The Wombles is a British children’s television series that was broadcast in both 1973 and 1996. Based on books by Elisabeth Beresford, these pointy-noised creatures from Wimbledon Common got into adventures while singing songs and teaching kids about the environment. It was a mixture of stop-motion animation and people in costumes. If there were a UK version of Sid and Marty Kroft’s Banana Splits, this would be the closest thing to it (minus all the psychedelics). Seriously, watch the video above of the original theme song.
Since 2015, series creator Mike Batt has tried to get a CGI reboot of the program onto the air. In a report from the Guardian, it sounds like Batt is much closer to making the show a reality with the addition of a new cast member.
Ray Winstone (Beowulf, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) has signed on to voice Tobermory. He joins original cast member Benard Cribbens as Great Uncle Bulgaria. Cribbens did the voices for all the Wombles characters during the original runs of the series.
While speaking at the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield, Batt spoke about the difference between children’s programming today and in the past. While he admits that shows need able to hold kid’s attention at a faster speed, there is still a role for slower paced shows, ““I believe you can hold the attention of the child – I don’t just believe it, I know it – with laughter, quality, and music. Because children really, really know about quality.”
Even though the program has yet to find a permanent home, the addition of Winstone will add a little fuel to the fire.
So what do you think? Will you check out the Wombles reboot if it’s available where you are? Do you think they were there to cheer Serena Willams on to her 22nd Grand Slam? Let me know on Twitter or sound off in the comments below.
Images: BBC2, Lucasfilm