Son of The Wombles creator talks about expanding global heritage on 50th anniversary

The son of the writer who created The Wombles says the characters are only seen through “the lens of Wimbledon Common,” but could be lurking around the world as the TV show celebrates its golden anniversary.

His children’s show has advocated positive behavior towards the environment since it first aired on the BBC in February 1973, as it is about a family of mysterious scavengers. honey lives beneath Wimbledon Common.

Favorite hairy characters such as wise old Uncle Bulgaria, inventor Tobermory and sleeping Orinoco, were the brainchild of Elisabeth Beresford, who published her first Wombles story in 1968.

Veteran actor Bernard Cribbins, who died at the age of 93 last July, narrated the original Wombles TV series that ran until 1975, espousing the motto of “making good use of waste” of the creatures.

Marcus Robertson, son of Beresford, has reflected on the five decades since much-loved environmental pioneers debuted on TV screens.

He told the PA news agency: “I think for her, the fact that she’s just relying on all her family members and it’s still happening and it’s still relevant, she’s going to like that. .

“When I watched it, the way Bernard Cribins voiced it, mom told him how we all interact so Great Uncle Bulgaria is based on my grandfather, and the way he talks to Orinoco is like that too. my grandfather talked to me and it was just a great thing because I could literally turn on the TV or go on YouTube and there was my family. It’s awesome and she’ll love it.

“It’s great because she’s obviously been dead for 12 years, but I’ve never felt that way because I often see her talk somewhere on YouTube. So she never really disappeared.”

The Wombles had four top 10 hits during their television career with the help of musician Mike Batt, including their first hit in 1974 with Wombling Song.

Ivor Wood designed The Wombles for television, in keeping with the growing awareness of environmental issues – and he went on to create other children’s shows, including the popular Postman Pat. .

However, Mr Robertson said that his mother’s original novel depicts The Wombles as being “all over the world”, which is not reflected in the TV series.


The Wombles created by Elisabeth Beresford are adorable, litter-conscious creatures that live in Wimbledon Common (PNR/PA)

Characters include the Loch Ness Monster, the matriarch of the Water Wombles, and the Yeti, the Snow Wombles, who look after the mountainous environment.

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He told PA: “You can see how Wombles can become much more global in terms of the impact they have because you can write Wombles stories in any country.

“Those things can be great to bring into future things when we’re not constrained by the 70s stop-frame graphics or animations. You can do amazing things.

“Now, Wombles everywhere in the world are involved. Before, it was really only seen through the prism of Wimbledon Common and now it can be seen through the prism of the whole world quite easily.”

In 2021, The Wombles is the UK government’s mascot at Cop26 and supports the #OneStepGreener campaign, which includes collaborating with Sir Paul McCartney on a project to encourage people to eat less meat for the good. of the environment.

Mr Robertson told PA: “It’s great for us to be in Cop26 as a mascot but at the same time returning to The Wombles around the world, there’s no reason we shouldn’t have a mascot at every Cop. .”

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, 10 of the original 5-minute episodes of The Wombles have been remastered and upscaled to high definition and will be uploaded to YouTube on Sunday.

The remaining 50 episodes will be released throughout the year.

The Wombles, who were brought out of hibernation and given a CGI makeover in 2020 to spread a positive message of local environmentalism, also announced a year-long partnership with Age UK.

They will encourage the public to use the charity’s street stores as local recycling hubs and will host a series of events around the country. Son of The Wombles creator talks about expanding global heritage on 50th anniversary

Fry Electronics Team

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