This weekend, the UK’s most-loved children’s characters, The Wombles, are celebrating 50 years since they first appeared on television in 1973, with a special series of events that will see the beloved characters re-connect with new audiences and amplify their relevance to new generations.
To kick off proceedings, 10 of the original 60 five-minute episodes will be available to watch on The Wombles YouTube channel (@WomblesOfficial) from Sunday 5th February 2023.
Undoubtedly ahead of their time, The Wombles’ motto “Make Good Use Of Bad Rubbish” and their passion for recycling and upcycling, is more relevant than ever as younger generations continue to learn about the importance of sustainability.
The episodes have been remastered and the resolution upscaled to HD from the original beta cam masters and look and sound better than ever and will be available to watch on The Wombles YouTube channel @womblesofficial . The remaining episodes will be released throughout the year. The Wombles have also announced a year-long partnership with Age UK and will be launching a host of events across the country.
Since coming out of hibernation at the beginning of 2022, Wimbledon Common’s The Wombles have featured in a wide range of environmental campaigns including the annual Great British Spring Clean, #EcoSchoolsAtHome, WRAP’s recycling initiatives, tree planting, beach cleaning and upcycling and were the UK government’s mascots at COP26. In a YouGov survey conducted in 2021 64% of UK adults agreed that ‘because of the environmental crisis across the world, The Wombles are more relevant today than ever.’
The Wombles – furry creatures who lived in The Burrow on Wimbledon Common and included Great Uncle Bulgaria, Orinoco, Madame Cholet – were the original environmental campaigners. They first appeared in a series of children’s novels in 1968 by Elisabeth Beresford.
The characters were all based on Elisabeth’s family members and the name and idea for the much-loved environmental pioneers was sparked when the author’s daughter Kate mispronounced Wimbledon Common during a walk as ‘Wombledon’.
Animated by Ivor Wood and Barry Leith, narrated by Bernard Cribbins and with the theme tune composed by Mike Batt, the series, based on Elisabeth’s books, was voted by the British public as one the top 10 most popular BBC TV children’s programmes of all time.
Speaking about the 50th anniversary and his mother Elisabeth’s iconic characters, Marcus Roberston said: “‘Since first appearing on BBC 50 years ago The Wombles have always been loved both for their hard work clearing up behind untidy humans, but also for their warmth and their occasional foibles. Mum would be very happy that they still appeal to many people of different generations around the world. The Wombles work is never finished and more relevant than ever.”