Oliver Postgate, Peter Firmin and The Pogles (NFT) On September 30th 2001, an event was organised at the 'National Film Theatre' (in London) by The Dragons Friendly Society. This event was organised to bring together the creators to talk about a programme they made that had only been shown once on Television 30 years ago - 'The Pogles'. Don't get The Pogles mixed up with Pogles Wood, this was a different programme (but it did use the same characters), so read on and find out what happened at the event.   Before the Event Before the Event started, Merchandise of all their Programmes were on sale - Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, The Pogles, Pogles Wood and The Clangers. And after buying myself an Ivor the Engine Mug and The Pogles Video, Peter Firmin came into view. He wasn't looking too happy as the NFT security wouldn't let him park in their car park (they didn't know who he was!!). So 'Loaf' from the Dragons Friendly Society sorted it out for him.   After this, Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate arrived where all the Merchandise was being sold, and an impromptu signing began, which they were both happy to do (and I luckily had my copy of The Pogles signed by both of them). Then everyone was ushered into the Theatre for the main Event. The Event I was quite surprised how full the theatre was. Loaf stepped up and introduced Oliver and Peter. Oliver took the microphone and told everyone that it cost them £15 per minute to make and was a bit rough. Also The Pogles had only been shown once on TV, because the BBC thought that the witch in it was too scary and it was alright to have witches in fairyland, but witches in the back garden wasn't on.   The Pogles had laid in their garden shed all these years until Loaf persuaded them to release them on video for everyone. He also apologised for the way Mr Pogle talks to his wife and that it was before Political Correctness and put it down to old age. Next The Pogles was shown on the large screen at the back of the stage. After the film was shown, Oliver and Peter came on stage with a big wicker basket. They then took questions from the audience. The Questions Q: What did they think about them sitting there at the NFT in 2001 for a programme they made in 1965? A: Peter then put on a Pogle voice saying 'Its a Miracle'. Oliver said he was Gobsmacked and that they hadn't seen the film in 30 years and thought it was lovely (and he clapped his hands together in delight). We were also told that the Fairies were animated on Black Velvet using double exposure.   Q: What's in the basket? A: Peter then proceeded to gradually take out figures from The Pogles. First came Mr Pogle and Oliver did the voice of him. Then Mrs Pogle was brought out and we were told that Olwyn Griffiths, who did the voice, was no longer with us and she would have been very happy to have been there. Next the Hedgepig came out (who would wake up Mr and Mrs Pogle by ringing their bell).   Pippin was then shown and we were told that they wrote the stories of how Pippin grew up, but the BBC refused to let them make them, because they involved the witch. The Witch was shown, and the audience hissed her. Peter then told everyone that Tog had gone missing and could everyone look under their seats for him. Which everyone did and a voice shouted out - 'here he is!'. The little boy then came up on stage with Tog, and we were then told that it was Peter's Grandson - Gabriel (who then sat on Peter's chair until he moved and sat on top of the basket, so Peter could rest his legs).   He then went on to say that they had wrote what a Tog was and how Pippin became Pippin, and they had been published in the Pogles Annuals between 1967 to 1974 (plus other Pogle information). Also that this information will be published on the Internet at some stage (on The Dragons Friendly Society site). Someone then asked if the annuals were still available, which the answer was - no, but they may be put into some E-Books.   Q: Did they write and draw the pictures for the Pippin Comic? A: After some deliberating, it was decided that Oliver had written the stories and Bill Nevin did the drawings. Oliver also wrote 720 Ivor the Engine stories for Pippin. Then Peter said that he did some of the drawings in the Pippin Annual each year and some were done by his daughters.   Q: How many were made? A: Oliver replied by saying, 6 for The Pogles and 26 for Pogles Wood and that they are going through their rusty tins of film and putting together some of their favorite Pogles Wood episodes which will be released on video.   Q: Were any made in colour? A: Peter replied no and that the first thing they had done in colour was The Clangers. The first time they took it into the BBC to show it to them, they were waiting for it to start. After a while they had to call the projectionist (via the intercom) to see if they were ready yet. The reply was - "we're working on it".   So after a while they went to see what the delay was and eventually they started to show it, but the colours were all wrong. So Oliver went and saw them again and asked "What the Hell have you done to them", and the projectionist replied "I've tried to make them the proper colour". Oliver said "They're supposed to be pink!" and the projectionist said "Why didn't you bloody tell us!"   Q: Someone else enquired about an book called 'Togs Train Trip'. A: We were told that they were made by a company called Hamlin and that they were picture books, mostly using Pogle Photographs. About 6 were made and they cost about 5 Shillings.   