First off, apologies for the week delay in getting a post out to you all. It’s been a busy time over the last month both with the studio and being in the process of buying a house, so the stress just piles on! Hopefully back to it now with this little treat and and introduction to some new posts.
It’s about time we ventured into the world of some of Ivor Wood’s, dare I say, lesser known works. In the late 1960’s, and as The Herbs first series was coming to an end, Graham Clutterbuck at FilmFair bought to Ivor’s attention a little set of stories called The Hattytown Tales. Written by Keith Chatfield they were originally stories meant for his children but one of his friends noticed how good they were and an bigger idea was born.
The surreal world in which The Hattytown Tales is set, is a world made up of anthropomorphic hats (and a Donkey) led by a Mexican hat called Sancho. The characters are each made of hats that correspond to their personalities and jobs. For example Mr Bun the Baker is a chefs hat and also lives in, you’ve guessed it, a chef’s hat!
This was Ivor’s third production and we can clearly see influences from his previous shows, in particular The Magic Roundabout. The sets (as you’ll see above) are very simple, using a white floor, blue sky and very stylised trees. Those three characteristics jump out immediately in relation to The Magic Roundabout and one can only guess that the budget was slightly more constrained compared to The Herbs with it’s elaborate set pieces. The show regardless of this is a true testament to Ivor’s ingenuity and design. The characters feel rich and playful and full of heart. After all it couldn’t have been easy creating characters from hats.
Ivor went on to animate the first series solo before Film Fair hopped over the channel to set up in London. On his arrival Ivor looked to a young animator by the name of Rory Fellowes to take over the duty of animating The Hattytown Tales. It was Rory’s first real animation job and one that he learned a lot from, both practically and from Ivor. Amazingly we have a photographs of Ivor animating Hattytown in the lates 60s (above). It’s very small but it shows clearly Ivor’s great concentration and attention to detail as he adds a little movement to Carrots the Donkeys’ leg before a photograph is recorded.
I am lucky enough to have had interviews with both Keith Chatfield and Rory Fellowes that I’ll be bringing you over the coming weeks. They are both thoroughly interesting people and give a real insight into Ivor’s process and the work that was done on The Hattytown Tales, so stay tuned!