Bagpuss is a popular children's television series shown on BBC television. It was made in 1974. Although only 13 episodes were made, it was so popular that it was repeated regularly until 1987. The series was made by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate through their company Smallfilms.
Each programme began in the same way. It started by looking through old sepia photographs. There was a shop called “Bagpuss & Co”. The cat sat in the shop window. The owner of the shop was a little girl named Emily. The shop did not sell anything. Instead, Emily would find things that were broken and lost. She fixed them and put them in the shop window. Emily hoping that the owners of the things would come and get them. She would leave the fixed thing in front of her favourite toy: the stuffed cat Bagpuss. Each programme began with these words:
- "Bagpuss, oh, Bagpuss
- Oh, fat, furry cat puss,
- Wake up and look at the thing that we bring
- Wake up, be bright, be golden and light."
When Emily had left, Bagpuss would wake up. The programme changed from sepia to colour film, and the toys in the shop would come to life. There was Gabriel the toad, a rag doll called Madeleine, and a wooden woodpecker which was a bookend (something to stop a row of books falling over) called Professor Yaffle. Professor Yaffle spoke like a clever professor. He had a German accent and wore a pince-nez. He would look at the object and tell the audience what it was used for. There were also some mice. They lived in the “mouse organ” (a pun on the word mouthorgan). The mouse organ played music and the mice squeaked in high voices. All the voices except those of Madeleine and Gabriel were done by Oliver Postgate who also wrote the stories.
At the end of the programme, Professor Yaffle would yawn again and fall asleep. The colour changed back to sepia and the toys became toys again as these words were spoken:
- "And when Bagpuss was asleep
- All his friends were asleep.
- The mice were ornaments on the mouse organ,
- Gabriel and Madeleine were just dolls.
- Professor Yaffle was just an old wooden bookend in the shape of a woodpecker.
- Even Bagpuss himself, once he was asleep, was just an old, saggy cloth cat,
- and a bit loose at the seams, but Emily loved him."
- Obituary of Oliver Postgate, Independent 10 Dec 2008, p. 34