the tales of small steam train working on a sleepy line in ‘the top left-hand corner of Wales’. Narrated by Postgate, they were accompanied by music by a bassoonist, Vernon Elliott. Some 32 episodes were made by ITV from 1959-64, and a further 40 by the BBC from 1975.

1st class THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT
The Anglo-French animation team of Serge Danot and Ivor Wood had created an innovative stop-motion series called Le Manège Enchanté in 1964. The BBC asked Eric Thompson to dub it into English and write new stories around the existing visuals. Between 1965 and 1977, no fewer than 441 five-minute episodes were created, starring Dougal the dog.

1st class CAMBERWICK GREEN
Created by Gordon Murray and narrated by Brian Cant, this was a series of BBC animations about the ordinary folk of a rural village. A different character was central to each episode, one of the most popular being the windmill owner Windy Miller. Thirteen 15-minute episodes were filmed in colour in 1966, and sequels were spawned in the form of Trumpton and Chigley.

1st class MR BENN
Author and illustrator David McKee created this character first in book form, before the BBC television series of 13 episodes followed in 1971-72. Each story saw him visit a fancy-dress shop where the shopkeeper would appear ‘as if by magic’. On leaving the changing room in his chosen costume, Mr Benn would then enter a fantasy world for a 15-minute adventure.

1st class THE WOMBLES
Created by Elisabeth Beresford for a series of novels in 1968, these were furry, conical-faced creatures who lived in a burrow under Wimbledon Common, collecting and recycling rubbish under the guidance of Great Uncle Bulgaria. The first of 60 episodes was aired by the BBC in 1973, directed by Ivor Wood and narrated by Bernard Cribbins.

1st class BAGPUSS
Another creation of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin for the BBC, this ‘saggy old cloth cat’ first appeared in 1974. In a lost and found shop, he and the other toys cameto life when a girl called Emily brought in items for repair, weaving songs and stories around them. Bagpuss would then yawn contentedly and settle back down to sleep.

1st class PADDINGTON BEAR
The well-mannered marmalade-loving bear from ‘darkest Peru’ was created by Michael Bond for a series of books started in 1958, and brought to life on television by the BBC from 1975. Directed by Ivor Wood and narrated by Michael Hordern, the series used an unusual mixture of two-dimensional and three-dimensional animation.

1st class POSTMAN PAT
Ivor Wood collaborated with writer John Cunliffe to bring this character to the BBC in 1981. As he delivered the mail in rural Greendale, the local postie and his cat, Jess, would always become distracted by the problems of one of the locals. Pat became an unofficial mascot for Royal Mail until 2000, when it discontinued permission for the company logo to be used on his van.

1st class BOB THE BUILDER
Can he fix it? Yes, he can! This brainchild of Keith Chapman, who made his debut in 1998 and has now starred in 118 episodes, is a man with a can-do attitude and the ability to take on any project. Voiced by Neil Morrissey, he is ably assisted by his business partner Wendy and their crew of working vehicles, Scoop, Muck, Dizzy, Roley and Lofty.

1st class PEPPA PIG
Created by Neville Astley and Mark Baker, this cheeky little piglet lives with Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and her little brother George, and loves playing games, days out and, most of all, jumping in muddy puddles. First aired on Channel 5, the series has now extended to more than 200 episodes.

1st class SHAUN THE SHEEP
After first appearing in Nick Park’s Oscar winning 1995 short film A Close Shave, alongside Wallace and Gromit, this character graduated his own television series, first aired in the UK on CBBC in 2007. Shaun is a sheep who doesn’t follow the flock; in fact, he leads them into all sorts of scrapes, turning peace into mayhem at Mossybottom Farm.

OTHER PRODUCTS
Written by television critic Graham Kibble- White, the presentation pack reviews a ‘golden age’ of children’s television.

For more great content subscribe to Stamp Magazine today