The Pogles, 1965, Pogle’s Wood, 1966
Even Children’s TV Can Be Controversial……
Many readers will be aware of how certain TV shows have courted controversy over the years. From Love Thy Neighbour, Till Death Us Do Part to the famous drowning scene in Doctor Who, but who would think of a children’s program?
The Pogles was a 1960’s children’s TV series created by the Peter Fimin and Oliver Postgate. It ran for just six episodes within the childrens’ magazine programme Clapperboard, in 1965.
The original six episodes broadcast under the titles The Pogles, were considered to be very dark and disturbing.
Such was the concern over these first episodes they were broadcast only once after which, the BBC declared it “too frightening” (for its proposed inclusion in it’s Watch With Mother slot, which had a very young audience), and asked Oliver Postgate to make all future episodes revolve around more everyday countryside matters.
The Pogles continued for a further twenty six episodes entitled Pogle’s Wood. The story arc did indeed change to revolve around less sinister matters. The series was repeated regularly until 1973.
The Pogles were tiny magical beings who lived in a hollow tree in a wood. The four principals were Mr and Mrs Pogle, their adopted son Pippin, and a squirrel-like creature named Tog, who was Pippin’s playmate.
The original series told how the Magic Plant came to live with Mr and Mrs Pogle… and also revealed the truth about Pippin’s real identity, as the foundling son of the King of the Fairies (Pippin is seen only as a baby, and Tog does not appear at all).
The story centred on a dark and evil old shape-changing Witch, and the overall tone of the series was sinister and disturbing.
The first 13 episodes of the revised show centred on farm and countryside life, viewed through the eyes of Pippin, Tog, and Mr & Mrs Pogle.
The second thirteen episodes had a stronger story element, wherein Pippin and Tog typically find an object and take it back to the storytelling plant, who brings it to life.
Olwen Griffiths – Mrs Pogle and Pippin
Steve Woodman – Plant and Tog
Oliver Postgate – Pogle, The Witch, King of the Fairies, Hedgepig, Fairies
Created By: Peter Fimin and Oliver Postgate
Written By: Oliver Postgate
Puppets and Pictures: Peter Firmin
Original Transmission Dates
The Pogles: 29th July – 2nd September 1965
Pogle’s Wood: April 1966 – January 1968