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Rag, Tag and Bobtail and other Magical Stories

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On 1 September 1953 a live programme called Watch with Mother was broadcast in the evening on BBC television, in which Freda Lingstrom and Maria Bird presented excerpts from Andy Pandy, Flower Pot Men and a new show, Rag, Tag and Bobtail, which began transmitting on 10 September 1953. Rag, Tag and Bobtail was narrated by Charles E. Stidwell, and later David Enders and then James Urquhart, and used different puppeteers, Sam and Elizabeth Williams – because its characters were glove puppets rather than marionettes. From April 1963, Watch with Mother was moved to 10.45am (with a further slot at 1.30pm from September 1963). Tales of the Riverbank joined the Watch with Mother Monday slot in December 1963, and caused worries that the original five shows would be replaced. [8]

That 'Rag, Tag and Bobtail', as well as shows like 'Andy Pandy', 'Flower Pot Men' and 'The Woodentops' (all made in similar time frames and also puppet animated and strong on childhood innocence), are not better known today is in my mind not just a shame but somewhat criminal too. While vastly inferior shows with very little quality and charm air regularly on accessible time slots on channels that have not been the same for a long time. Rag, Tag and Bobtail may have ended up as the names of the cute and harmless nursery characters on BBC children's Television, but that naming was, probably quite innocently, derived from a less than savoury bunch. A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew, circa 1700, lists the definition of Riff-Raff as:Furthermore, the writing has a good deal of charm. It is very easy for younger audiences to understand, but does so without resorting to juvenile or dumb humour or using over complex terminology. Older audiences shouldn't find it a problem either, and find plenty to be amused by and be charmed by its simplicity. The stories are full of quaint charm and wisely keep things simple, they don't come over as too slow either. The childhood innocence is very strong and in a way that is immensely charming and hard to resist, without being too sentimental. The later form 'raggle-taggle' is an extension of 'rag-tag'. This was in use from the end of the 19th century, for example, in Sabine Baring-Gould's novel, Urith: a tale of Dartmoor, 1891: A bobtail was the tail a horse which was cut short. Shakespeare makes reference to the word in King Lear, 1605. Soon after that it was used by John Fletcher, in Monsieur Thomas, 1619, as slang for a cur or contemptible rascal. A tag was a piece of torn, hanging-down cloth. Those were combined with rag to form the earlier version of the phrase - tag, rag and bobtail. This was recorded by Samuel Pepys in his Diary for 6th March 1659: The choice of Watch with Mother for the title of the series was intended "to deflect fears that television might become a nursemaid to children and encourage bad mothering". [2] Show cycles [ edit ] Music is easy on the ear and is never overused or bombastic. The theme tune is another catchy and charmingly written one. All the characters are endearing and charmingly quaint and don't come over as one-dimensional.

Rag, Tag and Bobtail is a BBC children's television programme that ran from 1953 to 1965 as the Thursday programme in the weekly cycle of Watch With Mother. The scripts were written by Louise Cochrane, [3] and the series was produced by Freda Lingstrom and David Boisseau. Narration was by Charles E. Stidwell, David Enders, and James Urquhart. [1]In the early 2000s, the shows Andy Pandy and Flower Pot Men were remade as stop motion animations (the latter as Bill and Ben), which aired on CBeebies.

The three main characters are Rag, a hedgehog; Tag, a mouse; and Bobtail, a rabbit; five baby rabbits also appeared occasionally. All the characters are glove puppets, created and operated by Sam and Elizabeth Williams. The stories were simple and there were no catch-phrases as there were in other programmes in the cycle, but the series is still remembered with affection. Twenty-six 12-minute episodes were made, two of which were never broadcast, [1] each shot in a single take. The third of the BBC's 1950s daytime pre-school series (after Andy Pandy, 1950, and The Flower Pot Men, 1952-54) took up a Thursday afternoon slot to form a Tue-Wed-Thur three-day schedule. The strand seemingly having reached criticalWatch with Mother was a cycle of children's programmes created by Freda Lingstrom and Maria Bird. Broadcast by BBC Television from 1952 until 1975, it was the first BBC television series aimed specifically at pre-school children, a development of BBC radio's equivalent Listen with Mother, which had begun two years earlier. In accordance with its intended target audience of pre-school children viewing with their mothers, Watch with Mother was initially broadcast between 3:45pm and 4:00pm, post-afternoon nap and before the older children came home from school. [1] Between 1987 and 1993, four compilation videos with Watch with Mother shows have been released by the BBC. Rag, Tag and Bobtail' is another one of those shows watched in my childhood on videotapes of very old shows (long after the show first aired), some of them with puppetry, that left a big impression on me at the time for its unique characters and ahead of the time atmosphere. Also one of those shows that was forgotten about for a while after it started to fade into relative obscurity. Then saw pictures of the characters somehow by chance when researching old puppet shows and decided to relive those fond memories.

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