Wombles film – Wombling Free

Wombling Free, a full-length, live-action Wombles film, was released in 1977 by the Rank Organisation. It’s had several video and DVD releases.

Main credits:

  • Written and directed by Lionel Jeffries
  • Produced by Ian Shand
  • Music score and lyrics by Mike Batt
  • Screenplay consultant – Elisabeth Beresford
  • Roland Frogmorton – David Tomlinson
  • Julia Frogmorton – Frances de la Tour
  • Kim Frogmorton – Bonnie Langford
  • Arnold Takahashi – Bernard Spear
  • Doris Takahashi – Yasuko Nagazumi
  • County Surveyor – John Junkin
  • Assistant Surveyor – Reg Lye
  • The Wombles: Ken Baker, Eileen Baker, Sadie Corre, Tony Friel, Brian Jones, John Lummiss, Jack Purvis, Albert Wilkinson and Marcus Powell
  • Womble Voices: David Jason, Janet Brown, Jon Pertwee, John Graham
  • Womble songs sung by Mike Batt

Did you know? The ‘Ken Baker’ credited as one of the Wombles is none other than Kenny Baker, better known as R2-D2 in Star Wars. He played Bungo. His wife Eileen also played an Ewok in Return Of The Jedi, along with many of the Wombling Free cast.

Note: Although the videos list running times ranging from 92 to 98 minutes, they’re not cut differently. All were classified by the BBFC with running times of 92 minutes, compared to the original film’s 96 minutes – PAL videos run 4% faster than cinema films.

Wombling Free (VHS) – 1986

Wombling Free 1986Released: 1986

Publisher: Missing In Action

Catalogue number: V3213

Running time: 96 minutes

“To see them is to believe them!

“Wombles have been tidying up after people ever since Adam and Eve littered the Garden of Eden with an apple core.

“The Wombles can only be seen by people who believe in them And that’s not the case with the human residents of Wimbledon Common, until Kim, the daughter of the old bad tempered Frogmorton spots a Womble and befriends the furry ones. Next thing her mother is seeing them too.

“Meanwhile the Wombles are doing Womble-full things. They invent a pollution free car made of tin cans and mop handles and stage a Hollywood music extravaganza in an abandoned theatre and then launch the first balloon powered aircraft!

“When Kim invites them to a hilarious birthday party, her astonished father finally sees the light and the Wombles too.

“To spread the word he calls a mass meeting of the town folk inviting them to join the Wombles in their clean up campaign.

“The Grand Finale has to be seen to be believed.”

Wombling Free The Movie (VHS) – 1990

Wombling Free 1990Released: 1990

Publisher: M.I.A. Video

Catalogue number: V3298

Running time: 96 minutes

“Those famous furry TV favourites – The Wombles are BROUGHT TO LIFE in this Full Length Film Spectacular with a pollution free car, The Wombles Hollywood Musical Extravaganza and the first balloon powered aircraft.

“You have to believe in wombles to see them.

“Wombling Free – The Movie. To see it is to believe it!”

 

Wombling Free (VHS) – 1998

Wombling Free 1998Released: 1998

Publisher: VCI – Video Collection International

Catalogue number: VC3645

Running time: 98 minutes

“The Wombles are back in this fun-packed feature film, where all your favourite Womble characters spend their time cleaning up after untidy humans and recycling their rubbish.

“Follow their adventures as they try to make contact with humans and spread the Keep Britain Tidy message. They invent a pollution-free car made of tin cans and mop handles, stage a Hollywood musical extravaganza in an abandoned theatre, launch the first balloon-powered aircraft and organise a birthday party for Great Uncle Bulgaria!

“Wombles can only be seen by people who believe in them. Can Bungo and friends convince the human residents of Wimbledon Common to change their ways and adopt the Womble way of clean living?”

Wombling Free (DVD) – 2003

Wombling Free DVD 2003Released: 16 June 2003

Publisher: Carlton Visual Entertainment – Classic Collection

Catalogue number: 37115 04213

Running time: 92 minutes

Aspect ratio: 16:9 (widescreen)

Audio:English, mono; English HOH subtitles

Region: 2 (PAL)

Special features: Theatrical trailer

“Based on the popular children’s series, Wombling Free follows the adventures of the furry loveable litter-pickers from Wimbledon Common – The Wombles. Only seen by those who believe in them, their work goes largely unnoticed until they are spotted by a young girl, who invites them to her birthday party to show her mother and the residents of Wimbledon that the cuddly crusaders do exist.

“Meanwhile Orinoco, Tobermory, Bungo and the rest of The Wombles are up to Womble-ful things. They invent a pollution free car made of tin cans and mop handles, and stage a Hollywood musical extravaganza in an abandoned theatre – then launch the first balloon-powered aircraft!

“A colourful song and dance fun-packed Womble spectacular that will enchant children of all ages.”

Chapters:

  1. Wombling Free
  2. Rubbish, Rubbish, Rubbish
  3. Four Feet, Fat & Furry
  4. They’re Going To Flatten Us
  5. Lots Of Rhubarb
  6. Tea With Felicity
  7. The Palace
  8. A Fantastic Vehicle
  9. To Believe In Wombles
  10. Keep England Bright & Beautiful

Wombling Free Special Edition (DVD) – 2006

Wombling Free DVD 2006Released: 17 July 2006

Publisher: Network

Catalogue number: 7952490

Running time: 92 minutes

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Audio:Mono English

Region: 2 (PAL)

Special features: Theatrical trailer; archive interviews with stars Bonnie Langford and David Tomlinson and writer/director Lionel Jeffries

“A smash hit on its original theatrical release, this live-action, musical extravaganza ensured that the nation was held fast in the grip of Womblemania. Showcasing the memorable songs of composer/musician Mike Batt (Watership Down, The Dreamstone) and based on the perennial favourite children’s stories by Elisabeth Beresford, Wombling Free contains the vocal talents of some of the UK’s best loved actors, including David Jason (Only Fools And Horses, A Touch Of Frost) and Jon Pertwee (Doctor Who, Worzel Gummidge).

“Written and directed by Lionel Jeffries (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Railway Children), it features Bonnie Langford (Doctor Who, Just William) as young Felicity ‘Kim’ Frogmorton, a girl who is amazed to be able to see and talk to the Wombles. Her father, David Tomlinson (Mary Poppins, The Love Bug) is sceptical, however, and Felicity must help the Wombles in their quest to Keep Britain Tidy! Wombling Free will undoubtedly appeal to those who are young-at-heart and anyone with fond memories of Bagpuss and The Clangers.”

Chapters:

  1. The Wombles Of Wimbledon
  2. Off To Work
  3. Talking To A Human Being
  4. You And Your Imaginary Friend
  5. The Wrong Common
  6. Blooming And Growing
  7. Thanks For Tea
  8. What A Splendid Car!
  9. Wombling Overland Airways
  10. A Meeting And A Party
  11. Keep Britain Tidy
  12. Wombling Free

Special features:

  • Archive interview with David Tomlinson: In this extensive and forthright interview, David Tomlinson talks candidly about his career. Presented as uncut interview rushes originally filmed for The Electric Theatre Show, this interview contains one or two instances of very mild swearing.
  • Archive interview with Lionel Jeffries: Writer/director Lionel Jeffries talks candidly about his career. This amusing interview covers everything from Hitchcock to The Wombles and is presented as uncut rushes originally filmed for The Electric Theatre Show.
  • Archive interview with Bonnie Langford: Originally recorded for The Electric Theatre Show, this highly entertaining interview with a young Bonnie Langford is presented as the complete, unedited interview footage.