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.
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.
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.