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BBC Four head into the children’s vaults


BBC Four head into the children’s vaults

Nostalgia from the BBC Archives arrives on BBC Four this evening.

The evening that delves into the Children’s programming archive at ‘Aunty Beeb’ begins at 7 pm with a very vintage edition of Blue Peter.

The episode first transmitted live on November 4th 1974 features a look at Bonfire Night and Petra the dog celebrates her 12th birthday.

It’s followed at 7.25 pm by Bagpuss. The much-loved animated puppet series is set in Emily’s shop, a home for lost property, where Bagpuss lives.

As Emily leaves the shop, Bagpuss comes to life, as do his friends Professor Yaffle – a woodpecker-shaped bookend – a toad called Gabriel, Madeleine the ragdoll as well as mice ornaments from a magical mouse organ. Each episode sees the characters explore a broken object left in the shop, before repairing it and leaving it in the window so it can be reunited with its owner.

Made by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, the stop motion animation was first broadcast in 1974. Despite only having 13 episodes, the programme has remained hugely popular across generations.

It’s off into space at 7.40 pm with the first episode, from the second series, of The Clangers. Another from the mind of Oliver Postgate, and in this debut edition from the second run of 13 episodes, the aliens find that a strange visitor brings them an unexpected gift. It’s followed at 7.50 pm by Ivor The Engine. This animated cartoon sees Ivor receive an unusual item in the post, which turns out to be a trumpet ideal for rounding up Old Idwoll’s sheep.

At 8 pm spend an hour with Timeshift: Oliver Postgate – A Life in Small Films. The life and work of Oliver Postgate, the man responsible for bringing to life such classic children’s TV shows as Bagpuss, Clangers, Ivor the Engine and Noggin the Nog.

Contributions by the animator’s family and his colleague Peter Firmin tell the stories behind the making of some of his most celebrated characters and reveal how his creations were inspired by radical contemporary politics.

Finally, taking us up to 10 pm and goodnight young viewers, at 9 pm BBC Four brings us From Andy Pandy to Zebedee: The Golden Age of Children’s Television.

Nigel Planer narrates the story of the struggle to make programmes for children in the days before everything went digital.

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