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Western Animation / Postman Pat

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Right to left: Postman Pat and his black and white cat.
"Postman Pat, Postman Pat, Postman Pat and his black and white cat."

1981 British stop motion series set around the life of postman Pat Clifton and his job as the only local postman for the village of Greendale. He is constantly accompanied by his black and white cat Jess. Fondly remembered by many Brits and considered a essential childhood show. In fact, he's so ingrained into British culture that Royal Mail used him as their official mascot until 2000. Another version of the show was made in 2004 which expanded on the original concept slightly.

2008 has given us a new spin-off Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service an "action packed" version set in the new town of Pencaster with Pat's reliable "PAT 1" red Royal Mail van being replaced by:

  • An "Eco-Van" for large deliveries ("PAT 2")
  • A "Mini Van" for smaller deliveries ("PAT 4"; the same design as PAT 1)
  • A motorbike ("PAT 5")
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  • And a Helicopter for tricky deliveries ("PAT 3")

First aired on BBC1 and still considered an essential CBBC show to this day. Episodes can be watched on the official YouTube channel.

An all-CGI movie was released in 2014, set in the same continuity as the Special Delivery Service series. The movie's plot centers around Pat revealing he can sing rather well and auditioning for reality show "You're The One", leading to newfound stardom, but also having to choose between becoming a superstar or sticking with being a postman. Oh, and there's a bizarre subplot about SDS being taken other by Pat-robots.


Tropes in this show include:

