This Show followed the adventures of the "saggy old cloth cat" named Bagpuss. Actually, "adventures" is probably too strong a word, as all the action (such that there was) took place in one room and Bagpuss himself barely moved, not that it mattered. First shown in 1974, only 13 episodes were ever made, but they are still repeated even to this day. A Smallfilms Creation, the same people who brought us Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog and the immortal Clangers.
Each episode revolved around an object which Emily (seen only in the sepia-tinted stills of the opening and closing titles) brought into her "shop" to be repaired. Awakened by Emily's rhyme, Bagpuss would wake up, "and when Bagpuss wakes up, all his friends wake up too". The most important of these were the mice, who did the actual mending (while singing a round of "we will fix it! we will mend it!" to the tune of 15th century folk song Sumer Is Icumen In) and Professor Yaffle, a rather fusty old woodpecker and supposedly knowledgeable about anything and everything, a supposition that the mice would take great glee in proving wrong. Much of each episode would be taken up with the assembled characters trying to work out what the damaged "thing" Emily had brought them actually was, and all would chip in with theories, often in the form of songs and stories. At the end, the repaired item would go in the shop window for the rightful owner to reclaim, and all the characters would go back to sleep until the next time Emily needed their help.
While some would-be tastemakers have derided the show for being the epitome of "easy" nostalgia (perhaps prompted in part by the flood of merchandise that accompanied the show's rediscovery in the 1990s), in truth it is a charming, well-made and often genuinely funny show that fully deserves its place in the pantheon of children's classics.
Narration and all characters voiced by Oliver Postgate, except where otherwise indicated.
- Madeline the Ragdoll - Sandra Kerr
- Gabriel the Toad - John Faulkner
- Professor Yaffle, "a carved wooden bookend in the shape of a woodpecker".
- The Mice
- Emily - Emily Firmin
The titles and credits to Bagpuss took the form of a narrative, which included a short of verse of song, the lyrics for which are given below. The full narrative can be found here.
Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss
Old Fat Furry Catpuss
Wake up and look at this thing that I bring
Wake up, be bright, be golden and light
Bagpuss, oh hear what I sing
Bagpuss merchandise is massively popular and there are countless items of all descriptions on sale.