Noah and Nelly in… SkylArk – 1976

Noah and Nelly was created by Grange Calveley, of Rhubarb fame. There were fifteen five minute films depicting a world loosely based around Noah’s Ark, screened on BBC1 in 1976.  The show was repeated on the now defunct digital channel: Carlton Kids between 1998 and 2000

Writer Grange Calveley gives us his own take on Noah’s Ark.  In his story there is only one of each animal.  Instead, each animal has two heads.  A cheerful, optimistic head at one end and an unhappy, pessimistic head at the other.  Even the SkylArk itself is a long ship with a figurehead at either end, one smiling, the other frowning.

Despite there only being one of each animal they are always referred to in the plural – Brian the lions and Rose the Elephants.


The plot, follows roughly the same pattern each episode.  Captain Nutty Noah consults a map and randomly picking out a place to visit.  The SkylArk is then shown travelling to its destination by balloon, on wheels, underwater with snorkelling figureheads or occasionally even by sea.

On arriving at their destination, the SkylArk’s crew find various strange inhabitants such as talking television sets who are suffering some kind of problem they can’t solve themselves (for example, the television sets are stuck showing the news over and over again and getting bored).

The animals often help in some way, but the day is invariably saved by Noah’s wife Nelly, who uses her knitting skills to create machines which solve the problem in some way.

Nelly knits everything from drilling rigs to crash helmets; her supply of wool seems almost inexhaustible but she occasionally has to unravel the ship’s sails when she runs out.

We did watch some pretty surreal stuff back in the 1970’s.







Voices Of

Richard Briers
Peter Hawkins


Channel: BBC1
Created By: Grange Calveley
Produced By: Bob Godfrey
Original Transmission Dates: 13th September 1976 – 30th December 1976


During it’s heyday there was a board game – Noah and Nelly’s SkylArk Race game.  If you’ve got one perhaps it’s collectible.

skylark game board from noah and nelly's skylark game
[amazon_enhanced asin=”B00008T7GE” /]

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