I couldn’t resist it any longer, Charlie Chalk is by far my favourite of all Ivor Wood’s creations and one that entertained me all throughout my childhood despite only having graced our screens for 13 episodes.
Created by Ivor’s own studio Woodland Animations, Charlie Chalk was to be the last original show he was to produce. The only other production that Ivor was to be significantly involved with before selling the studio was the second series of Postman Pat. Charlie Chalk still remains Ivor’s only programme that he himself devised, designed, directed and produced from scratch. The rest were either co-created (Magic Roundabout) or adapted from existing stories. Whilst script written by Jocelyn Stevenson, all the characters, concepts and style were from his own eccentric mind and it was truly a culmination of a life’s work boiled down in to something truly special.
Whilst digging around in Ivor and Josiane’s loft we came across this short pamphlet produced by HIT Entertainment to tell the world of Charlie Chalks arrival. It describes in loving detail what the programme was all about and how, most importantly Charlie arrived on this surreal island full of slightly absurd and curious characters. From the loveable but clumsy Arnold to the bossy and leader of Merrytwit, Captain Mildred, there is constant surprise around every corner.
Whilst all of Ivor’s creations feature a touch of the surreal, even Postman Pat has his moments, Charlie Chalk truly takes things to another level. In talking to both Ivor’s widow Josiane and their son Sean it is commonly agreed that Charlie Chalk was Ivor’s true character coming through and his own personal favourite. He was to most quite a gentle and relaxed man but as Sean goes onto explain it was at home that he really came to life. Sean remembers as a child once being really embarrassed as Ivor took him by the hand and began to skip down the high street. It seems he was forever waiting to let his eccentricity out and finally in Charlie Chalk he found a vessel to overflow.
As previously mentioned the show only went on for 13 episodes but was repeated on the BBC a few times after it’s original release. All the episodes are now on DVD so from whatever generation you are, and however eccentric you wish to be, Charlie Chalk will always be around to add that extra magic.
We have some goodies from the Charlie Chalk archive to show you all so stay tuned for further posts on this happy go-lucky clown.