The Gnomes Of Dulwich – 1969

There’s not much in the way of pictures and no video in existence for this little gem, but we thought you’d find it interesting anyway.  It’s always good to find something you’ve never come across before.

The Gnomes Of Dulwich was a BBC sitcom written by Jimmy Perry (Dad’s Army etc), that ran for just six episodes in 1969.

Perry had a lifelong interest in gnomes and having completed two series of Dad’s Army was given an opportunity to explore his passion.  The result was The Gnomes Of Dulwich about three gnomes that live at the bottom of a garden in 25 Telegraph Road.

Originally Jimmy Perry had envisaged the idea as sketch material with Morecambe and Wise playing the parts.  It was Perry’s wife who persuaded him to make a full series from the material and so: in 1969 on the new BBC2 channel and in colour a full series was commissioned.

Terry Scott and Hugh Lloyd were the stars with John Clive joining them to become three stone gnomes who looked d0wn on their next door counter parts in a superior way, after all nextdoor’s “Empire Gnomes” were made from plastic.

Regretfully only six episodes were ever made and to date they are missing from the BBC archives presumed wiped.


Big, Small and Old would appear to the world to be just three stone gnomes but, when darkness falls, they take on a life of their own. As true, British gnomes they take exception to the Empire-made gnomes next door.

Although humans feature in the series they are never seen, only heard.  The stone gnomes would help the audience take a new perspective on human behaviour by discussing the goings on in the house and yet exhibit the same snobbish attitude towards their plastic neighbours.





Terry Scott    …    Big
Hugh Lloyd    …    Small
John Clive    …    Old
Leon Thau    …    Empire Gnome
Lynn Dalby    …    Empire Gnome
Anne De Vigier    …    Empire Gnome


Channel: BBC2
Written By: Jimmy Perry
Produced By: Sydney Lotterby
Original Transmission Dates: 12th May 1969 – 16th May 1969

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3 Responses

  1. Adam Bridg

    Someone should drag whoever was in charge at the BBC at the time and hang him for allowing these and other BBC shows to have ever been wiped. Unfortunately he’s probably dead by now anyway.

    I remember only one thing from this series (I was only a youngster at the time) it aired. Firstly one of the gnomes (Old ?) was usually asleep leaning on his shovel and was always waking up saying “Have I missed anything ?’ The other thing I recall was when Terry Scott’s gnome character, Big, had fallen into a deep hole. To work out how deep the hole was and presumably to be able to effect a rescue, his gnome friend Small, played by Hugh Lloyd, dropped a piece of coal down the hole with a view to being able to work out the depth of the hole by some calculation once the weight of the coal was known. The coal hits Terry Scott’s gnome character on the head and Hugh Lloyd shouts down the hole “How heavy was that lump of coal ? ” to which Terry Scott replies “Bloody Heavy !”.

    I still laugh at that line today, 45 years later.

  2. Bill

    Deeply saddened to learn this piece of comedy history. Instead of wiping them why not archive them or even sell them to a collector who would have without doubt taken good care of them. Damn the almighty BBC


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