puppet style: string and hand
Ian Allen & John Thirtle
91 x 10mins / eight series
Thames TV series
off to Button Moon
We'll follow Mr Spoon..."
Focus your telescope on the inky blackness of Blanket Sky and
you'll find the
shiny four-holed Shangri-La that is "Button
Moon". Each episode we'd blast off
for this yellow world with the Spoon family
on board their bean tin spaceship.
Mr Spoon, Mrs Spoon, Tina Teaspoon and
her pal Egg-bert encountered
a giddy assortment of creatures and creations
composed of equally
colourful, oversize household implements, products
Chief amongst them were the bottles, Captain
Large and Small and Little,
and the other manic members of the Bottle
Army. Large and Small were
forever up to mischief and making a mess
of various grand schemes - they
were the Laurel and Hardy of Button Moon.
Then there was Rag Doll,
could be a bit of a nuisance, especially to
her pals Freddy Teddy, Sofa
and Wibbly Wobbly Man. And there were always
lots of folks frequenting
the Button Moon Theatre.
we didn't just meet moon-based folks. Egg-bert's family would regularly
visit the Spoon family home. That's
Mum Vanilla, and Daddy Egg-bert the
ice cream vendor. Winny Wilson was
Egg-bert's babysitter, whilst Tina
Teaspon would be looked after by the
nurse, Miss Johnson. And on occassion,
Mr Spoon would set up his telescope
to spy upon the menagerie on high,
around Blanket Sky...
This highly creative puppet series for
younger kids ran for five hugely
successful seasons and was swept into the
upper echelons of tv cultdom
courtesy of its memorable theme tune and
those distinct, utensil puppets
who were eco-friendly stars on a par
with those Wimbledon Wombles.
Mr Spoon and friends were created
by Ian Allen and the late John Thirtle
of Playboard Puppets. Their puppet designs
have always been instantly
recognizable. On stage and in earlier tv
productions puppets were regularly
presented against velvet black-drops, masking
the performer and allowing the
bright simple puppets to shine.
Prior to "Button Moon", Playboard's
tv forays had brought us the delights
of Mo and Hedge in their self-titled "Playboard"
series and lots more
black-dropped critters in "Rainbow"
The Button Moon puppets first appeared
in a 1978 Playboard theatre show written
by Allen and called "Mr Spoon on Button
Moon". The theatrical performances
continued alongside the tv shows and
beyond, touring theatres and civic
halls around the uk for up to eight
months a year, with a regular three-week
Christmas run at London's Jeannetta
Cochrane Theatre. A Button Moon sequel
"The Grotty Rotters of Button Moon"
premiered there during Christmas 1984.
Now here's an Urban Myth proven correct
for once: The Button Moon theme
tune was actually sung by ex-"Dr Who"
star Peter Davison and his actress
wife Sandra Dickinson (Trillion in BBC
TV's "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy").
Playboard feature "Dr Who" on
their list of TV credits - which is presumably how
this bizarre duet came about...?
Twenty years on, "Button Moon"
is a continuing success story. There are
DVDs, greetings cards and more out
there for fans to collect. And trendy
students have seized up the show's effervescent
ecology. Mr Spoon is now
something of a Poster Boy for the environmentally
aware, and indeed he
would make an excellent campaign mascot
for folks or companies on a
clean green mission. Bring back Button
Moon, we say!
The Playboard CV is extensive with
tv credits as diverse as "Marmalade
Atkins", "T-Bag Strikes
Again" , "That's Life", "Top of the Pops",
and 80s breakfast show TV-AM. As
well as theatre and tv creations, Playboard
have created the puppet stars for a number
of high-profile filmed ads. Remember
those Quaker Harvest Crunch squirrels?
- They came from Playboard. And so
did that family of NatWest piggy-banks
and a three-year-running Boots Christmas
campaign featuring Santa and a host of puppet
shoppers. In 1992 they created a
cycling shark, bison, dinosaur and who-knows-what-more
for two complex
Robinsons drinks ads.
Playboard's unique creations earned
them the honour of being the first
company to receive an annual grant from
the Arts Council of Great Britain.
Post "Button Moon" they brought
us those jolly Spooks of Bottle
and the mousey stars of a Dutch series
called "Medical Centre Mice".
site fleshes out the detail for you...
The Three Pigs
The Witch's Toast
Billy Goat's Gruff
Sid and Baby
The Three Wishes
Scruffy and the Bone
The Grasshopper and the Ants
The Magic Wand
The Hare and the Tortoise
The Fox and the Hen
House For Sale
A Witch Comes to Stay
The Caterpillar Who Loved his Greens
The New Canoe
The Biggest Tomato in the World
Scruffy and the Sparrow
The Dragon Has a Cold
The Flying Jam Sandwich
Music in the Air
Scruffy at the Seaside
The Little Red Hen
Getting Away With it all
The Nose that went Honk
The Persian Market
Looking for Button Moon
Tina and the School Mouse
A Daytrip to Button Moon
Two Sticky Mugs
Button Hole Pond
The Scouts Garden Fete
Painting the Pipes
The Clown Who Lost his Smile
Happy Birthday Mrs Spoon
Bundle and Fluff
Egbert Goes to Button Moon
The Spaceship Breaks Down
Playing Games on Button Moon
The Gravy Boat
Picnic on Button Moon
The Cake Fairy Goes Ice Skating
Rag Doll Marries a Dinosaur
Egbert Goes Camping
Pink and Purple Dinosaur
The Shark in the Bath
The Paper Parade
A Hole in Blanket Sky
Egbert Wants to Help
Tutti Frutti Ice Cream
Granny Spoon and the Missing Apple
Rain Stopped Play
Paperchase on Button Moon
Winter Sports for the Frozen Vegetables
Ding-a-Ling Ice Cream
Blue Button Moon
The Royal Handkerchief Ballet
The Holiday Weekend
The Good Luck Bird
Hose on Charlie's Nose
Rag Doll Has a Cold
Mrs Spoon's Jumble Sale
Missing Martha Muggins
Cows on Button Moon
Cinders and the Magic Beans
Queen Jelly Loses Her Cherries
Button Moon Boat Race
Vacuum Cleaner for Sale
Little Bottle Floats Away
Button Moon Talent Show
Mr and Mrs Spoon's Anniversary
Mice Play on Button Moon
Rag Doll Moves House
What's the Matter with Marrow?
Cold Cows on Button Moon
The Snoring Princess
Still to add...
Moon" premiered on ITV, on December 8th 1980....