The Hound says "Welcome to Toonhound!" Toonhound logo
  cartoons, animation, comic strips and puppets in the UK  Union Jack


  british toon
  news & chatter
  animated films
  & shorts

  animated series

  animation studios

  & people

  string, hand
  & finger puppets

  characters, strips
  & comic books

  British animators
  & illustrators


Toonhound presents...






British TV series

    The Herbs from FilmFair


   small spacer

The Herbs   (1968)
  small spacer too
producers: FilmFair Ltd for the BBC
      animation: stop-motion animation
        episodes: 13 x 13 mins

  spacer number two

     ...That was the secret word you used to open the magic door to the garden
     of The Herbs. It was actually owned by Sir Basil and Lady Rosemary and
     was styled after a walled manor house-type garden, with lots of bedding plants
     and a great glass greenhouse-come-conservatory at its heart. Everyone surely
     knows The Herbs' main character, droll Parsley The Lion and his excitable best
     friend Dill The Dog. The other animated creations were a mixture of animals and
     humans - Constable Knapweed, Sage The Owl, Pashana Bedi, Bella Donna
     The Witch, Tarragon The Dragon and more. Each episode began outside the
     garden door with a short introduction, like this one for "Parsley's Birthday

       "Parsley is a herb. A very useful kind of herb. I don't know
        what we'd do without Parsley. Of course, it's like a lot of
        other things, it gets taken for granted. But I suspect we
        would miss it soon enough if it wasn't there one day..."

     Beyond the garden wall, each character would be introduced via a short song
     - well - more of a musical couplet than a song, as such. These were witty little
     ditties were revised from episode-to-episode to reflect the mood of the singer
     at the time. Parsley's were variations on a humble theme, like this:

       "I'm a very friendly lion called Parsley,
        I am always very glad to see you wave.
        But please don't shout or speak to me too harshly,
        because I'm not particularly brave..."

     "The Herbs" were created by Michael Bond (Paddington), who came up with
     the notion of walking, talking herbs when watching the parsley in his garden,
     blowing around on the wind like a lion's mane. The characters were then brought
     to life by Graham Clutterbuck, Ivor Wood and the team FilmFair. The series
     was first broadcast in the BBC's "Watch With Mother" slot and was one of the
     first wave of productions made in colour. It was an immediate hit with viewers,
     it spawned numerous licensed products and led to a spin-off series called
     The Adventures of Parsley.

      Parsley Annual 1972  with art by Eso The Herbs - Sugarlump Studios figures from 2002

     Ah, yes. Parsley the Lion. He quickly became the star of the show. He
     was surely fashioned from the same ironic mould as comedian Tony Hancock.
     His melancholic ways and wiles were offset beautifully by his exhausting
     companion Dill.
They made a fabulous double act.

     Like so many of those "Watch With Mother" gems, only 13 episodes were
    ever produced, but their repetition over the years meant that they were seen
    by an awful lot of people. Seen and recalled with great affection, to this day,
    as it happens...

» Trivia Hounds will note that, in "The Herbs" Parsley doesn't actually speak.
         Instead, he simply reacts to the characters and events around him, with
         Gordon Rollings speaking his thoughts in narrative form...


    The Herbs - Sir Basil & Lady Rosemary - from FilmFair

    Know your herbs

    Parsley the Lion                 Pashana Bedi the Snake Charmer
    Dill the Dog                       Mr Onion the Schoolmaster
    Sage the Owl                    Mrs Onion
    Bayleaf the Gardener          The Chives
    Sir Basil                            Aunt Mint
    Lady Rosemary                  Miss Jessop
    Constable Knapweed           Signor Solidago the music teacher     
    Belladonna the Witch          Good King Henry 
    Tarragon the Dragon

  spacer number two

    Episode titles

    Parsley's Tail
    Sage's Nest Blows Down
    Belladonna the Witch
    Tarragon and the Eggs
    The Chives Catch Colds
    Pashana Bedi the Snake Charmer
    Miss Jessop Tidies Up
    Parsley and the Circus Lion
    Sage's Singing Lesson
    Strawberry Picking
    Sir Basil's Fishing Expedition
    The Show
    Parsley's Birthday Party
  spacer number two

    Broadcast info

     The series premiered as part of BBC1's "Watch With Mother" timeslot
     on Monday 12th February 1968...

  spacer number two

     The Herbs on DVD

     Green fingered fans may want to track down this complete collection,
     which features every episode of "The Herbs" and "The Adventures of Parsley":

     UK DVD
The Herbs/Parsley - The Complete Collection
                Region 2 / Tempo TV Classics / May 2008

    Alternatively, you can sample the series via these two releases:

     UK DVD The Herbs - Parsley's Tail
                 Region 2 / five episodes / Abbey Home Media / Feb 2006

     UK DVD The Herbs - The Snake Charmer
                Region 2 / five episodes / Abbey Home Media / Feb 2007

  spacer number two

     The Herbs by Michael Bond
     produced by FilmFair London
     director:            Ivor Wood
     exec prod:         Graham Clutterbuck
     puppets:            Ivor Wood
     music:               Tony Russell
     lyrics:                Brenda Johnson
     story editor:      Gordon Rollings
     designer:           Rafael Esteve
     asst animator:   Claude Copin
     narrator:           Gordon Rollings

  spacer number two

     On the web

      Little Gems
      The Gems give us three fine pages on info and screen grabs...

      The Herbs + Parsley
      Lots of series info and biographical detail here from Jay...

      Abbey Home Media
      Abbey distribute the UK DVDs. They have their own web store too...

      index »    previous »    next »      

© FilmFair London / F2008