“Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss, old fat furry cat-puss, wake-up, and look at this thing that I bring, wake-up, be bright, be golden and light. Bagpuss, oh hear what I sing.”
Only thirteen episodes were ever made, but somehow Bagpuss has become synonymous with everything warm and cozy about childhood.
The charming stop motion animation was made by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin’s production company Smallfilms — who were responsible for some of the nation’s most loved children’s TV. Between 1959, until the 1980s, the duo produced Pogle’s Wood, The Clangers, Ivor the Engine and Noggin the Nog — working out of a disused cowshed at Firmin’s home in Blean, near Canterbury.
But Bagpuss has always been the jewel in Smallfilm’s crown. The programme has remained hugely popular, and was voted Britain’s all-time favourite children’s programme in 1999. Fans include Radiohead’s Thom Yorke who wanted to name Radiohead’s sixth album The Bony King of Nowhere, after a song in episode two. Ultimately, the band deemed it “too prog” and the the album was called Hail to the Thief. But Yorke wasn’t wrong when he said: “I’m telling you, there’s a lot in there. You could do a lot worse than get yourself the DVD of Bagpuss.”
Fabulous Film’s new release is fully-restored in high definition, from the film negatives, and is available on both DVD and blu-ray. Extras include Peter Firmin – At Home with Bagpuss, BAFTA Children’s Award: Celebrating Smallfilms, and The Story of Smallfilms. However, let’s face it, you’re gonna want to buy this regardless of any extras. From Oliver Postgate’s Bakelite tones, to the endless optimism of the mice on the magical mouse organ, watching Bagpuss is like wrapping yourself in your favourite blanket. Regardless of how raw and wild the world seems, Bagpuss will make you feel safe. So, snuggle down and let Bagpuss take you back to a time when things were simple and bedtime was all about stories.
“And so their work was done. Bagpuss gave a big yawn and settled down to sleep. And, of course, when Bagpuss goes to sleep, all his friends go to sleep too. The mice were ornaments on the mouse organ. Gabriel and Madeleine were just dolls. And Professor Yaffle was a carved, wooden bookend in the shape of a woodpecker. Even Bagpuss himself, once he was asleep, was just an old, saggy cloth cat, Baggy, and a bit loose at the seams, but Emily loved him.”