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IT'S A PUPPET!
& finger puppets
& comic books
Foodle Bird (1991)
producers: H.A.P.P.Y. / BBC
episodes: 13 x 10mins
the end of the last episode? - You do?
Then what am I doing here!"
Bruce Forsyth gets shirty
When you wish upon a star, magical things can
happen. Take young Algernon.
This young lad wished upon a lucky star and found
the extraordinary Fiddley
Foodle Bird standing next to him. Fiddley has
unique and uncontrollable
powers that allow him to change his colour and size
at will. Handy for getting
folks out of scrapes and predicaments, but equally
liable to get Algernon, Mrs
Grumblebaum the housekeeper and Algernon's pals into
scrapes and predicaments in the first place!
The Fiddley Foodle Bird's full name is actually
the Fiddley Foodle Bim Bam
Boodle Oo-diddly Doodle Oodle Bird, and his discovery
and arrival in Algernon's
home is revealed in the breathless opening narration:
"Long, long ago there was a magical time,
when all the creatures
from legends, myths and fairytales roamed
the earth. One, however,
was much too silly to be believed in. It
was the Fiddley Foodle Bim
Bam Boodle Oo-diddly Doodle Oodle Bird. One picture
of him existed
in an ancient magic book discovered by a couple
of potty explorers,
who were lost, exploring in a sieve (serves
them right!). The book
was found, one christmas night by their
lonely young son Algernon.
He saw something really special in the friendly
face of the creature,
made a wish upon his Lucky Star, and to
his amazement the
Fiddley-Foodle Bird came to life. And this,
of course, is where
our story really begins..."
And that little lot is shoehorned into the credits
sequence of every episode!
Algernon's adventures are hindered and undermined
by his dastardly relative,
Uncle Arbathnot ("I bath not" - geddit?).
He's a True Blue vaudeville villain complete
with top hat and twiddling moustache, and he has
two cronies, a hired musclebrain
called Mister Damage and a flowery French seducer called
In the opening episode "Foodle
Power", these three felons inveigle their way
into Algernon's home, intent on retreiving a coveted
treasure map. But our
heroes thwart their wiley scheme and set off with
the map to retrieve both the
treasure and Algernon's parents who are lost on
the self-same Egg-Shaped
Island in the middle of the Specific Ocean (yes,
you heard right, it's "specific").
What follows is a madcap series of cliffhanging
episodes in which Algernon and
company and his pursuers follow the MerseySippi
Drift (an ocean current) all the
way to their island destiny. Joining them are
Captain Jollylegs and his ship
mates, including his Last Mate (there's no First
Mate here). Meanwhile, Uncle
Arbathnot teams up with the mad pirate Pierre Head,
who he finds stranded
in the middle of the SoGuessWho Sea. And - well
- suffice it to say, the plot
is as convuluted, ridiculous and knotted as a
Scout Master's Woggle.
It's all jolly silly, and jolly good fun, with
the series improving handsomely after
a not-quite-so-successful first episode. Events
are regularly punctuated by
some witty narration from comedian/entertainer
extraordinaire Bruce Forsyth,
there's lots of corny word games and a liberal
dollop of knockabout songs
which spoof show tunes, pop hits and almost
Fiddley Foodle Bird" series was directed by Tony Garth, who
worked on DangerMouse
for Cosgrove Hall. Interesting to note that, actually,
because this shares much in theme and spirit with
that gem of a show.
Tony has gone on to bring us the likes of Microscopic
Milton and those
Fiddley Foodle Bird is a truly legendary creature. The late comedian
Wall made a record about him
back in 1973 - which may explain why we now
have Bruce Forsyth, one of
Max's Variety Show contemporaries, narrating
these tickling tales...
Algernon is almost able to control his pal Fiddley by giving him lots
encouragement. If this
dotty bird feels loved and appreciated all that size-
swapping and colour-swatching
becomes ever-so slightly more manageable...
look at this! - A freezeframe of the opening sequence reveals this
rather sneaky aside concerning
Tony Garth. On the left-hand page of
the Magic Book it says:
Garth has got
Goodness, that's despicable!...
Yolks on Who?
No Business Like Snow Business
the Dino Saw
Hic Hic Wooray
Planks a Lot
Ee No Come Back Again?
first episode "Foodle Power" premiered on BBC1,
8th January 1992, at 4.15pm. The series
thirteen weeks, concluding
- rather aptly - on 1st April.
Pendants will note that, from episode
the Dino Saw"
the broadcast time shifted back ten
minutes to 4.06pm...
based upon the original story by Jonathan Hodge
by Jonathan Hodge and Stuart Leathwood
exec prods: Theresa
Ambler, Andy Taylor (H.A.P.P.Y.)
Don Arioli, Jonathan Hodge, Stuart Leathwood
title song: Jonathan
Hodge, Bob Saker
orig songs: Jonathan
Hodge, Stuart Leathwood, Julian Littman
Hodge, Julian Littman
recorded at: Honeywood
Productions, Clinton J Priest
Love Gittens, Stephen Hales, Billy Allison,
Turner, Paul Smith, Denise Smith,
Smith, Malc Smith,
& layouts: Vince
James, Jeremy Lounge, Miss Spomin
& Xerox: Lynn
Durans, Kate Smith
Karina Stanford, Margaret Johnson
paint & trace
paint & trace: Michael
Ambler, Anne Marie Briggs,
Knapper, David McGuire,
Marshall, Greg Smith, Paul Murphy,
Walsh, Fabian White, Tanya Blosen
prod man: Heather
John Cook, Charles Heath
rostrum cam: Glynis
superv cam: Alec
Gillespie & Silk Sound
Waterman (Fiddley Foodle Bird)
Bruce Forsyth (narrator)
Robbins (Mrs Grumblebaum)
HIT now have the rights to Fiddley,
and he's there in their catalogue
along with all the other series
and creations they currently own...
director's home on the web...
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Foodle Bird Productions Ltd / HIT Entertainment / F2009