'Ivor the Engine' chugs again - on video
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Monday 01 May 2000
When it comes to children's television everyone, except perhaps those who actually watch it, agree that the old shows were the best.
Now the author of Ivor the Engine, one of the classics of the 1970s, is hoping that a whole new generation of fans will be won over when it is released on video today.
Oliver Postgate, who created the distinctive Welsh tones of the locomotive and his friends, is expecting renewed interest in the stories from the Merioneth and Llantisilly Railway Traction Company "in the top left hand corner of Wales".
All 26 colour episodes will be published, giving fans old and new the chance to see Mr Postgate and his partner Peter Firmin's unique animation technique. "The animation consisted of cut out cardboard, with 10 different sizes of cotton wool for Ivor's steam." said Mr Postgate yesterday.
The first episode was shot in black and white in 1959 for £100 in Mr Firmin's cow shed. It was remade in colour in the mid-Seventies. The pair also created several other children's TV classics, including The Clangers, Noggin the Nog, Pogle's Wood and Bagpuss.
Nick Park, the Oscar-winning creator of Wallace and Gromit, has admitted he was inspired in his choice of career by The Clangers, which was also released on video last year. Such is the popularity of these old series that, after Bagpuss was voted the most popular BBC's children's TV programme ever in 1998, a company that started selling velvet $45 replicas of the pink and white stripped cat could barely keep up with demand.
Ivor's chief rival, Thomas the Tank Engine, still has the edge over his Welsh cousin however. A £12m Hollywood film of the train and his locomotive friends is currently in production, starring Peter Fonda and Alec Baldwin.
But Mr Postgate is not upset by Thomas's success. He was just delighted by the renewed interest in his work. "And so is my bank balance," he said.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Doctor Who film will definitely happen, leaked Sony emails reveal
Glastonbury 2015 tickets: How to make sure you’re successful in Sunday's re-sale
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling