If you are aged between 30-60 years of age then chances are you will have grown up with Andy Pandy and his puppet friends Looby Loo the rag doll and Teddy. Originally aired on BBC’s Watch With mother in 1952, its popularity took hold from just 26 episodes in black and white that were repeated until 1970, and then new colour episodes were filmed in the 1980s.
Who could forget the hit childrens’ classics Andy Pandy’s Coming To Play, Here We Go Looby Lou and Time to Go Home, all sung in the most proper Queen’s English. Maybe you know that one of the puppeteers was Audrey Atterbury, mother of one Paul Atterbury, the 20th century expert on the Antiques Roadshow on whom the Andy puppet is said to be modelled. Well he certainly has a noted preference for vertical stripes, I think I’d fall off the sofa if he appeared in anything but a striped blazer. Perhaps he is covertly reminding viewers of his heritage.
The Jump-Up Book is a pop-up with story text by Maria Bird and illustrated by Matvyn Wright. Published by Purcell it is undated (comments welcomed on date) but its likely to be 1950’s. Each of the 16 pages has enough text for a bedtime story, or is short and simplified enough for an younger child to try reading. Andy, Looby and Ted show round their home, feed the pet rabbits, help with the harvest, make paper crowns, play at circus, make sandcastles, play at shops and then say goodnight from the picnic basket. Its all good wholesome stuff, and of course its imperative (either for the sake of continuity or very politically correct sunscreen not sure which) that Andy is bedecked in full romper suit, tri-corn woolly hat and shoes even on the beach.
But the best feature for me are the illustrations, which are just plain in your face vibrant, with primary red, yellow and blue featuring which in turn help children to learn their colours. They play outside in idyllic countryside and its always sunny. There are no time limits, distractions, litter, transport or adults. In short its a world just for children.
Its a 20th century classic which Paul Atterbury can be proud of.