Womblepedia! They're back... and set to challenge 'X Factor' for festive No 1 slot

David Randall and Sophie Zeldin-O'Neill, in true Womble style, gather the facts for an A to Z of the Wimbledon litter pickers

Ally McCoist Scottish football manager and savant who, when asked on A Question of Sport who his favourite Wimbledon hero was, replied: "Great Uncle Bulgaria". Sometimes attributed to his rival captain on the show, John Parrott.

 

Batt, Mike Writer and performer of the Wombles theme, and subsequent songs, the ostensible highlight of a career in music that has included writing and/or producing Steeleye Span's All Around My Hat album, Art Garfunkel's No 1 hit "Bright Eyes", from the film of Watership Down, and the theme song for the 1998 German World Cup squad.

 

Conservative Party Political cause supported by Mike Batt, and for whom he composed its 2001 election theme song "Heartland". The Tories went down to a huge defeat under William Hague, who, contrary to press speculation, was not a Womble.

 

Day-Lewis, Cecil One of two famous godfathers of Wombles creator Elisabeth Beresford. The other was Walter de la Mare. Her father was a writer whose circle also included George Bernard Shaw and D H Lawrence.

 

Elisabeth Beresford Writer for, among other things, BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, who created the Wombles on a Boxing Day walk with her children Marcus and Kate on Wimbledon Common. She was married to, and later divorced, the BBC tennis commentator Max Robertson.

 

Fees Not as big as you'd think. After making an appearance on Jackanory, the Wombles were made into 35 five-minute films, for which their creator was paid just £50 each. Yet, at their peak, the total Wombles earnings were reputed to be around £17m a year. Ms Beresford and her then-husband, Max Robertson, lost large sums in the Lloyd's Names fiasco in 1982, and she was far from well-off in later years.

 

Glastonbury Rock guitarist and early Sex Pistols producer Chris Spedding joined The Wombles on stage at Glasto this year.

 

Haydon Mascot of AFC Wimbledon, named by Elisabeth Beresford after Haydons Road, the nearest station to the club's old Plough Lane ground.

 

Ivor Wood Animator of The Wombles television series, and responsible for their appearance. He also made Postman Pat, and, in Paris, Le Manège Enchanté, the French series which became The Magic Roundabout in English.

Jimmy Savile Recently late disc jockey, and charitable but strange character, who once fronted an entire Top of the Pops in a Womble costume – a considerable improvement on his usual shell suit.

 

Kate Robertson Daughter of Elisabeth Beresford, whose mispronunciation of Wimbledon Common as "Wombledon" planted the seed of the idea that became the characters and their books.

 

Litter What the Wombles pick up, and what many children used to deliberately drop on Wimbledon Common in the hope of drawing the furry recyclers out from their burrows.

 

Madame Cholet Wombles' in-house chef, based on Elisabeth Beresford's mother and named after the town of Cholet in France. Also the inspiration for a "Madame Cholet's", London-based artisan event catering company.

 

Novelty songs Genre into which all the Wombles' records fit. Once ubiquitous, they are now scarce. Leading examples include: "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa" by Napoleon XIV (real name Jerry Samuels), Chuck Berry's "My Ding-a-Ling", Joe Dolce's "Shaddap You Face", and anything by the Chipmunks.

Orinoco All the Womble characters chose their names from Great Uncle Bulgaria's atlas, some deliberately, others by chance. This lethargic Womble was based on Elisabeth Beresford's then-teenage son, Marcus.

 

Political implications Not obvious, but David Cameron did once describe the Wombles and their litter clearing as an example of society in action. He has since been told that the Wombles are, in fact, fictional.

 

Queen Crowned head whose ceremonial opening (with France's President Mitterrand) of the Channel Tunnel in 1994 was accompanied by its official anthem, "When Flags Fly Together", composed by Mike Batt. Sadly, he did not include his most famous lyric: "Underground, overground...."

 

Remember You're a Womble 1974 hit album whose title song includes the ground-breaking lyrics: "Remember, remember, remember, remember, remember, remember, remember (member, member, member)". Playing violin on the track was Jack Rothstein, whose plaintive strings can also be heard on The Beatles "I Am the Walrus".

 

Stepney Eastender with dreadlocks, Stepney appeared in the 1998 series when he visited from his home in the Thames burrow.

 

Tobermoray & Tomsk The former is an engineer and inventor, the latter a keen sportsman with a low IQ who loves golf and is usually seen wearing a tanktop. Named after the capital of the Isle of Mull and a Russian town, respectively.

 

Uncle Bulgaria Wombles' tartan-clad leader who likes nothing better than reading newspapers. He is aged about 300 – a remarkable longevity even for Wombles, whose normal life expectancy is around 200.

Vicar of Dibley Dawn French's character in this series said: "I once tried to go on Mastermind, but they didn't like my special subject. Apparently, there just aren't enough questions about the Wombles."

 

Wellington Named after school attended by the author's nephew, whose uniform he also wears – not, then, based on the famous general rubber footwear, or fancy way of serving beef. Wombles are, of course, vegetarian.

Xmas No 1 The re-released "Wombling Merry Christmas" is up against the likes of this year's X Factor winner, a cover of "Last Christmas" by the cast of The Only Way is Essex, Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber and a posthumous single by Amy Winehouse.

 

Youngest Womble, Bungo Bungo chose his name from Great Uncle Bulgaria's Atlas by closing his eyes and pointing. In the Seventies, he wore a twill cap, which he swapped for a backwards golf cap in the Nineties.

 

Zebedee Not a Womble, but a Magic Roundabouter who was, apparently, created from a giant pea found in the French studios, and repainted.

Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments