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Western Animation / Willo the Wisp (1981)
aka: Willow The Wisp

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Hello children, would you like to hear a horrid story of dreadful folk?

Willo the Wisp is the title of a 1981 BBC children's programme, and of its 2005 remake. It tells the story of various magical beings living in an enchanted forest, Doily Woods, all voiced by Kenneth Williams, and whose adventures were narrated by Willo the Wisp, a ghostly creature caricature of Kenneth Williams. In the remake, they were voiced by James Dreyfuss of The Thin Blue Line and Gimme, Gimme, Gimme.


  • Willo the Wisp: The Character Narrator, a Will-o'-the-Wisp.
  • Arthur: An opinionated caterpillar who never quite turned into a butterfly. A Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • Mavis Cruet: A very overweight fairy who can't fly. A bit of a romantic.
  • The Moog: A very dim dog-like being. Arthur's pet, but he hangs around with Carwash quite a lot.
  • Carwash: A highly intelligent cat. Usually too intelligent to actually be involved in the story, and just snarks from the sidelines.
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  • The Beast: A handsome prince who gets turned into a beast by Evil Edna in the first episode. Generally obsessed with becoming a handsome prince again.
  • Evil Edna: A Wicked Witch. Also, a talking television set with legs. (In the remake, she transforms herself into a flatscreen in the first episode.)
  • Twit: A small yellow bird. Intelligent, but quietly so.
  • The Astrognats: A group of insect-like space explorers. Their ship is a huge rocket-powered mushroom.


This show contains examples of:

  • And I Must Scream: In one episode Edna turns the Beast into an iced lolly ("And in your old shape, too!"). Then he starts to melt...
  • Beauty to Beast: The Beast, turned from handsome prince to shaggy beast in ep1 and from there any attempts to turn back meet with Failure Is the Only Option.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Carwash apparently has no eyes at all without 'em.
  • British Brevity: Both versions lasted for one season of 26 5 minute episodes, making a total run time of four hours and twenty minutes.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Carwash the Cat, who provides sarcastic commentary on how the current storyline and people in it are acting like idiots.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: The Beast. The magic words he must recite to revert to his true form are, of course, "Round and round the rugged rocks the ragged rascal ran".
  • Fat Comic Relief: Although pretty much everyone takes a turn on being the idiot, Mavis is this more than normal due to her weight and being a bit of a deluded romantic.
  • Inept Mage: Mavis. Seldom do her spells go right, or even work at all.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Willo the Wisp is clearly modelled on a caricature of Williams.
  • Furry Confusion: The caterpillar has a pet dog. Let's not even get into the size discrepancy between the characters.
  • Lemony Narrator: Kenneth Williams' trademark snark is on full display during his narration duties.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In "Edna's Secret", Arthur and his friends are baffled when Evil Edna starts acting cheerful and nice.
  • Spin-Off: In a way; the character design of Willo has its origins in an animated advermentary about British Gas, in which he was a talking blob of natural gas (still played by Williams), initially mistaken for a will o' the wisp.
  • Weight Woe: Mavis. She is insecure about her weight, and also a hopeless romantic.

Alternative Title(s): Willow The Wisp, Willo The Wisp


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