Noggin the Nog, 1959
Noggin the Nog is a popular British children’s character that appeared in his own TV series (of the same name) and series of illustrated books.
He was the brainchild of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin. The TV series is considered a “cult classic” from the golden age of British children’s television. Noggin himself is a simple, kind and unassuming King of the Northmen in a roughly Viking-age setting, with various fantastic elements such as dragons, flying machines and talking birds.
The series was first broadcast on 11 September 1959 by the BBC and ran until 1965. Twenty-one programs were made in black and white, and six in colour, each at a running time of ten minutes, by a company called Smallfilms.
In 1979 it made a comeback it ran for just six episodes and this time was made in colour. It comprised one new two-part story and a colour remake of the second saga, originally a six-parter, “Noggin and the Ice Dragon”. This colour series of Noggin the Nog ran until mid-1980. Although the level of stop-motion animation was considered basic, for the time it did not detract from the popularity of the series.
Many of Oliver Postgate’s other shows would also go on to become cult classics.
The stories were based around the central character of Noggin, the simple good-natured son of Knut, King of the Nogs, and his Queen Grunhilda.
When King Knut dies, Noggin must find a Queen to rule beside him or else forfeit the crown to his uncle, Nogbad the Bad. After many adventures, Noggin meets and marries Nooka of the Nooks, (an Eskimo princess), and becomes the new King. Noggin and Nooka have a son, Knut, who comes to the fore in later storylines.
Other regular characters included:
Thor Nogson – Noggin’s friend and Captain of the Royal Guard. Nogson portrays himself as “fierce”, but is actually anything but.
Olaf the Lofty – An eccentric but well-meaning inventor. Olaf’s inventions rarely work out exactly as he intends them to.
Graculus – A big green bird who arrives as Nooka’s messenger in the first episode. Later by chance they return to the place of his birth and meet his family, who unlike him are incapable of human speech.
Groliffe – A friendly ice dragon who Noggin befriends, and who helps Noggin and his friends in a later episode.
Although the individual stories vary, any trouble encountered by the heroes is usually caused by Nogbad the Bad, who never gives up trying to claim Noggin’s throne for himself.
Written By: Oliver Postgate
Produced By: Smallfilms
Directed By: Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate
Original Transmission Dates: 1959 – 1965 and 1979 – 1980