Bagpuss and Friends
Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin both came to live near Canterbury and began collaborating in 1958. The first of their Smallfilms productions was Ivor the Engine. Cutout drawings were moved and filmed frame-by-frame using a 16mm camera and all the Smallfilms animations were made using simply stop-frame technology. Oliver Postgate wrote the stories, produced the films and animated the characters, which were made by Peter Firmin and his wife Joan.
Both Postgate and Firmin came up with ideas for stories. These included Noggin the Nog, The Pingwings, Pogles Wood, The Clangers and Bagpuss, the series voted ‘The Best Children’s TV Programme Ever’. Many of the programmes were filmed in Firmin’s barn in Blean, just outside Canterbury.
Peter Firmin has generously loaned many of the original film props for long-term display at Canterbury Heritage Museum. These include:
- The real, original Bagpuss, with lots of the real objects Emily found, displayed in a recreation of Emily’s shop window
- Hand-drawn and cut original animations for Ivor the Engine, who worked on a railway in the top right-hand corner of Wales
- Hand-drawn animations and a 3D flying boat for some of the films about the Viking called Noggin, Prince of the Nogs
- Several of the real Clangers, made by Peter and his wife Joan, who knitted pink wool bodies to go over skeletons of Meccano, which had ball and pivot joints for easy movement of limbs during film animation
- The Pogles family: Mr and Mrs Pogle, a boy called Pippin and his animal friend Tog, filmed in Blean Woods.
Noggin the Nog sailing to meet Nooka. © Canterbury Museums and Galleries collection