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Toonhound presents...






British TV series

     Carrots...  ...Sancho!

     Hattytown Tales   (1980)
     producers: Hattyland Enterprises
                       & FilmFair Ltd
stop-motion animation
11min episodes

   "This is Hatty Town, where all the people live in hats..."
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     Keith Chatfield's "Hattytown" stories first appeared on our tv screens in 1968,
     via a show called "Small Time". In this original guise the stories were simply
     read aloud, by Peter Hawkins, with pictures by John McLusky accompanying
     the storytelling. But this is Toonhound's page devoted to the later tv series,
     brought to life by Ivor Wood and the FilmFair team, in 1980.

     Hatty Town is home to a population of anthropomorphic hats, with legs and
     arms and faces. And the unlikely star "hat" is a wandering sombrero character
     called Sancho and  his special friend Carrots the donkey. Our duo regularly
     encounter members of the Hatty Town community in distress, or requiring
     assistance in some way and with Sancho's timely help, problems are solved
     and mysteries unravelled, enabling the Hattyland residents return safely to
     their hat-houses for another day.

     Amongst the regular "hats" are Posty the postman's hat, Mr Bun the baker's
     hat, Mr Wimple the Mayor, Bobby the policeman's helmet, Milko the milkman's
     hat and Simon the deerstalker who is, naturally, an amateur detective. But,
     of course, a concept like this lends itself readily to an ever-expanding range
     of characters, so in the course of the books and series we have also met
     Mr Bishop, The Royal Guards, Farmer Oatfield, Cyril the fishmonger, Scouty,
     Felix the fireman, Ethelbert the King of Hattyland, Mrs Wimple the Mayor's Wife,
     Mrs Bagwash, Mrs Mobcap the teashop lady, Sailor Boy, Mr McTammy,
     Mr Spud the barrow owner, Harold the railway ticket inspector and more.

     Hatty Town itself mirrors its occupants, in that the buildings are all oversize
     hats - hats with windows doors, chimmneys and what-not - each styled after
     its occupant. Thus Sancho lives in a big straw hat, Bobby lives in a larger
     policeman's helmet, etc. Hatty Town also has a Royal Palace and Town Hall,
     with Top Hat Square nearby. When time allows, the Hattys will take the the
     Hatty Town Express Train to the sandy shores of Hatty Bay...

       Mr Wimple - Hatty Town Mayor - outside his home    Posty the Postman's house...

     It's intriguing to to see how many similarities there are between this animated
     production and The Magic Roundabout - another famous FilmFair series that Ivor
     Wood helped design and direct. Hatty Land features numerous small geometric
     flowers and trees set upon a white background, just like The Magic Garden.
     Carrots the donkey with his dangling carrot, is rather Dylan-esque. There's also
     a melancholic tone to the narration. However, where "The Magic Roundabout"
     has irony, "Hattytown Tales" has no such pretence. This is a gentle children's
     series, nothing more, nothing less.      

     Creator Keith Chatfield also introduced us to Issi Noho the popular panda
     character, who made it to our screens in the 1970s. Keith has written a whole
     range of children's picture books and stories over the years, and many are
     available to purchase directly through his web site - including two fab Hattytown
     picture books.

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     Hattytown Vs Hatty Town

     In case you get confused, just remember that the series is called
Tales. But Hatty Town is a separate place, so the words
     are separated too...

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     The Fleetway connection

     Now here's a question for you: What do Hatty Town and Fleetway comics
     star Cheeky have in common?

     Given up yet? - Well I'll tell you. Legendary comic artist Frank McDiarmid
     who brought us the weekly delights of Cheeky, Boy Boss, and numerous
     other star strips co-illustrated the Hattytown annuals and books with Percy
     Blayney. And in case you don't believe me, here's Mr McDiarmid's daughter
     Mandy recalling those days:

    "I distinctly remember, as a young child, Dad doing the
     Hattytown series which was also on TV. It was indeed him.
     I remember there being pictures taken of his original work
     on the living room floor to record this fantastic new project
     he was working on. We were living in Carnoustie at the time.
     It was particularly memorable since it was the first time I
     remember him working in colour - all the comic stuff was
     done in ink...."

     What an extraordinary connection! - Frank McDiarmid is still going strong
     today, exhibiting and selling his scenic oil paintings - like those on display
     over at Nicholson's. Meanwhile those wishing to wallow in the delights of
     his Fleetway past should toddle on over to Fleetway St....

     'Ello it's Cheeky! - as drawn by Frank McDiarmid    Hatty Town artwork by Frank McDiarmid

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     episode titles

    Mr. Wimple's Breakfast Rolls
    Bobby's Flower Garden
    Carrot's Carrot
    King Ethelbert
    Milko's Day Off
    Simon's Magnifying Glass
    Sancho's Camera
    The Statue
    Going Fishing
    Wash Day
    Potsy's Old Boots
    You Cannot Please Everyone


     Hattytown Tales on DVD

     UK DVD
Hattytown Tales: Going Fishing
                Region 2 / six eps / Abbey Home Media / March 2007

     UK DVD
Hattytown Tales: Mr Wimpole's Breakfast Rolls
                Region 2 / six eps / Abbey Home Media / July 2006
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      produced by FilmFair
      puppets and animation by Ivor Wood

     writer:          Keith Chatfield
  Colin Groves
     decor:          Rafael Esteve
     narration:     Keith Chatfield

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      On the web

      Issi Noho
      Keith Chatfield's site identifies and offers for sale many of the books
      he's written over the years - including two new 'Hattytown' books.
      I want, I want, I want!...       

      Little Gems
      FilmFair's series gets the Little Gems treatment. A little bit of series
      info, plenty of screen grabs a character guide and episode guide - Hats
      off to 'em, I say!

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