Meet The Herbs Puppets

The wait is finally over, here is some VERY exciting news that I’ve been waiting to tell you about for a loooong time. A while ago I was put in touch with Michael Bond’s daughter Karen in the prospect of learning more about Paddington and Michael’s work with Ivor. A call led to her telling me that she had just received a lot of old promo material for Paddington from their copyrighters as they were having a huge clear-out. She explained that there were a few boxes that she thought contained all the puppets from Ivor’s The Herbs series. No sooner had she said this, we’d arranged to meet up and delve into those boxes.

So myself and fellow researcher Joseph Wallace headed into London and below is what we found…

The Herbs puppets - Created by Ivor Wood

The Herbs puppets – Created by Ivor Wood – Parsley, Sage, Dill, Lady Rosemary, Sir Basil, Tarragon, The Onion Family

The Herbs puppets - Created by Ivor Wood

Parsley the Lion and Dill the Dog. Original Herbs puppets created by Ivor Wood.

I think you’ll agree it was an amazing discovery and totally unexpected. The majority of the puppets were there: Sir Basil, Parsley the Lion, Dill the Dog, Sage the Owl, Tarragon Dragon, Lady Rosemary and the gaggle of little Chives. They all seemed in fine condition bearing in mind their age and it was so great to see Ivor’s craftsmen-ship had served to stand the test of time.

Each puppet was lovingly wrapped up in tissue paper and having no prior knowledge as to who we were going to unwrap next it was like Christmas day. As you’ll see each puppet was still able to hold it’s own weight and the majority of their joints were still supple and easy to move. Sir basil was missing his iconic monocle and Parsley’s mane was looking a tad deflated but overall pleasing to see they were all in one piece and being looked after.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be delving into look at the puppets a bit more and have some close up photos of how the puppets were constructed and theories on when they were last used and comparisons to how they looked back in the day.

But thats not all!.ย 

At Manchester Animation Festival on 16th November you’ll be able to actually meet the puppets themselves. We are getting special permission to take them up to Manchester and let you all take a real life look at them. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity as they have never ever been publicly shown before so get yourself a pass if you can and come meet The Herbs. Myself, Joseph and Ivor’s wife Josiane will also be there to answer all your questions too. You can get tickets and read more about the event here:

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 10.18.01

18 thoughts on “Meet The Herbs Puppets

  1. Dawn says:

    OMG!!! Iโ€™ve just gone totally fan girl mad! Which is slightly embarrassing for a 49 year old woman. Iโ€™m TOTALLY there!!! At last, my ambition is about to come try. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•


  2. Tony Clark says:

    The Parsley and Dill puppets were refurbished by MacKinnon and Saunders in 1998 for the BBC promo ‘Future Generations’ which was/is available to view on the Herbs homestead web site.
    They stripped Parsley of the tattered remains of his mane and took a mould of the head. So that head is a copy of the original. They may have done the same with Dill, but his body fur was certainly new back then.


    • Tom Sanders says:

      Thanks for this great info Tony. I know they were re-done for the Simon Mayo/digital release as the puppets photographed are the same as the ones on the DVD cover of the DVD release. We’ll have to discuss this in more depth to get everything right. I’m going to start comparing old and new photos of them in the coming weeks to try and dig a little deeper.


  3. Dawn says:

    I thought that was the case because Parsley and co featured in another video a while before the BBC promo and Parsleyโ€™s main looked bleached and tatty back then. So when I saw your photos I worked out that heโ€™d been to the hairdressers since. Question: do I have to buy the full season tickets to view the puppets? Iโ€™m prepared to, but want to ensure Iโ€™m booking the right thing.


    • Tom Sanders says:

      I thought this would be music to your ears Dawn! Glad you’re excited and it’d be great to see you at MAF. If you buy a ticket for the Ivor Wood talk at 10am then you’ll be able to come see the puppets after as that bit is free I think, although not too sure. I’ll check for you.


  4. Kevin says:

    Ohmigosh, they look stunning – so colouful and in such good condition. Please please please make arrangements for them to be displayed somewhere in London so I can see them in the “flesh” (Manchester’s a bit out of my range). The Museum Of Childhood in Bethnal Green did a great Smallfilms exhibition last year, and this would be a lovely companion. As you probably know, The Museum Of London displayed puppets and props from the TV series when the first Paddington film was released (and where I met Michael Bond’s daughter Karen). And The BFI on the South Bank have small, free to enter, temporary exhibitions on their second floor. Just a few (very hopeful) suggestions ๐Ÿ˜€


    • Tom Sanders says:

      Hi Arabella. So glad you have such fond memories of The Herbs! Amazing that you helped type up the scripts for the original series. Were you working from Michael Bonds instruction and was this at FilmFair or the BBC?


  5. P M Banks says:

    Wow. My daughter adores the Herbs as do I, if you ever display these again we would love an opportunity to see them. What a wonderful gift!


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