Sterling Times

Sterling TV - 1

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NEW! Here is a link to the Robinson Crusoe site presenting some wonderful memories.

"Torchy, Torchy, the Little Battery Boy". Here are some photographs of Torchy.

Muffin the Mule first trotted on to our screens in 1946, having been bought by puppeteer Ann Hogarth for 15s 0d from a travelling showman. Muffin clumped around on top of the grand piano played by Annette Mills, sister of Sir John Mills, as his strings were pulled from behind a screen. He made his debut in For the Children before being given his own show. Muffin’s last TV appearance with Annette Mills came in 1955 just days before she died.

Here Comes Muffin, Muffin the Mule with Annette Mills from "Muffin and the Squeaking Shoes". You can see some photographs on my Muffin the Mule Homepage.

From Watch With Mother: Monday Picture Book. Sausage Dog appeared in Picture Book, presented by Patricia Driscoll and later by Vera McKechnie. The kaleidoscope image at the front of the 1950s programme provided the inspiration for the introduction of Jackanory, years later. The pages of the book were turned to reveal various items for example, a way of making lanterns. Another page introduced Bizzy Lizzy, a wispy haired girl with a magic wishing flower on her dress. Before the last page was turned, Sausage, a marionette dachshund would appear meaning it was time to put the book away.

Tuesday Andy Pandy. Andy Pandy & Teddy1954 was the year that children's television came of age. It saw the birth of Watch With Mother, the brainchild of the legendary Freda Lingstrom, who became Head of Childrenís Television at the BBC. The first star was Andy Pandy (left). He was a chubby faced toddler who lived in a picnic basket. He first appeared solo and then was joined by the moth-eaten Teddy and later a rag doll called Looby Loo. Only 26 original episodes were made, they were seen time and time again, and in 1970, 13 new episodes were made in colour.

Wednesday Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men and Andy Pandy. And here is a picture of the front cover of the Watch With Mother video. In 1952 The Flowerpot Men were added to Watch With Mother. The identical puppets, Bill and Ben were made out of flowerpots, their hands made out of large gardening gloves, and feet of hobnailed boots. With their 'flibadobs' and 'flobadobs' as their way of communicating, they lived in two giant flowerpots at the bottom of the garden, behind the potting shed. They would secretly pop their head over the parapet that was the flowerpot when the gardener went home for a bit of lunch. Keeping counsel was their neighbour Little Weed, who alerted them to any danger. Filming originally took place in a tin shed in the Lime Grove studio complex, later moving to a purpose built puppet studio in TV Centre.

Read a Bill and Ben story here.

"Flobadob the sequel"

Thursday Rag, Tag and Bobtail. NEW! I have a nice colour picture of Rad, Tag and bobtail here.

Friday Woodentops. The WoodentopsThe Woodentops arrived in 1955. While Daddy Woodentop busy doing 'men’s work', Mummy Woodentop was busy in the kitchen with assistance from Mrs Scrubbit. The Woodentop children were twins Jenny and Willy and baby Woodentop who resided in the arms of Mummy Woodentop. The family was complete with Sam the gardener and a rascal of a hound called Spotty Dog, 'the biggest spotty dog you ever did see', famed for his strange bark and mechanical movements.

This is the children's television programme Trumpton with Windy Miller, PC McGary 452, and "Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub".

Here is an exert from Chigley. This is one for members of the Frederick Winslow Taylor Fan Club of Scientic Management. The Chigley factory is run by the stop watch - no unions here I think. And when work is done at 6 PM, the whistle blows and the workers at the Chigley biscuit factory take part in communal dancing at the Chigley bandstand.

The stories based around Trumptonshire started in 1966 with Camberwick Green, a small village near the town of Trumpton. Each episode opened and ended with a musical box, from which one of the villagers would appear. That particular episode would then follow the adventures of that particular character. Well known characters were Dr Mopp, Mickey Murphy the baker and Windy Miller.

The following year, the Trumpton fire brigade answered their first 999 call. The start of each programme began with the Trumpton clock, 'telling the time for Trumpton'. Trumpton was probably best known for the roll call of the Trumpton fire brigade inspection; ‘Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble & Grubb’ (above right). In the afternoons, the firemen would play in the bandstand at Trumpton Park. There were no fires in the afternoons, but then there were no fires in the morning either!

Be sure to visit my Nostalgia Overflow Page for more television links and nostalgia.

NEW! British Radio and Television Theme Tunes

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