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Toonhound presents...






British TV series

        Orinoco Womble

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 The Wombles
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      producers: FilmFair / CINAR
      animation: stop-motion animation

        1973-1975 / 60 x 5mins     1990-1991 / 2 x 25mins
        + animated interstitials

        1997-1998 / 52 x 10mins


"Underground, overground, Wombling free
    The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we..."


    The Wombles first emerged from their burrow on Wimbledon Common in 1968.
    These litter-loving little folk were created by author Elisabeth Beresford who was
    inspired whilst walking on the common with her young children, Kate and Marcus.
    One joyful mispronunciation later (Wombledon Common) and we had Great Uncle
    Bulgaria and his young charges Orinoco, Tomsk, Bungo, and Wellington and his
    not-so-young associates Madame Cholet and Tobermory. The Wombles scour the
    common looking for litter to recycle into very useful things and generally cleaning
    up the mess that we mucky humans always leave behind us.

    FilmFair's stop-motion series reached our screens in 1973. It featured fabulous
    puppet designs from Ivor Wood, cockle-warming narration from Bernard Cribbins
    and a totally-hummable title track from Mike Batt. Orinoco quickly emerged as
    the star Womble, with his ceaseless appetite for cakes and sandwiches and forty
    winks. Wombling can be such hard work, you know...

    Each young Womble chooses his or her name with the aid of Bulgaria's oversize
    Atlas. Some spend a protracted time carefully sifting through the myriad place
    names and locations, searching for a particularly fitting name, whilst others
    merely shut their eyes and point - which is how Bungo got his name.

    Although the books took our Womble clan abroad, around the country and the
    world at large and introduced us to many more fellow Wombles, for practical
    reasons the series remained stationery upon the common and in the Womble
    burrow - lined with old newspapers and piping and suchlike which had been
    skillfully (though not always successfully) grafted together by Tobermory.
    There was at least one additional Womble guest, though, because the
    outspoken Cairngorm MacWomble The Terrible came a-visiting from his
    Scottish burrow.

    In the first book, Magaret Gordon drew the Wombles as if they were unkempt
    bear-like animals and they didn't wear clothes. She added clothing in later
    illustrations. Animator and artist Barry Leith took on a number of drawing duties 
    when the tv series launched and he produced fully-fledged fully-furred Wombles.     

    The Wombles were chart-busting recording stars as well as TV celebrities.
    Composer Mike Batt and friends donned life-size Womble costumes for their
    television, stage and concert appearances. From 1974 to 1975 they had eight
    hit singles and spent some sixty weeks in the UK top-forty of 1975, making them
    the most successful group of the year. Four Wombles albums were also recorded,
    and subsequently several different compilations of tracks have been reissued.

 Of course, such merry music making hasn't gone down well with everyone,
    and Wombles spoofs abound. The most absurd is surely a version of 'Remember
    You're A Womble' as performed by those Goons, Eccles and Bluebottle and
    offering us the song in German, as sung by Hitler!

    A live-action feature film 'The Wandering Wombles' was made in 1978. It
    starred David Tomlinson, Bonnie Langford and France de la Tour, and featured
    our furry-friends in full body suits, much like Mike Batt's performing group. Alas
    the magic was beginning to wear thin by then, and the charm of the series was
    lost somewhere in translation. But those wandering ones weren't quite ready
    to hang up their litter bags...

    In the 1990s, the new owners of FilmFair, CINAR, reintroduced those Wombles
    to the next generation, with all-new animated episodes. These shows expanded
    the characters to include Alderney, Stepney and Shansi Womble. The original
    Womble clan were also given a style-makeover, with some snazzy new outfits
    lifting them out of the seventies and in to the techno-age. What's more, for the
    first time, the clan were given individual character voices - a shock for older
    fans to hear, but no concern to newcomers who took to the show just like
    their mothers and fathers before them.

