Thursday, 11 December 2008


Having written about those animated classics Bagpuss, Ivor The Engine et al the other day, it's set the mind off on an animated nostalgia trip and why not? So here are some other stop-motion animated classics from back in the days when I was smaller, thinner and had hair...

The Moomins - I had very fond memories of this one even though there was something about it that was slightly creepy and occasionally terrifying to my little mind. I think the character of The Groke was the one that most scared me - with it's big staring eyes, leaving a frozen trail all around it. It kind of faded in and out quietly too - always far creepier. This stop-motion series with its fuzzy felt appearance ran on CITV back in 1983 - it was adapted for the UK from a series made for Polish, Austrian and German TV. Some of the scarier / darker elements were removed for the UK version and it still creeped me out! Quality theme tune on it:-

The Trap Door - Berk, talking skull Boni and a spider-type thingy called Drut are servants of the Thing Upstairs. The one main rule - don't open the trap door. You can guess the rest... I absolutely loved this one. Mainly because, every week, you were guaranteed that a fresh weird and wonderful monster-y thing would come crawling out of the Trap Door. Also, as the characters were made from clay, I used to fashion my own versions out of Plasticine to play with. It had a cracking theme tune too ("Stay away from that Traaap Dooooor!":-

Chorlton And The Wheelies - In which a dragon from Yorkshire helps some half-car, half-person types fight a Welsh witch who lives in a kettle - you don't get to write sentences like that every day (unless, like me, you regularly write blogs about the weird stuff you watch and read, in which case, never mind...). This was one of those series that, during my teenage years, I began to become convinced was a dream*. Another show from Cosgorve Hall who are renowned for brilliantness - not only for Danger Mouse but also for Count Duckula and their stop-motion adaptation of Wind In The Willows (all of which featured David Jason, the voice of Cosgrove Hall). Once again, Chorlton featured some top theme-tunery:-

So there you go. Stop motion animation - before Aaardman Animations came along, it was already always there, happily chugging along and being great.

* Much like Noah and Nelly. You don't remember Noah and Nelly? "All aboard the Skylark"? No? No? Hmmm, please yourselves)

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