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Toonhound presents...






It's A Puppet!
"Sara & Hoppity" (Roberta Leigh)

 small spacer
 and Hoppity
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  producers: Roberta Leigh / PP Productions
marionette puppets
    episodes: 52 x 10mins b/w

   "Dear old Hoppity, naughty Hoppity
    There is no toy more naughty than he!"
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    Sara Brown's parents own a special shop that's not really a shop at all. It is
    in fact a Toy Hospital, where folks can bring in broken toys for Sara's mother
    and father and Miss Julie to mend. The Browns live above the little shop, with
    Miss Julie above them, in the attic room. One day, an old man brings in a odd
    broken toy to sell. It's a curious wind-up toy boy with one leg which the man
    apparently found in a goblin ring. He's called Hoppity, and Sara is immediately
    smitten with him. Mr and Mrs Brown want nothing to do with the old toy, but
    Miss Julie comes to Sara's rescue. She gives her sixpence to purchase
    Hoppity from the man. Sara then scrubs Hoppity down, and her father finds
    a spare leg for the toy, though it's a tad shorter than the one he's got.
    Miss Julie gives Hoppity some clothes and Mrs Brown gives him two shiny
    beads for his eyes. She also cuts some of Sara's own hair to put on
    Hoppity's head, and Miss Julie gives Sara an apron with a big pocket on
    the front so she can carry the chap around. And now Hoppity can be wound
    up and set free, to dance his "falling over dance" and sing his special
    "Diddly-Dee" song, and to lead Sara off to all sorts of hijinx and trouble
    because, you see, Hoppity is a very mischievious thing indeed...

    "He'll sing and he'll dance, all over the floor
     And when he stands still then you wind him some more!"

    Sara and Hoppity had previously appeared in four books by series producer
    Roberta Leigh, with the first written in 1960. And this TV adaptation was
    Roberta's first new series produced without Gerry Anderson and AP Films.
    They had parted company after completing the first season of Torchy the
    Battery Boy. Roberta had successfully snagged AP's Arthur Provis during
    the breakup, and he took up the director's chair here.

    And what a show it is! Beneath the series' apple-pie crust there is a
    very dark filling. Hoppity is a spiteful sprite. He's the devil who sits on your
    shoulder, egging you on, leading you into trouble. There's that strange goblin
    past, and the old man wanting rid, and - goodness! - just look at him in that
    screen grab at the top of this page. He's got no eyes, he's bald and legless.
    He is a totemic pagan creation who wouldn't look out of place in an Amicus film.
    And once he's reborn he's infused with a twisted, fiddling, kind of glee. Well,
    okay, it's easy to exaggerate, but many folks of a certain age will tell you
    that Hoppity left them sleeping uneasily in their beds at night, and the chap
    would surely jig his way into a future Top Ten List here at Toonhound.

    Of course, this isn't all spite for spite's sake. Take Aunt Mathilda, who is
    the recipient of Hoppity's very first bit of mischief. She's a haughty old thing,
    and it's very easy to side with Sara when she cuts the flowers off the woman's
    hat and puts them in a vase... Erm... But that doesn't make it right, does it?
    And Hoppity's cruely knows no bounds, because poor Sara is left hopelessly
    exposed when she tells the adults what happened. Why, she can go straight
    to her bed, without delay. But it was Hoppity that drove her to the wicked
    deed... Fiddling-diddling old Hoppity....

Hoppity all mended in "Sara & Hoppity" (Roberta Leigh)   The Old Man in "Sara & Hoppity" (Roberta Leigh)

    Cross, Bossy & Cruel

    Spiteful children are Roberta Leigh's speciality. Sally Cross (Twizzle),
    Bossy Boots and Bogie (Torchy), and Sara Brown all exhibit a particular 
    penchant for brattish and cruel behaviour. It gives these three series a
    particularly keen edge that stands them apart from their contemporaries.
    The series all played on the ITV network in direct opposition to those
    singsong "Watch With Mother" productions on the BBC, and it feels 
    almost as if they are deliberately subverting that rather privileged
    nursery-bound format. Yes, this is what those spoilt brats are really
    like, folks. They're wanton, and just as cruel as can be!


    broadcast info

    The series premiered on the ITV network on 27th February 1962...


   Sara & Hoppity's adventures

  Sara and Hoppity
Hoppity is Stolen
Sara and Hoppity Bake a Cake
Sara and Hoppity and Shaggy Dog
Sara's Friend Has an Accident
Shaggy is Taught Some Tricks
Sara and Hoppity Go Skating
Sara and the Broken Toys
Shaggy in Trouble
A Present for Miss Julie
Gorgey Georgie Comes to Stay
Sara and Father Christmas
Aunt Mathilda's New Dress
Gorgey Georgie is Naughty Again
Sara and Hoppity Get Lost
Sara's Birthday
Sara Does the Spring Cleaning
Gorgey Georgie Comes to Tea
Sara and the Junk Man
Sara and Hoppity Help Mummy
Hoppity Does Something Wrong
A New Hat for Mummy
A New Kite
Fun on the Sands
A Birthday Cake for Daddy
A Present for Jimmy
Shaggy and the Flowers
Sara and Hoppity Clean the Shop
Sara and Hoppity do the Wallpapering
The Snowman
Pancake Day
Aunt Mathilda's Hat
Jimmy Comes to Tea
Sara is Naughty
The Goldfish Pond
The Coalman Comes to Call
Mummy Loses Her Ring
A Visit to the Seaside
Sara Goes to School
A Day at the Beach
The Lonely Junk Man
The Brass Band
The Painting Competition
A Day in Bed
Sara and Hoppity Quarrel
Gorgey Georgie Goes Visiting
Father Christmas and the Presents
Hoppity and the Jelly
The Grandfather Clock
The Windy Day
The Fancy Dress Party
Washing Day


    Sara & Hoppity on DVD

    This is another of those series that's been all-but lost to time. But the pilot
    episode still exists, and it was made available as an extra on Network's rather
    fab "Space Patrol" collection.  Alas, the set is now very hard to come by,
    but here's the link, anyway...

     UK DVD Space Patrol : The Complete Series
               Region 2 / six discs / Network / 2008


    made by P.P. Productions, Teddington
    for Roberta Leigh

music & lyrics:

music arranged by:
art director:
puppets made by:

Arthur Provis
Robeta Leigh
Robeta Leigh
Roberta Leigh
Ronald Hanmer
Bill Palmer

Peter Saunders
Jack Whitehead
Jane Tyson, Jane Phillips


     On the web

     Roberta Leigh
     Roberta's official site...

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© Roberta Leigh / F2012