    Until recently, Wimbledon FC had their own Womble mascot Wandle Womble
    but he was quite rightly dropped after the team moved their stadium to Milton

    The Wombles were ahead of their time in the 1970's, with such a sound
    environmental message at their heart. And thirty-plus years on, that message
    still resounds. Indeed, it's probably even more relevant in these eco-guzzling
    times. Long may they remain, making good use of the things that they find,
    things that us everyday folks leave behind!...

     The Wombles Annual 1976    The Wombles Book 1976    The Wombles Gift Book 1975


    Mike Batt's Womble records

   Mike Batt/Orinoco - Vocals/Saxophone
   Chris Spedding/Wellington - Lead Guitar
   Steve Lyman-Dixon/Uncle Bulgaria - Violin
   Peter Felstead/Madame Cholet - Bass Guitar
   Clem Cattini/Bungo - Drums

   Singles (chart positions)       

   1974 Feb - The Wombling Song (4)
   1974 Apr - Remember You're A Womble (3)
   1974 Jun - Banana Rock (9)
   1974 Aug - Minuetto Allegretto (16)*
   1974 Dec - Wombling Merry Christmas (2)
   1975 May - Wombling White Tie And Tails (22)
   1975 Aug - Super Womble (20)
   1975 Dec - Let's Womble To The Party Tonight (34)
   1998 Dec - The Wombling Song - re-issue (27)
   2000 Dec - I Wish It Could Be A Wombling Merry
                   Christmas Every Day w/Roy Wood (22)

     * Note for Trivia Hounds: 'Minuetto Allegretto'
        is based upon Mozart's Symphony No.41

    Wombles Albums

    1973 - Wombling Songs
    1974 - Remember You're A Womble
    1974 - Keep On Wombling
    1975 - Superwombling
    +1978 - Wombling Free (soundtrack)


    Wombles books
    by Elisabeth Beresford

    The Wombles (1968)
    The Wandering Wombles (1970)
    The Wombles at Work (1973)

    The Invisible Womble and Other Stories (1973)
    The Wombles to the Rescue (1974)

    The Wombles Gift Book (1975)
    The Wombles Go Round the World (1976)
    The Wombles Make a Clean Sweep (1976)

    Wombling Free (1978)

     Slipcase editions and anthologies

    The Wonderful World of the Wombles (1975)
     slipcase feat. The Wombles, The Wandering Wombles, The Wombles At Work

    The Wombles Book (1976)
     anthology feat. The Wombles, The Wandering Wombles

    The Wombles of Wimbledon (1976)
     anthology feat. The Wombles At Work, The Wombles To The Rescue

» Wombles books at


     Episode titles

      1973                                                         1975
      The Big Black Umbrella                                Bungo Up a Tree
      Great Uncle Bulgaria's Rocking Chair             Time and Slow Motion
      A Sticky End                                               Tomsk in Trouble
      Great Uncle Bulgaria's Keep Fit Lesson          The Largest Womble in the World
      A Safe Place                                               Running Out of Steam
      Peep, Peep, Peep                                       Orinco's Midnight Feast
      The Purple Paw Mystery                               Speak Up
      Bungo's Birthday Party                                 The Burrow Hotline
      The Invisible Womble                                  Madame Cholet and the Blackberries
      Orinoco Sees the Light                                The Fruit Machine
      The Conkering Hero                                    Portrait of Great Uncle Bulgaria
      One Pair of Feet                                         Very Behind the Times
      Weighing-in Time                                       The Vanishing Pancake
      Crossed Lines                                            Trunk Call
      Blow the Womble Down                               MacWomble the Terrible
      Tobermory on Television                             A Single Piper
      Madame Cholet Returns                              Porridge for Breakfast
      Musical Wombles                                        Highland Games
      Wombles and Ladders                                 Homesickness
      Orinoco and the Ghost                                Goodbye MacWomble
      A Game of Golf                                           Hiccups
      North, South, East and West                        The Film Show
      The Picnic                                                  Pirate Gold
      Games in the Snow                                     Warm and Cosy
      The Snow Wombles                                     First Aid/Operation WRAP
      What's Cooking/Cleaning the Ventilator        The Womble Times
      Spring Cleaning Time                                  Autumn Leaves
      Marrow Pie                                                  The Secret Snorer
      Cement Mixer                                             Womble Fool's Day
      The Circus Comes to Wimbledon                  Wombling Summer Party


     Broadcast info - 1973/1975

     "The Big Black Umbrella" premiered on BBC1, 5th February 1973.
     at 5.40pm. Episodes played off and on, in the same slot until
      6th July that same year.

