Mike Batt has spoken of his sadness at being shut out of the new Wombles remake, in an interview with The Mail on Sunday.
This comes as a follow-up to the recent interview with Elisabeth Beresford’s son, Marcus Robertson, who revealed his family’s concerns about the ‘woke’ direction of the revamp.
Mike Batt was forced to give up his controlling share of the rights in 2016 due to bankruptcy, and now feels that the new copyright holder, businessman Craig Treharne, has frozen him out of the plans for the new series.
“It just feels horrible not to be the one that is legally in charge of the musical side of any ongoing projects,” he said.
“A lot of people have said my association with the music can’t ever be severed because everyone knows I’m Mr Womble. I wrote 52 songs. We were the biggest pop group in 1975. To me, at my late stage in life, it’s absolutely a personal tragedy to have lost influence.”
Mike had been developing his own new CGI version of The Wombles, through his company Dramatico Animation, but ran into financial difficulties, which led to him selling his rights.
“I am very unhappy about the way the acquisition was done,” he said. “I would have liked to have retained the right to look after the music. But it was done so quickly that I pretty much had to agree to forgo my position, which I’d enjoyed ever since I began writing the hits and making The Wombles as famous as they were. I had to step aside from that. That was sad.”
Mike appealed to his former friend Craig Treharne to reconsider. “I still would offer my services because these little guys that keep the Common tidy are a big part of my life,” he said. “I have a lot of goodwill towards them. If we were able to have a friendly, civilised relationship, I believe I could bring value. As it stands, he’s got all the cards.”