"Andy Pandy's coming to play...
Tra-la-la la-la la...."
This fondly recalled tv series featured a
little puppet boy in a striped romper suit
and his friends, a cute and cuddly articulated
teddy bear called Teddy and a pretty
ragdoll called Looby Loo. These three
jolly characters would dance and frollick
and play games in and around their nursery
and garden, and they'd encourage
younger viewers to participate at home. At
the end of each broadcast they would
sing their goodbyes to us...
And that was it. Nothing more substantial,
but at the time, it worked splendidly.
Of course, today's viewers loook upon these
shows as being patronising. They
question the "relationship" between
the three stars in between knowing winks and
nudges and it's all terribly tedious. The point is
all of the shows in these children's
broadcast slots were absolutely right for the
period. The BBC was seen as being
"Auntie" to the nation, and here
was the perfect way to entertain and educate
younger viewers the length and breadth of the
"Andy Pandy" was created by
Frieda Lingstrom and Maria Bird at the behest of
the BBC. They formed Westerham Arts Ltd,
named after the village where they
lived, in Kent. It was also home to the
craftman who originally scuplted their
Andy Pandy puppet.
Andy Pandy first came to play on July 11th
1950. 26 black and white films were
made and broadcast repeatedly on the BBC,
mainly as part of the the channel's
"Watch With Mother" children's
slot, but it's a popular misconception that Andy
and friends were created specifically
for that strand when, in actuality, they
came to life earlier (see
Such was the wear and tear on the original
films, that the BBC were eventually
forced to approach Westerham for new productions,
and in 1970 13 new colour
episodes started the rounds...
Andy spawned a licensing gold rush, with a
myriad of books, toys and collectables
available for fans. He was also the cover
star of "Robin" comic. Even in to the 1980's,
retailers like Boots were still selling
tie-in merchandise, like this book of reprinted
And of course, Andy has now gone on to bigger,
brighter things courtsey of the
folks at Cosgrove Hall. Their recent stop-motion
series has been a big hit here
in the UK, with new tie-in toys and goodies
In the 1940's the BBC was looking to develop
a television strand based on the
success of their popular "Listen With
Mother" radio broadcasts. "For The Children"
started broadcasting 1946 and made a houshold
name of "Muffin The Mule".
By the time of "Andy Pandy"s first broadcasts,
the strand had changed its name
to "For The Very Young". "The
Flowerpot Men" joined Andy in 1952. And then,
in 1953, the strand changed its name once
more to "Watch With Mother".
By 1955 there were "Watch With Mother"
shows being broadcast every day
of the week, and the line-up of shows stayed
the same through to the middle
of the 1960s:
Tag & Bobtail