Tidy Bag

The Wombles feature on BBC Countryfile

Kate Robertson (in blue, third from left) with Ellie Harrison and the Countryfile production crew

The BBC environmental television programme Countryfile will visit Wimbledon Common in an upcoming episode on 4 July, celebrating its 150th anniversary.

And of course, no feature on Wimbledon Common would be complete without its most famous residents, the Wombles.

Presenter Ellie Harrison will interview Kate Robertson, the daughter of Wombles author Elisabeth Beresford, about her mother’s inspiration.

It was Kate who mispronounced ‘Wombledon Common’ on a family walk in 1967, giving her mother the idea to create the Wombles.

Kate told me: "It was such fun to be back at the spot where the Wombles sprang from my mother’s imagination, and I felt the benevolent and twinkling eye of Great Uncle Bulgaria just beyond my peripheral vision!

"I think the Rangers have done a wonderful job keeping the Common as a wild but accessible space for people to enjoy without spoiling the environment. The woods looked wonderful and Queens Mere was teeming with wildlife including fledgling Coots and ducklings.

“Mum, my brother Marcus and I used to go to the Common two or three times a year so it was a privilege to return and share my memories and happy family times with Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison.”

Countryfile will also be presenting prizes to people who have helped to keep Britain tidy during the coronavirus pandemic. Many new litter-picking groups have formed in the past year, often naming themselves after the Wombles.

The Wimbledon Common episode will be broadcast on BBC One on Sunday 4 July at 6:15pm, and will then be available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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