This extraordinary engine who lives in the “top left-hand corner of Wales”, sings in a Welsh male-voice choir and has a dragon housed in his firebox, was invented, or perhaps discovered, by Oliver Postgate (cousin of Murder, She Wrote’s Angela Lansbury) and Peter Firmin over 60 years ago. The Complete Collection contains 24 colour episodes.
In the 1950s Postgate and Firmin’s production company Smallfilms set out to create affordable animation. Together they proceeded to create shows loved by generations including Bagpuss (voted No 1 in a 1999 BBC poll of children’s programmes), The Saga of Noggin the Nog and The Clangers.
Ivor the Engine was originally made in black and white in 1959, in a tumbledown cowshed in Kent. The stories, including some new ones, were refilmed in colour in the 1970’s, but were still animated by the simple direct method (cardboard cut-outs painted with watercolours and the use of Blu Tack) which gave the series its original charm.
The series was inspired by an engine-driver friend of Postgate who talked about engines coming to life when you spent enough time with them – and the poetry of Dylan Thomas. Many of the characters were voiced by Postgate as well, as low tech sound effects including the sound of Ivor’s puffing. The music was composed by Vernon Elliott, predominantly featuring a solo bassoon reflecting the three notes of Ivor’s whistle.
Ivor the Engine was nominated for a Bafta Award in 1978. Postgate and Firmin were jointly presented with the 2007 Action for Children’s Arts JM Barrie Award “for a lifetime’s achievement in delighting children”. Postgate died the following year, and Firmin received a special award at the 2014 Bafta Children’s Awards. Firmin died in 2018.
Release Date: Aug 08 2020