Blog : Posts tagged with 'childrens tv'


So long, Jones The Steam

In which I remember a great animator

Ah, it’s a sad day. Oliver Postgate, one of the most creative writers to work in children’s telly, has died, at the age of 83.

Postgate is a prime example of something people don’t always realise: restriction is, curiously enough, one of the most important sources of creativity. Starting off on a low budget, Postgate, with Peter Firmin, founded Smallfilms, a two-man band which produced some of the most imaginative… why am I telling you this, though? You probably already know all this. It’s not as if Smallfilms’ productions have ever been forgotten. Bagpuss; The Clangers; Noggin The Nog; Ivor The Engine; even though only the very latest were actually part of my childhood, I feel as if they were.* Back onto the point: with pieces of card and a watercolour set, you can create something just as imaginative – more so – as something a 3D animator can come up with sitting at a desk with a copy of 3D Studio Max. You can achieve something wonderful, however little equipment you have to hand.

* The only Smallfilms production I’m old enough to have seen at first transmission was the frankly rather disturbing Tottie. I know I watched repeats of Ivor The Engine, but I can’t remember watching them. I do, however, bear some resemblance to Jones The Steam.

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Last Resort

In which we can’t remember the name of something

We’re stuck.

Twenty years or so ago, there was a series on the telly. It was on ITV, and was probably made by Yorkshire. It was written by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall – they who did Billy Liar, and the TV adaptation of Worzel Gummidge – and it was about Lilliputians living in Victorian England – two men and one woman. There were books based on the same characters, too, and somewhere in the house I have copies still. They were hidden by children – I remember one scene from the telly where the children’s father took up photography, and one from the book where he got his hands on an experimental vacuum cleaner.

But we’ve completely forgotten what it was called. And the internet is being no help at all – Waterhouse and Hall are just too prolific, and the books of the series don’t seem to be listed anywhere. Does anyone have an idea?

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