Once upon a time...
not so long ago...
there was a little girl and her name was Emily.
And she had a shop.
The shop, Bagpuss & Co, was very unusual in that it never sold anything; it was full of things that people had lost and Emily had found. This business model is never called into question.Bagpuss
is an Oliver Postgate
/Smallfilms animation, which means it works at approximately three frames per second. Most of the show was produced using Stop Motion
, except for some of the stories and songs which were illustrated by paper cutout animation. Postgate had used both techniques before, but had never combined them in a single series. Some of the scenes involving Gabriel singing included a few live-action shots of him strumming his guitar, and the opening titles depict Emily in a series of sepia-tinted still photographs.
Each episode begins with Emily leaving some item in the shop. When she has gone, Bagpuss and his friends wake up and try to figure out what the object is, and repair it. In the process they tell lots of stories (based on folk tales from around the world) and sing songs.Bagpuss
is still fondly remembered (there is even a Shout-Out
to it in Spaced
), and is widely regarded as the pinnacle of Postgate's career, along with The Clangers
- Emily, who only appears in the title sequence.
- Bagpuss, an old, saggy cloth cat, baggy and a bit loose at the seams. But Emily loved him.
- The mice, decorations on the Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ. The mice clean and repair the week's object whilst singing cheerfully.
- Professor Yaffle, a carved wooden bookend in the shape of a woodpecker. Yaffle lends his rather fusty expertise to working out what the object is.
- Madeleine the rag doll, who tells stories.
- Gabriel the toad, who plays the banjo.
This series contains examples of:
- British Brevity: Thirteen episodes were made.
- Living Toys: all except Professor Yaffle, who is a bookend.
- Opening Narration: See the quote at top of page. There is also a closing narration.
- Team Mom: Madeleine tends to play this, sorting out disputes between the toys with her calmer maternal nature.
- The Danza: Emily is played by Emily Firmin, the daughter of Postgate's partner and character designer, Peter Firmin.
- Stop Motion: All of the action involving the main characters and some of the stories, except for short live-action shots when Gabriel is strumming his guitar.