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Bargain Hunt celebrates the Wombles

The BBC antiques game show Bargain Hunt has featured a lovely segment on the Wombles, with an interview with Kate and Marcus Robertson.

The episode began with a pre-credits scene of presenter Eric Knowles on Wimbledon Common, where he spotted Great Uncle Bulgaria, who told him that it’s 50 years since the Wombles were first on television.

Later in the show, Eric Knowles met author Elisabeth Beresford’s son Marcus and daughter Kate to find out more. Standing beside Queensmere lake where it all started, Kate told the story of how she inspired her mother by accidentally saying ‘Wombledon Common’.

Kate and Marcus talked about how Bungo and Orinoco were based on them, and said that Elisabeth Beresford had no idea in her mind what Wombles looked like, until animator Ivor Wood designed them for the 1973 TV series.

Kate said her mum was very keen that in her books children should feel safe, so all the characters were made so that everything ended up happily ever after.

Eric, Kate and Marcus then visited Wimbledon Windmill for a special viewing of the first episode of The Wombles, where they discussed how clever Bernard Cribbins was with the voices, particularly how Great Uncle Bulgaria sounded exactly like their grandfather.

Kate said it all came together so well, with Elisabeth Beresford’s scripts, Bernard Cribbins’s voices and Ivor Wood’s wonderful animation, and that it makes her feel very proud of their mum.

Marcus thought his mum would be thrilled with the Wombles’ legacy, as the Wombles are now even more relevant, with people more aware of the environment than they were back in the Seventies.

The episode (Epsom 28, Series 65) was broadcast on BBC One on 11 August 2023.

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