Once upon a time, in a farmyard not so far away, Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin created some of the most iconic characters of early children’s TV. In the Smallfilms studio – a barn and some outbuildings – Bagpuss was born, the Clangers sprung to life and Ivor the Engine first tooted his horn.
Four Corners’ book is a magical collection of sketches and photographs, storybooks and props revealing the intricate production process behind these much-loved programmes. Pages and pages of floating heads and torso-less arms, bent legs and straight legs, with and without shoes show how characters were patched together and made to move about their watercolour worlds. Shooting scripts are covered in colourful scribbles indicating how the animations were precisely timed to fit the soundtrack and quotations from Oliver and Peter detail how characters were formed in the craft room of their imaginations.
"Originally, Bagpuss was supposed to be a marmalade cat. But we ordered the fabric (from Dunbar Fabrics, Folkestone) and it came back in pink by mistake. A very serendipitous mistake."Peter Firmin