Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Small Films, Great Memories

The death was announced on Sunday of Peter Firmin. Maybe the name does not mean anything- but Peter, and his good friend Oliver Postgate, ran a production company called Smallfilms, started in 1958. They specialised in children's TV programmes, using characters made of card, paper, fabric, or knitting - which they animated using the traditional stop-motion techniques popular before the advent of computer wizardry and CGI.
They worked for 30 years from a tiny Kentish farm just up the road from Bob's childhood home.  Here they wove their magic to make such treasures as Noggin the Nog, Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine, The Clangers, Pogles Wood - and that wonderful character Basil Brush.  Peter's daughter Emily was featured in Bagpuss [the cat should have been marmalade coloured, but the fur dyers made a mistake and so we ended up with a pink puss] his wife Joan hand-knitted the Clangers puppets...

In 2014, Peter was given a well-deserved BAFTA lifetime award for his work in children's TV - and he was still working on the updated Clangers show in 2015. It is ten years since Oliver Postgate died. But what a fabulously productive friendship - so much joy given to so many children and their families.  Thankyou Peter and Oliver. Here's a lovely little clip...

I loved so much of the Smallfilms output- but I think I have always had a particular fondness for Noggin The Nog. Noggin is one of the few Norse characters to grace a Royal Mail postage stamp. In 1994 he was pictured, alongside the Ice Dragon reading a letter from Nogbad the Bad ["I promise to be Good"] Maybe this explains my penchant for Scandidrama now I am an adult [And I'm sorry that "The Bridge" has finished now...]
What about you? Basil or Bagpuss? Clangers or Pogles? Trains or Vikings?


  1. I always thought Pogles Wood was a figment of my imagination, You Tube has proved otherwise

  2. Loved Ivor and Noggin, don't remember Pogles at all maybe that was later. A friend went to school with Peter Firmins daughter so must have been local to the same area as Bob

  3. Ooh, I loved the Clangers and especially the soup dragon. And I can remeember communicating with my friends Clanger style.

  4. Bagpus has got to be my all time favourite followed closely by the Pogles with Little Pogle. I loved their accent, no idea where it's from.

  5. Definitely the Clangers! I'm still tempted to speak their 'language' from time to time!

  6. Oh, what a good man! I'm very glad for all he did. Basil and Bagpuss are the two for me!

  7. Pogles Wood and Noggin the Nog for me, and I have such happy memories of watching Basil Brush on Saturdays; my dad loved him.


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