Friday, 31 January 2014

Flashback Friday - Willo The Wisp

Willo The Wisp

It was just another ordinary day in Doyle Woods when suddenly.......

Willo the Wisp was first broadcast in 1981.  It followed the adventures of animated characters through their day in Doyle Woods.  All the voices were provided by Kenneth Williams.

The series was written and directed by Nick Spargo and produced by Nicholas Cartoon Films in association with the BBC and Tellytales Enterprises. However the actual character of Willo the Wisp originated in 1975 in an educational animation for British Gas.

Only 26 episodes were made in total, lasting just 5 minutes each.  and were broadcast on BBC 1. The original series was repeated on Galaxy Kids Club (aka Sky Kids) in 1989 and on Channel 4 during the early 1990s.

The Characters

Willo the Wisp - the narrator. A blue floating ghost-like creature, The name almost certainly refers to the ghostly light 'will-o'-the-wisp' from folklore.

Mavis Cruet - A plump clumsy fairy with erratic magical powers.

Evil Edna - A witch in the form of a walking, talking television set who could zap people with her aerials.  As the name suggetss she wasn't very nice

Arthur - a caterpillar.

Carwash - a snooty bespectacled cat.

The Moog- A dog-like creature who was unable to think for himself.

Twit - a small bird.

The Beast - who began life as the dim Prince Humbart The Handsome.  He couldn't pronounce the letter r correctly; an unfortunate encounter with Edna ended up with his transformation into a hairy shambling creature.

For the new generation, a second series of 26 episodes (5 minutes each) was produced by Bobby Spargo in 2005. This time it was voiced by James Dreyfus. Although it maintains the style of the original some alterations we made to bring it up to date.

  • Willo no longer had the original long pointy nose, a caricature of Williams. He now sports a slightly smaller nose and moustache, portraying Dreyfus.
  • Mavis is now slimmer (although still too heavy to fly), could this be to do with childhood obisity figures?.
  • Evil Edna is now a widescreen television, with a wheeled stand instead of the original's metal legs.

The second series aired on Playhouse Disney in the UK.

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