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Toonhound presents...






It's A Puppet!

Andy Pandy, Looby Loo and Teddy

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 Andy Pandy      (1950-1970) 
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producers: Westerham Arts Ltd for the BBC

1950s / 29 x 12mins b/w
                       1970 / 13 x 12mins col


    "Andy Pandy's coming to play...
     Tra-la-la la-la la...."


    This fondly recalled tv series featured a little puppet boy in a striped romper suit
    and his friends, a cute and cuddly articulated teddy bear called Teddy and a pretty
    ragdoll called Looby Loo. These three jolly characters would dance and frollick
    and play games in and around their nursery and garden, and they'd encourage
    younger viewers to participate at home. At the end of each broadcast they would
    sing their goodbyes to us...

    And that was it. Nothing more substantial, but at the time, it worked splendidly. 
    Of course, today's viewers loook upon these shows as being patronising. They 
    question the "relationship" between the three stars in between knowing winks and
    nudges and it's all terribly tedious. The point is all of the shows in these children's
    broadcast slots were absolutely right for the period. The BBC was seen as being
    "Auntie" to the nation, and here was the perfect way to entertain and educate
    younger viewers the length and breadth of the country.

    "Andy Pandy" was created by Frieda Lingstrom and Maria Bird at the behest of
    the BBC. They formed Westerham Arts Ltd, named after the village where they
    lived, in Kent. It was also home to the craftman who originally scuplted their
    Andy Pandy puppet. 

    Andy Pandy first came to play on July 11th 1950. 26 black and white films were
    made and broadcast repeatedly on the BBC, mainly as part of the the channel's
    "Watch With Mother" children's slot, but it's a popular misconception that Andy
    and friends were created specifically for that strand when, in actuality, they
    came to life earlier (see below).

    Such was the wear and tear on the original films, that the BBC were eventually
    forced to approach Westerham for new productions, and in 1970 13 new colour
    episodes started the rounds...

    Andy spawned a licensing gold rush, with a myriad of books, toys and collectables
    available for fans. He was also the cover star of "Robin" comic. Even in to the 1980's,
    retailers like Boots were still selling tie-in merchandise, like this book of reprinted

     Andy Pandy book from Boots - 1984

    And of course, Andy has now gone on to bigger, brighter things courtsey of the
    folks at Cosgrove Hall. Their recent stop-motion series has been a big hit here
    in the UK, with new tie-in toys and goodies to collect.


    Watch With Andy

    In the 1940's the BBC was looking to develop a television strand based on the
    success of their popular "Listen With Mother" radio broadcasts. "For The Children"
    started broadcasting 1946 and made a houshold name of "Muffin The Mule".
    By the time of "Andy Pandy"s first broadcasts, the strand had changed its name
    to "For The Very Young". "The Flowerpot Men" joined Andy in 1952. And then,
    in 1953, the strand changed its name once more to "Watch With Mother".
    By 1955 there were "Watch With Mother" shows being broadcast every day
    of the week, and the line-up of shows stayed the same through to the middle
    of the 1960s:

           Monday Picture Book
          Tuesday Andy Pandy
    Wednesday The Flowerpot Men
        Thursday Rag, Tag & Bobtail
             Friday The Woodentops

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     See also

     Andy Pandy (Cosgrove Hall)


      a Westerham Arts Films Ltd production
       created by Frieda Lingstrom and Maria Bird

      writers:           Freda Lingstrom, Maria Bird
      puppeteers:    The Stavordales (1950s)
                            Christopher Leith (1970)
      music:             Maria Bird
      clarinet:          Thea King
 storyteller:      Vera McKechnie
      singer:            Gladys Whitred (1950s) 
                            Valerie Cardnell


     On the web

        Details here of all the Watch With Mother shows, with pics and even
        samples of some Andy Pandy books and comic strips...


        Plenty of info here on the official BFI pages, including a whole
        episode to view...

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