Q: Could they come up with a Christmas no.1. A: We were told that the original programmes were too cheap to make and would cost them 900 times more to make now - too expensive. They were pleased that Bagpuss was voted as the best children's programme in 1999 and that they had 4 of their programmes in the Top 100 Kids Programmes in 2001 (Bagpuss was 4th!!). Also if they made a record for Christmas, no one would take it up (to sell).   Q: Is the Pogles house was still standing? A: Peter told everyone that it was made out of corrugated cardboard and wood, with heavy duty papier-mâché and that there was nowhere to keep all the things, so it was left outside and it gradually disintegrated. Once in a while they find bits of Clangers in the back garden. Emily has the Pogles door hidden away somewhere.   Q: What did they think about clips of there programmes appearing in other shows? - Dr Who (Sea Devils), East is East and Tomb Raider. A: Oliver seemed quite happy, because they had received £100 for it being shown (I'm not sure which one he was referring to).   Q: Where are the real Clangers? A: Peter said that they are living in a tin trunk in his shed and they are having a little sleep until he gets back, when they'll all come out and play on their little planet We were then told that for Mr and Mrs Pogle, magnets were used to animate their mouths / eybrows. To change Pippin's expression, they swapped his head which had one expression on each one. Pippin's hands aren't original, the original ones could move, and they were pinched by Emily for a project she was doing. Next Gabriel was asked if he was frightened of the Witch (while watching The Pogles), which he answered - Yes.   Q: Have they any plans to make anymore programmes? A: They replied no, as they are 76 and have nothing left in their head. Everyone has a right to retire.   Q: Was Bagpuss based on Edward Heath (an old politician) as he sounded like him? A: Oliver said no, but he had made a Clanger episode to tie in with the 1974 general election - 'Vote for Froglett'. He made it because he thought Government was being excluded by politics. So he asked the BBC if he could make a morality play about politics. He was given 3 days to do it, which he did. He saw it recently and thought it was a bit boring.   Q: Is Peter involved in the new Basil Brush show, as he made the puppet and has some rights to it? A: We were told that he didn't have direct control and that Ivan Owen was the voice and brains behind him. All he did was give them permission to make some more programmes.   Q: Where had the idea of The Clangers come from? A: The BBC had asked them to make a new space series. So they remembered that they had created a creature called the Moon Mouse in Noggin the Nog, so they brought him up to date and called them Clangers.   Q: Where was the Woodland location in the Pogles? A: The Woodland location was behind Oliver's house and for the quarry scenes they went to a place that was about 10 miles away in Canterbury in kent. The sign was at the edge of the wood. We were told that the Music was done by Vernon Elliot and his daughter was in the audience. He died about about 4 years ago - about 84 years old Someone had their daughter present them both with some pictures that their children drawn.   Q: Someone from the audience had vivid memories of the Pipe Cleaner people, how many episodes were they in? A: 4 episodes. They were made by Peters Wife Joan, who used to make them as little presents for children, to put in their dolls house. We were also told that she made Madeline from a knigthy case. Peter then asked his wife to stand up in the audience, but she was too shy and stayed sitting.   Oliver was then asked to recite the poem from the start of Bagpuss. Peter said he wouldn't be able to remember it. He had a bit of trouble reciting it, but he did do it in the end. They then bid their fond farewells and left the stage. Afterwards they did some more signing. Peter Firmin in conversation The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - Peter Firmin in conversation Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate signing merchandise The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate signing merchandise Glasses are needed for this job The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate Oliver enjoys the event The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - Oliver Postgate enjoys the event Peter explains how the shows were produced The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - Peter Firmin explains how the shows were produced What’s in the Box? The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - Peter Firmin shows whatís in the Box It’s Mr Pogle The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - Peter Firmin shows Mr Pogle Oliver, Peter and Gabriel (Peter’s Grandson) The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - Oliver Postgate, Peter Firmin and Gabriel (Peterís Grandson) Tog is shown to everyone The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate show Tog to everyone The whole family are now on show The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - The whole family are now on show Mrs Pogle needs adjusting The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - Mrs Pogle needs adjusting The Hedgepig is awoken The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - Peter Firmin wakes the Hedgepig Oliver and Peter answer more questions The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin answer more questions Peter inspects Mrs Pogle The Pogles at the National Film Theatre - Peter Firmin inspects Mrs Pogle
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