Tag Archives: Noggin the Nog

Lost Episodes Of Ivor The Engine Found In Pig Shed

THEY WERE the shows that delighted a generation of children. Now, priceless, long-lost episodes of Ivor the Engine and other animations by the late Oliver Postgate are once again set to entertain – after being found in a pig shed.

Described as a “treasure trove” from the “golden era” of children’s TV, the find includes 26 episodes of Ivor, featuring the adventures of the little green locomotive from the “top left-hand corner of Wales”.

The 10-minute black and white animations – described as the “real Ivors” by experts – were discovered among a pile of 40 rusty film reels in the disused pig shed of artist and animator Peter Firmin.

Firmin, 82, had kept them and other sixties’ show created by Postgate on his farm in Blean, Kent, where they had gathered dust for over 40 years.

Former business partner Postgate, who died in 2008, aged 83, had handed him the the unique 16mm recordings in the assumption that the crude stop motion animations had “had their day”.

TV historians, however, have hailed the haul as an “important” recovery which will “shed new light” on the early output of revered production company Smallfilms.

Founded by Postgate and Firmin in 1958, Smallfilms went on to make some of the most-cherished British children’s programmes ever to grace the small screen including Clangers, Noggin the Nog and Bagpuss, once voted the nation’s favourite children’s show in a BBC poll.

Along with the newly-found episodes of Ivor the Engine, dating from between 1962 and 1964, a number of Postgate’s lesser-known programmes such as 1960’s The Seal of Neptune and The Mermaid’s Pearls, from 1962, have also come to light.

The missing shows were identified by members of Midlands-based TV research organisation Kaleidoscope, who had been called in by Postgate’s son Daniel after he decided to have a clear out of his late father’s archives.

There are now plans to have the shows digitally restored and re-released.

Speaking from his home in, Daniel Postgate said: “Dad never discussed the whereabouts of his early films with me so it was a complete surprise, and joy, to find them.

“These are major finds – genuinely missing episodes from a much-loved children’s TV show.

“They haven’t been seen in over 40 years and will tell us a lot about Dad’s early work and how he developed Ivor as a series. That was difficult before because so little was thought to exist.

“Although Dad later remade the shows again in colour, I suspect these earlier outings will in due course come to be seen as the ‘real’ Ivors.”

Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope said: “This is an exciting discovery of early work by one of Britain’s most fondly-remembered animators.

“Creations such as Ivor the Engine, Clangers and Bagpuss have gone down as classic children’s shows from a golden era of television.

“We found so many previously lost Smallfilms productions that they filled an estate car.”

The Postgate find is one of many included on Kaleidoscope’s annual Raiders of the Lost Archive list, revealed last Saturday, October 23,  at BAFTA in London.

Other major recoveries made by Kaleidoscope, the British Film Institute, BBC and individual TV historians this year include episodes of The Benny Hill Show, The Rolf Harris Show, and Monty Python precursor At Last the 1948 Show, as well as more than 60 star-studded BBC and ITV dramas found in the Library of Congress, in Washington DC, America, back in August.



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Are You Free For Next Kaleidoscope Event?

THERE’S less than a week to go until the next Kaleidoscope event, featuring none other than Are You Being Served? actor Trevor Bannister on the guest list.

Taking place Saturday, September 4th, 12:00 – 7:00 pm, in Stourbridge, West Midlands, the hotly anticipated event will also feature a rare screening of the recently recolourised pilot of the entendre-laden sitcom and a special presentation on the exciting discoveries Kaleidoscope has made while cataloging and restoring the archive of much-loved animator Oliver Postgate, who died last year.

Wiped will be bringing you a special news feature on the Postgate archive shortly, but in the meantime read on to see what’s in store for attendees this Saturday.


* 12:00 pm The opening of BBC2 was delayed and went ahead a day late. On the night news bulletins from Alexandra Palace explained why BBC2 was not on air (TX: 20/04/1964 and 21/04/1964).

* 1:00 pm White Horses – episode 1 with English subtitles. Opening of the much-loved series from 1965, co-produced by RTV Ljubljana. Stallion Boris is stolen by gypsies who dye his white coat brown so that no one will recognise him. Shown many times with English dialogue in the UK from 1968, the dubbed soundtrack has since been lost. These subtitles have been added by a dedicated collector of the series who has spent years finding the best prints available and adding the subtitles.

* 1:30 pm A Tribute to Norman Tozer introduced by Maurice Kanareck. Kaleidoscope remembers a good friend, former ATV continuity announcer Norman Tozer, who sadly passed away in July 2010. This special presentation is introduced by Maurice Kanareck, a former Presentation Director for both the BBC and ATV.

