The Hound says "Welcome to Toonhound!" Toonhound logo
  cartoons, animation, comic strips and puppets in the UK  Union Jack


  british toon
  news & chatter
  animated films
  & shorts

  animated series

  animation studios

  & people

  string, hand
  & finger puppets

  characters, strips
  & comic books

  British animators
  & illustrators


Toonhound presents...






British TV series

      "pingwings" from the SmallFilms stable

    Pingwings     (1961-1964)
    producers: SmallFilms
    animation: stop-motion animation
                      filmed in b/w
     episodes: 10min episodes

"This is Berrydown Farm. Quite a lot of people live here...
      Old people sitting, young people busy playing,
and middling people
      like me who work. Then there are ducks. They don't seem to do
      anything much except walk about and quack. And of course,
      Minnie the Cat. Minnie is a lady. Hello Minnie. And Gay the
      Goat, if she'll stand still for a minute. And of course, the
      Pingwings... If we can find the Pingwings..."

                                                                                             - intro to The Happy Event

  spacer number two

    The Pingwings of Berrydown Farm were a family of small knitted penguin-like
    creatures, standing no more than 6 or 7 inches tall. There was Mr Pingwing,
    Mrs Pingwing and Penny who both wore aprons, Paul who liked to wear a
    hat and new-born Baby Pingwing. The Pingwings films were SmallFilms' first
    model series. Although the Pingwing family were 'animated' for the series, the
    world they lived in, their home in in the barn, the farm and its populance were
    very real. The Pingwings were moved frame-by-labour-intensive-frame against
    this real-time world. They had many small adventures on the farm with the
    things they had found or built. These adventures brought them in to contact
    with the various farm animals, and close contact with the humans, and it's
    this contact and interaction with the world that makes this series work
    so uncannily well. If you didn't know better you'd swear the Pingwings
    actually existed!

    In the first episode, titled The Happy Event, we learn that Mrs Pingwing
    has laid an egg from which hatches a baby Pingwing. Penny Pingwing breaks
    the news of the 'egg laying' to her father Mr Pingwing whom we find is actually
    pegged up to dry on the washing line. This image stems from Oliver Postgate's
    very first true-life encounter with a Pingwing. How so? Well, during a visit to
    Peter and Joan Firmin's farm in 1960 Oliver happened upon a small knitted
    penguin pegged out to dry by its woolly beak. Gloria, Peter Firmin's sister,
    had knitted it for young Josie Firmin. Oliver was reminded of a type of French
    wool called Pingouin, and a series idea was hatched...

The series was actually filmed on and around the Firmin's farm, and was
    the first stop-motion series produced by the SmallFilms partnership (their
    previous ventures having featured manipulated cut-out artwork). Filiming in
    this "real" environment caused all sorts of problems, and in his autobiography
    "Seeing Things" (Panmacmillan), Oliver Postgate talks about his encounter 
    with one particular hairy caterpillar, moving through frame, and the way in
    which his own movement between set-ups initially caused swathes of 
    grass and foliage to magically flatten as the rushes unspooled...

  spacer number two

     The Marrow Boat - a Pingwings book by Oliver Postgate & Babette Cole

In the 1970s Oliver Postgate wrote two
Pingwings books for Kaye & Ward's
Starting To Read series - a series of books
for learning readers based upon SmallFilm's
productions. The Marrow Boat and A Flying
Bird were illustrated beautifully by Babette
Cole, famous now for her own works like
Mummy Laid An Egg and The Silly, Slimy,
Smelly and Hairy Books. Babette's
SmallFilms connections go back to her
time on Bagpuss...

  spacer number two

     stories by Oliver Postgate

     music:      Vernon Elliot
     puppets:   Gloria Firmin
                     Oliver Postgate
     voices:     Oliver Postgate
                     Olwen Griffiths

  spacer number two

     On the web

     The official site...

     Dragons-Friendly Society 
     Smallfilms' very own society site offers us an exclusive
     multi-region Pingwings DVD!...

index »    previous »   next »      

© SmallFilms / Oliver Postgate & Peter Firmin / F2009