Lots of famous people are fond of the Wombles, particularly in the Generation X demographic who grew up during their mid-1970s heyday (Generation W, perhaps?). Here are some celebs who’ve talked about their memories of the Wombles in interviews, books or TV shows.
“One of the first long-playing records I ever owned was a Wombles album, called Keep On Wombling. Side one was a sort of concept album, under the banner of ‘Orinoco’s Dream (Fantasies of a Sleeping Womble)’, and encompassed the most popular Womble’s dreams of being an astronaut, a cowboy, a jungle explorer, etc.
I spent many hours in my nan’s front parlour listening to this album and imagining I was Orinoco living out these diverse fantasies. Predictably, my favourite track was Womble Of The Universe, in which Orinoco travels into space in a clockwork rocket ship with only Madame Cholet’s cucumber sandwiches for sustenance. Space travel appealed to my imagination even before Star Wars arrived.”
— Nerd Do Well (page 202)
“I was brought up on The Wombles. I think my love of music was kickstarted by them. Never has someone lavished so much care and production values on records for kids. It’s absolutely wonderful.
I ran into composer Mike Batt at a party once and I told him how much the Wombles meant to me, how much a part of my musical blossoming they had been. But he reacted rather oddly. He seemed ashamed of them and went ‘oh, that’. Maybe he thought I was taking the mickey, but I was serious. My kids listen to them now.”
— Business Live: Alexander Armstrong musically inspired by The Wombles
“I’m sitting in a hotel room in Cornwall. My phone beeps to tell me I have a text message. It’s from a friend, Bryn. It says, ‘I can’t believe you’re listening to The Wombles! Grow up.’ What? How the hell does Bryn know I’m listening to The Wombles? He’s over 200 miles away. The music wasn’t on that loud.
So I text him back: ‘How the hell do you know I’m listening to The Wombles?’ It is a matter of seconds before he replies: ‘Facebook.’ Of course. Facebook is a grass. He must have seen one of those notifications: ‘Dave Gorman was listening to Banana Rock by The Wombles on Spotify.’ I hate those. Can’t a man listen to The Wombles in a hotel room without being the subject of mockery from his friends?”
— Too Much Information: Or, Can Everyone Just Shut Up for a Moment. Some of Us Are Trying to Think. (page 43)
“I went away on holiday when I was 16, and it was me and Neil and another friend of ours, John. We went to a little caravan site in Blackpool, and I took the Womble with me, because I’d had this Womble since I was a little kid. And I don’t know why, but I took it on holiday with me.
And when I opened the suitcase, them two mercilessly took the mickey out of me, and I said ‘hah, that old thing, I don’t even know how it got in there’. And to prove my manhood, I got a pair of scissors, cut its ears off, and then, er, burnt it on the fire. And was devastated, but I tried to show my manhood by just not being bothered.”
— Lee Mack confesses to Womble assault on Would I Lie To You?
“I was so sure that Wombles were real, I used one as an example of a mammal in a GCSE biology exam. It was ‘give three examples of mammals’, and I said ‘bear’, ‘whale’, and ‘womble’ was my third example. I should make clear that I didn’t think the children’s programme was a documentary. I thought the children’s programme was based on a real mammal.”
— Would I Lie to You? – Did Katherine Parkinson say Wombles were real mammals in a GCSE biology exam?
“I grew up in Baglan, a village next to Port Talbot in south Wales. I attended Dumbarton House, a private co-ed school, until I was 14. Catherine Zeta-Jones also went there. I was aware of her, but we weren’t friends – she’s younger than me.
It’s embarrassing to admit it now, but as a boy I liked the stuff that typically appealed to girls: Donny Osmond, the Bay City Rollers. I was also a huge fan of the Wombles. They had a female character, Madame Cholet, but I don’t think I had carnal feelings for her.”
— The Sydney Morning Herald: Rob Brydon: What I know about women
“I’m so excited to see the Wombles out and about supporting Keep Britain Tidy again and to get the chance to litterpick with them. I loved them as a child and I hope the younger generation will love them just as much. We need everyone to get into the wombling spirit and do their bit to help keep our beautiful country clean.”
— Wombles and Waitrose join forces with Keep Britain Tidy to clean up the country
“The Wombles were the first band I ever saw live, with my mum, at Birmingham Bingley Hall, circa 1974, and one which I now realise probably included, inside the furry suits, Chris Spedding, Clem Cattini, Ray Cooper and maybe even Robin Le Mesurier, son of John Le Mesurier and Hattie Jacques, although he was kicked out of The Wombles at some point for marijuana possession.”
The book’s editor, Andy Miller, adds: “The Wombles was my first concert too, at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon. The support act was pianist Bobby Crush. Someone on Twitter told me that it probably wasn’t Spedding etc in the suits because there was a rival bunch of Wombles on the road at the same time.”
— March of the Lemmings: Brexit in Print and Performance 2016–2019
“The first record I ever bought was Remember You’re A Womble in 1974. I thought the Wombles were great and ended up buying all their albums.”
— Daily Express: Rebecca Front: The bravest thing I’ve ever done is get into a lift – I’m claustrophobic
“I love Bart Simpson. I like things that sum up life, like ‘Eat my shorts!’ Do you know the old UK series The Wombles? Over the years, whenever anyone asks ‘What’s your philosophy?’ I always say ‘Remember you’re a Womble.’”
— The San Francisco Examiner: Boy George back with soul stylings
“There are two statements which define me. The first is that bitterness is like taking poison and expecting someone else to die. The other is ‘Remember you’re a Womble’. To me it just means that the sort of things we think are important often really aren’t. What’s important to me is to be present in what I’m doing. There were years that amazing things were happening to me and I was just blasé about them.”
— Express & Star: Black Country helped heal star’s heart
‘Geraldine Granger’ (Dawn French)
“Well, this is the first time I’ve been on television. I did once apply to go on Mastermind but they didn’t like my special subject. Apparently there just aren’t enough questions about the Wombles. And also I was a bit young, being four-and-a-half years old at the time.”
— The Vicar Of Dibley: Songs Of Praise (series 1 episode 2)
Her Majesty The Queen
Wombles author Elisabeth Beresford said: “When I went to get my MBE from the Queen, she talked nonstop about them. She knew more about the Wombles than I did. She said to me: ‘Personally I always had a lot of trouble with Bungo because I can’t understand why he should be so bossy – what has he got to be so bossy about?’ She went on and on and I just sat there saying ‘yes Ma’am, no Ma’am’.”
— The Times: My family and other Wombles