* 1:45 pm Break

* 2:00 pm Guest Panel – Trevor Bannister. Kaleidoscope welcomes the versatile actor best known for playing Mr Lucas in Are You Being Served? and for roles in Last of the Summer Wine, The Dustbinmen and many serious dramas including The War of Darkie Pilbeam, Z Cars, Catch Hand, Coronation Street and Armchair Theatre. Trevor Bannister will be looking back at his long career with clips of his most famous roles as well as other appearances including Coronation Street, Softly Softly, The Troubleshooters, Object Z and Steptoe and Son.

* 3:30 pm Break

* 4:00 pm Smallfilms – Rediscovered Treasures. During 2010, Kaleidoscope has been working with the estate of Oliver Postgate to catalogue and restore the Smallfilms archive. We are pleased to present their early works The Mermaid’s Pearls, Ivor the Engine and The Dogwatch, all recovered from Oliver Postgate’s personal collection of film cans, plus the rarely seen “election episode” of Clangers, “Vote for Froglet” and an extract from Blue Peter about the 1970s Noggin the Nog stage play.

* 4:45 pm Shades of Greene – “The Overnight Bag”. Tim Brooke-Taylor stars in an adaptation of Graham Greene’s short story scripted by Clive Exton (Thames Television, 1976). A new book from Kaleidoscope on The Goodies will be available in late 2010. Written by Andrew Pixley, it will also include details of other roles undertaken by the trio such as this one.

* 5:00 pm Call Earnshaw – Trevor Bannister stars in this pilot for an unmade series produced by Yorkshire Television for Channel 4 (TX: 17/12/1984).

* 5:30 pm Little Big Time – The sole surviving episode of this zany Southern Television series starring Freddie Garrity and Pete Birrell from Freddie and the Dreamers and also featuring Talfryn Thomas. Sourced from a Philips 1500 tape, the recording also features original continuity (TX: 07/08/1974).

* 6:10 pm The Liberace Show – The flamboyant entertainer stars in his own ATV show, also featuring Jack Benny and Rolf Harris (TX: 15/06/1969).

* 7:00 pm Closedown – the final broadcast of Associated-Rediffusion, audio soundtrack only set to a photographic still.


* 12:00 pm The War of Darkie Pilbeam – “Phase Three: August 1945”. Trevor Bannister takes the role of the eponymous spiv in this Granada production from 1968 written by Coronation Street creator Tony Warren (TX: 26/07/1968, converted from 405 line videotape).

* 1:00 pm Villains – “A Joker For Your Buttonhole”. An episode scripted by John Lucarotti featuring an excellent cast including Trevor Bannister, Glynn Edwards, Bernard Kay and Christopher Benjamin (TX: 19/02/1965, converted from 405 line videotape).

* 2:00 pm Atlantic Showboat – Brought to the screen by its host Hughie Green, this show features an outstanding cast of some of the foremost stars of the day including Duke Ellington, George Formby, Lionel Blair and Shirley Bassey (TX: 10/01/1959).

* 3:00 pm Are You Being Served? colourised pilot – The experimental Colour Recovery process has resulted in some outstanding restorations of material only surviving in black and white back into its original colour. Relive the pilot of this much-loved sitcom, starring today’s guest Trevor Bannister in his best known role.

* 3:30 pm Break

* 4:00 pm The Wednesday Thriller – “The Imposter”. Catherine Lacey, Margaret Tyzack and Trevor Bannister are among the cast in this BBC thriller produced by Bernard Hepton, before he began working in front of the cameras (TX: 01/09/1965).

* 5:00 pm Television Theatre from Wales – “Zombie”. An early BBC production from Wales, this play stars William Dexter and Trevor Bannister (TX: 22/07/1968, converted from 405 line videotape).

* 5:30 pm Summer Playhouse – “Travelling Light”. Based on a book by Leonard Kingston, Trevor Bannister stars in this Granada production also featuring Morag Hood, Martin Shaw and Patsy Smart (TX: 11/09/1967, converted from 405 line videotape).

* 6:50 pm Closedown

All material at Kaleidoscope events is screened with the permission of the copyright holders.

Programmes and timings may be subject to change before the day.

Guests appear subject to professional and personal commitments.

  • Kaleidoscope’s September event is being held at the Function Suite, The Talbot Hotel, High Street, Stourbridge, West Midlands DY8 1DW, on Saturday, September 4, 2010. Admission is FREE and money raised on the day will be in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

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