     The series recommenced on 15th September 1975, again at 5.40pm,
     with "Bungo Up a Tree" and followed a more rigid broadcast schedule,
     playing every week-day until 24th October...


     The Wombles on DVD

     Fans will surely want to get their paws on the co
mplete collection,
     which is available in two for

     The Wombles Deluxe Set

     UK DVD The Wombles: The Complete Collection (Deluxe)
                Region 2 / two discs / Abbey Home Media / October 2008

UK DVD The Wombles: The Complete Collection (Regular)
                Region 2 / two discs / Abbey Home Media / May 2008

Alternatively, you might just want a taster of the series:

     UK DVD The Wombles: Orinoco and the Big Black Umbrella

                Region 2 / twelve episodes / Abbey Home Media / March 2006

UK DVD The Wombles: Tobermory on Television
                Region 2 / twelve episodes / Abbey Home Media / March 2007


     Original FilmFair credits
     created and written by Elisabeth Beresford

      Ivor Wood
Barry Leith
    Mike Batt
     as told by:  
  Bernard Cribbins

    Wombles specials

    World Womble Day (1990)
    The Wandering Wombles (1991)

     written by Elisabeth Beresford & David Yates

    director:       Martin Pullen
    exec prod:    David Yates

     music:           Mike Batt
     as told by:  
   Bernard Cribbins

     CINAR series credits

    based on the Wombles stories
     created and written by Elisabeth Beresford

    director:        John Ellis
    writers:         Jennifer Lupinacci, Peter Hynes,
Alistair Swinnerton, Andy Ellis,
Julie Middleton, Kath Yelland, John Ellis
    script editor:  Jennifer Lupinacci
    writers:          Kath Yelland, John Ellis, Joseph Malozzi,
                        Adrian Besley, Peter Hynes, Stan Cullimore,
                        Alistair Swinnerton, Andy Ellis, Julie Middleton,
                        Jennifer Lupinacci, Mark Torrender,
                        Brian Jordan, Paul Brophy
    producer:      Cassandra Schaffhausen
    exec prods:   Micheline Charset, Ronald A Weinberg,
                        Dan Maddicott, David Ferguson
    co-ord prod:  Kath Yelland
    assoc prod:   Kristine van Dusen
    music:          Mike Batt
    art director:  Steve Riley
    animation:    Chris Mendham, Dan Sharp,
                        Jason Stalmart, Grant Maisy
    puppets:       Toby Hawkes, Magaret Haden, Victoria Miller
    models:         Sophie Brown, Jeannie de Naeyer, Andy Farago
    scenic art:     Barry Jones
    d.o.p:            Mark Bond
    editor:           Andi Sloss
Victor Knight (Great uncle Bulgaria)
Sonja Ball
Julie Burroughs
Gregory Calpakis
Luis de Cespedes
Michael Hancock
Nancy Helms
Simon Peacock
Rick Jones
                        Michael Lamport
                        Terrence Scammell


     On the web

      Tidybag - Tara Stockford
      Enter Tara's portal to the Wombles' world. Lots of info here, a detailed
      discography, bibliography and more. A Womble collector's heaven, methinks...

      Womble Lovers
      Johanna's Womble Lovers homepages is the site most commonly linked to.
      Details the history of the characters from the first fur ball designs of the
      original books to the more familiar animated versions. Did you know there's
      an official Wombles tartan? - You'll find it here...

      The Womble Burrow 
      Gill archives her extensive Wombles collection here, and goes on
      to feature a unique photo gallery of a Womble 'on tour' and a guide
      to the Wombles' many and varied fashion outfits...

      index »    previous »   next »     

© Elisabeth Beresford / FilmFair Ltd / CINAR / F2006