We all have our favourite kids TV characters from days gone by; cartoons that we idolized, and puppets who were heroes. For Spotless, though, there is one outright winner: The Wombles. These fictional furry creatures became household names around four decades ago, and have inspired with their eco-friendly message ever since. Here’s our tribute to the Wimbledon wonders.
There are two answers to this. The first is that they came from the mind of Elisabeth Beresford, the children’s author. She wrote the first Wombles novel in 1968, and followed this up with another four over the next eight years. The other answer is that the Wombles came from Wimbledon Common, where they lived in underground burrows. This was their stomping ground, which they liked to keep clean (although it often seemed to be strewn with trash).
Though most of the Wombles we know are from in and around London, it’s made clear that there are Wombles hidden away all over the world. The most famous Wombles, though were leader Uncle Bulgaria, inventor Tobermory, the lackadaisical Orinoco, the bossy Bungo, the athletic Tomsk, and the forgetful Wellington. Note how these all have very international names (they were named after places from around the world).
In the books and TV shows, they were always tidying up after humans (who they had a low opinion of), recycling the stuff they’d found, and consuming organic goods, such as daisy buns and acorn juice. Okay, neither daisy buns and acorn juice are fit for human consumption, but generally, the Wombles sent out a superb message about being eco-friendly and self-sustainability. Arguably, they became one of the driving forces for a new way of thinking from the 1970s and beyond.
The creative forced behind the Wombles (which included Mike Batt and Bernard Cribbins) realized there was mileage in their characters. Not only was their a huge range of merchandise on the heels of the TV show, but the Wombles became rock stars in their own right, making appearances on shows like Top of the Pops. A serious message with fun delivery: Now that’s pretty clever!