  • Actor Allusion: In the movie, one of the bad guys, who is about to be shot by an evil robot, says "I don't want to go". Guess the voice actor?
  • Adorkable: Pat in the movie.
  • Affectionate Parody:
    • Harry Enfield made a version titled Il Postino Pat (Which is also the title of the actual Italian dub of the show), which changes the style to that of an Italian opera... and has Pat shot by fascists. Bonus points for having the same awkward walk and jerky movements of the stop motion animation transferred to the live actors.
    • Later Enfield would make another one with Paul Whitehouse, titled Parking Pattaweyo, starring a mild-mannered (or not) African traffic warden named, well, Pattaweyo. ...And his black and white cattaweyo.
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: Postman Pat's Birthday sees Pat keeping his birthday a secret, up until he finds out that everyone knows about it, but they wouldn't tell him how!
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Pat's copies in the Big Damn Movie.
  • Art Evolution: From stop-motion models in the early 80s to fully-rendered CGI in 2014. It's kind of running parallel to the likes of Thomas the Tank Engine, Noddy and Fireman Sam.
  • Big Damn Movie: Postman Pat: The Movie has Pat foiling a plot to Take Over the World with robotic postmen. Yes, really.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Happens in this Specsavers advert.
  • Butt-Monkey: Will in the movie.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted, Jess is sometimes mischievous but never mean.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: Or Postman Pat's [Fill the blank]
  • Chekhov's Gun: Will's allergy to cats and Josh's video game skills are what lead to the defeat of the Big Bad in the movie.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: A few key supporting characters; Miss Hubbard, Peter Fogg, Granny Dryden, Major Forbes, George Lancaster and Sam Waldron vanished when the series was revived.
  • Cool Car: His bright red van.
  • Darker and Edgier: The movie. Unlike the TV series, the movie actually had villains.
  • Deus ex Machina: In the movie, the Patbots are easily shut down when Josh somehow takes control of them with his handheld.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: For the first 6 episodes, Pat's van bore a generic crown emblem before Royal Mail gave permission to use their logo. Also the entire first series is "voiced" by Ken Barrie on his own, men, women and children alike, although it's mostly done as narration rather than having him really pretend to be lots of people.
  • Easy Impersonation: In the movie, people keep mistaking Patbot for the real Pat despite it being obviously robotic and the real Pat obviously being too busy with his newfound celebrity to do postal work.
  • Episode Tagline: The episode "A Spotty Situation", the townspeople get chicken pox one by one and Pat tells them "Don't forget to gargle", repeating what one girl told him earlier. At the end, they all gargle, so loudly that they can be heard from the street.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Yes, for the daily life of a postman.
  • The Film of the Series: In the form of a 3-D movie starring the likes of David Tennant and Rupert Grint, released in 2014.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Pat is guilty of these, and that's why he was banned in Japan!
  • Happily Married: Pat and Sara.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Postman Pat (or just Pat in the 80s episodes) is in almost every title. Save two in the first season.
  • Injured Limb Episode: The climax of one episode focuses on Jess falling down a hole and breaking his leg.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Will and Josh really do look a lot like David Tennant and Rupert Grint.
  • Inspirationally Disabled: Special Delivery Service added a girl in a wheelchair to Pat's son's school class.
  • Job Song:
    • The theme is about Pat's job as a postman.
    • One song is about Ted Glenn's job fixing things.
  • The Kiddie Ride: The infamous post van (PAT 1), originally made by OMC Electronics in 1992, which saw two redesigns when license was first transferred to Mitchells in 1997, then Fun2Learn in 2007. Amutec has also released two designs of the Special Delivery Service Helicopter (PAT 3) from Postman Pat: SDS in 2008. OMC Electronics also made a ride in June 1994 with a strange and weird design where kids sat on a sack of mail next to Pat and Jess. Notably though, the rides are popular enough in the UK to warrant an appearance (albeit apparently in the form of a generic postie van modified to play the Postman Pat theme tune) in the Mr. Bean episode Mind The Baby, Mr. Bean. They even appeared outside the REAL post offices!
  • Licensed Game: In the late 80s, tonnes of Postman Pat games came out for various popular computer platforms in the UK. They were made by the notorious Alternative Software. The SDS spinoff saw one game for the iPhone/iPod.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Pretty much applies to all the characters in the show, espeially Pat as he's rarely seen out of his uniform.
    • The movie reveals he even wore his uniform at his wedding!
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Pat appeared in 5 children's compilation tapes that weren't made by The BBC. The first was Postman Pat's Birthday in NSPCC Children's TV Favourites Volume 1 in 1990, then came an excerpt from Postman Pat's ABC in NSPCC Children's TV Favourites Volume 2 (when they should've used an episode from the TV show) in 1993, Postman Pat's Birthday again in My Best Friends, also in 1993, Rainy Day in My Best Friends Too in 1994, and a 1996 episode, Hole in the Road, in Calling all Toddlers in 1999. He most certainly was big for a postman...
  • Minimalist Cast: The entire first series was "voiced" by Ken Barrie alone. The second series added Carole Boyd to do the women and children, before the third series finally got a full voice cast.
  • Mistaken for Thief: In "The Stolen Strawberries", P.C. Selby thinks Jess stole some strawberries but really the birds did.
  • Nice Guy: Pat is always kind, helpful and polite to everyone.
  • No Antagonist: Most episodes are like this, with inclement weather, lost kites, special events (such as fetes and birthdays) and too-small suits of armour amongst others typically being the things that drive the plot, rather than a conflict between characters. It's a different matter in The Movie, however ...
  • Oop North: Greendale is supposedly in Cumbria, and Pencaster is supposed to be in North Yorkshire.
  • Plank Gag: While Pat rollerskates down a road, George walks across with a ladder. Pat hits the ladder and sends him spinning around.
  • Puppy Love: In the new series, there are occasional mild hints of this between Julian and Meera.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: The DVD releases of the first two series both use the Series 2 title sequence with the Series 3 theme song, due to problems with the rights to the original theme.
  • Santa Ambiguity: The old man in "Postman Pat's Magic Christmas" sure behaves as though he's Santa, but he's never confirmed to be.
  • She's a Man in Japan: In the Norwegian translation, Jess is called "Miss" and is female.
  • Shout-Out: Everyone not telling Pat how they knew it was his birthday is a reference to that famous quote "That's for me to know and you to find out!", but Reverend Timms' reaction? "He who reads shalt learn!"
  • Slice of Life
  • Spin-Off: Spun off twice: First into Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service, and at the same time Jess got his own show targeted at toddlers, Guess with Jess.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Postman Pat often hums the theme song.
  • Theme Tune Extended: Ken Barrie released a three minute version of the original theme in 1982. Somewhat unjustly, it reached only 44 in the charts.
  • Title Theme Tune: "Postman Pat/Postman Pat/Postman Pat and his black and white cat..."
  • Token Minority: The Baines Family, Token Asians added to the cast for the 00s series.
  • Vanity License Plate: PAT (insert number here). To add salt to the wound, he drives a van with the Royal Mail logo on it!


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