In Pictures – The Herbs

Created believe it or not on the kitchen table at Ivor and Josiane Wood’s flat in Paris, The Herbs was a huge success and took Ivor Wood’s design and animation sensibilities to an even greater audience. This week I thought I’d share with you all some great pictures sent over from a friend of Josiane’s. They show some great moments from the The Herbs first series.

The Herbs - Parsley the Lion

The Herbs – Parsley the Lion

The Herbs - Lady Rosemary, Sir Basil, Constable Knapweed, Belladonna

The Herbs – Lady Rosemary, Sir Basil, Constable Knapweed, Belladonna

The Herbs was the first programme that Ivor worked on post Magic Roundabout and the first programme  that he produced with Graham Clutterbuck at FilmFair. Graham was approached by the BBC to animate a show written by the now esteemed Michael Bond. They wanted a feel much like the Magic Roundabout and who else for the creator role but Ivor. Michael Bond came up with the idea after he was asked to write a childrens show for the BBC. He’d had the idea of herbs coming to life after leafing through a herb book at home. From the get go he knew what he wanted to do and set about creating all the characters we now all fondly remember, Parsely the Lion, Sage the Owl, Dill the Dog, Sir Basil and Lady Rosemary. Not to forget the rather more colourful character of Tarragon the Dragon.

The Herbs - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Sir Basil,  Dill and Bayleaf

The Herbs – Parsley, Sage, Lady Rosemary, Sir Basil, Dill and Bayleaf

This is also a great opportunity to share with you the a great blog written by huge Herbs fan Jay. He’s collated a mind of information and images that really get into the heart of the creation of The Herbs and all the avenues it went down as it grew in popularity and nostalgia. Check it out, it’s must for any Ivor Wood or Herbs fan.

http://theherbs.homestead.com

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Postman Pat on the record

Sadly daily work has taken hold for the past few weeks so the big post on the making of The Wombles from my interview with Barry Leith will have to wait for a few more weeks. However I did have success on the world’s favourite biding site, Ebay, and found this little treasure.

Postman Pat record 1982

Postman Pat record 1982 (front)

Postman Pat record 1982 (back)

Postman Pat record 1982 (back)

Released in 1982 it features all the music from Postman Pat and features such memorable tunes as the self titled ‘Postman Pat’, ‘Jess the Cat’ and my personal favourite ‘Handyman Song’. If you cast your mind back you may remember Ted Glen singing this as he went about fixing the old water pump in Greendale. As well as this there is ‘Miss Rebecca Hubbard’s’ song which unusually gives us her first name, something that is rarely used in the show compared to the majority of the other characters who  are always referred to with both their first and second names.

Postman Pat record 1982

Postman Pat record 1982

All the songs were written and performed by composer Brian Daly and as well as giving us all these homely tunes Brian also contributed to songs in both Gran and Bertha. Ken Barrie sung all of Brians creations  and furthermore provided voices for Ted Glen, Granny Dryden, Peter Fogg, Major Forbes, George Lancaster, Geoff Pringle, Alf Thompson, Reverend Timms, Arthur Selby, and Sam Waldron, overall a very talented individual. He also stayed with Woodland Animations to record the Charlie Chalk them tune written by Mike Redway.

One hidden gem on this record has to be the personal thanks to Ivor Wood on the reverse of the jacket. As well as thanks to the collective Woodland Animations there is a named thanks to the man who bought life to our favourite postman.

Postman Pat record 1982

Postman Pat record 1982

Review – Ivor Wood: An Animated Celebration at Bristol Festival of Puppetry 2015

Last Saturday (29th August 2015) saw the first retrospective of Ivor Wood’s work outside of his lifetime at the Bristol Festival of Puppetry. It was a celebration of Ivor’s work throughout his defining career and after talking about it last week here, we now delve into how fitting a tribute it was.

Ivor Wood: An Animated Celebration tickets

Ivor Wood: An Animated Celebration tickets

Curator of the festival and the Ivor Wood retrospective Joseph Wallace  opened up the screening with a short introduction reminding us of Ivor Wood’s career. It was a touching reminder to those in the audience at just how much of an influential and inspiring figure he was. From there on in we were thrust into a world of colourful characters and often surreal circumstances. In particular Postman Pat’s Windy Day took the prize for most laughs, depicting one of Pat’s more surreal days in Greendale. It was shared moments like this that made me realise how timeless these shows really are. As well as Pat we were treated to episodes from The Herbs, The Wombles, Paddington Bear, Gran, Bertha and Charlie Chalk. The audience was made up of young and old and as each episode was played there were constant exclamations of joy and laughter as memories of their childhood flooded back or new audiences awakened to these timeless creations.

Bristol

Bristol

It was great to see in attendance Ivor’s widow Josiane and his son Sean who remarked emotionally at the end that it had truly been a trip down memory lane. Not just within the content that was on screen but the moments they all shared in each shows creation. The retrospective received glowing reviews and a deserved round of applause, not just to the curation of such a fitting tribute but to a man who truly shaped and mesmerised multiple generations of children and adults alike.

Stay tuned next week for look at how The Wombles first came to be with animator Barry Leith.