Little Gems - Snippets from the past
Click here to listen to the Theme tune(thank you to Richard for supplying)
Inigo Pipkin and Pipkins (renamed later on in 1973)
Pipkins was made by ATV Television Production studios (soon to be Central Television) in the 1973 onwards. This preschool children's lunchtime program was shown on I.T.V. around midday and was an absolute must watch program. The first series of shows had George Woodbridge in the lead role as as Inigo Pipkin (Mr Pipkin) who was the puppet maker. Johnny and Bertha (played by Wayne Laryea & Jumoke Debayo respectively) supported the human cast for the show. All the puppets (Hartley Hare and Old Tortoise) and Inigo lived in a small toy shop in a town somewhere in England (any offers as to where ?).
During filming, George Woodbridge never really looked very well and sadly died in during the filming of the second series in 1973. People may remember George Woodbridge in films and shows such as the Magnificent Six and ½, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, The Iron Maiden, What a Carve Up, Two Way Stretch, An Inspector Calls, Green for Danger, The Black Sheep of Whitehall - check out the IMDB database to see a huge list of films he starred in . But most of all he will be remembered as the father figure in Pipkins who took care of Hartley and Tortoise.
By now the show was very popular and could not be written off just like that. Johnny took over and gave the show a more solid foundation onto which new stories could be written. Hartley and Tortoise were the real rocks of the show and were there from the start but soon Topov, Pig, Mooney, Pigeon and Octavia came along to add a bit more variety to the show.
Hartley Hare was a real moth eaten old hare who was always trying to be the leader of the group. He often considered himself to me more intelligent, better looking and a more human like hare that the other animals. He would often try to be the director for any of the show's stories. Pig was the supposed brains of the outfit and spoke with a thick Brummie accent. Topov - not sure of his or her role. The monkey was always on top of things and hence that is where the name originated from. Octavia was the beautiful bird and hence a singer. She spent most of her time strutting around singing and looking pretty. Hartley was in love with her and would often lose himself as she sang. Tortoise was the oldest and wisest of the group and was in charge of the cash register. He did not seem to have a sense of humour and spoke with the same monotonic voice throughout the series. Mooney was not often seen in the show but when he was he appeared as an Irish Badger. He would very often tell stories long and tall. The last member of the group was pigeon who would often act as a messenger and relay information back to the Pipkins crowd concerning the outside world. A few other characters appeared in the show from time to time including some of Hartley's relatives.
The introduction song was sung by Jackie Lee who (most of us will remember) also sang the song for the classic puppet series "The Adventures of Rupert Bear." I think she also did the theme for "White Horses" as well. Pipkins went all the way into late 1981 before it finally vanished from our screens, never to be repeated. Whatever happened to poor old Hartley and did he ever get his true love Octavia (although most of us believed he was always in love with himself). From some of the information that Richard sent me, the studio it was filmed in may not even be there anymore. This is really sad as this program was brilliant and really set a standard for all other shows to follow.
Songwise, there were a couple of different versions with different lyrics. Back in 1974 they used:
This is the story of....
Inigo the puppet maker
Inigo the puppet man
Inigo the puppet mannnnnn
Later on in the series after the sad death of George Woodbridge (Mr Inigo Pipkin) different lyrics had to be brought in.
Here come the Pipkins
There go the Pipkins
And they've got another job to do
Topov the Monkey
Pig's always hungry
In the Pipkin puppet van
In the Pipkin puppet vannnnnn
A third version then appeared in 1977 - This one had new screen titles as well
Pig, Tortoise and Topov
And Hartley Hare
Never quite knew what his true vocation was
The original puppet master
Always on top of something - hence name
Was responsible for all cash handling
Took over after Mr Pipkin died
Again not sure of her role
|Pig (from Birmingham)
The inventor with a big appetite
Not sure of his role but would often tell stories
Opera singer (or at least she thought she was)
One of the best remembered parts of the program was the animated GIF below: Click here to listen to the clocks.
|Narrator, Hartley Hare, Uncle Hare, Angus McHare, Mooney & Tortoise
|Pig & Octavia
|Topov & Pigeon
|Susan Pleat & Billy Hamon
|Music and Lyrics
|Theme song by
|Frank Weston & Ron Roker
|Martin Bell & Tony Leggo
|Steve Singleton & Jonathon Morris
|Senior Vision Control
|Puppets made by
|Ronald Gulliford & Dinah Goldwater
|Produced & Directed by
|Michael Jeans, Pembroke Duttson & Dorothy Denham
|An ATV Colour Production