Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Flumps

Not many people today may know of "The Flumps" - but the "new generation" may recognise their theme tune, which was used for a series of Auto Trader adverts, no less…!
Narrated by English Actress Gay Soper, The Flumps was a stop-motion series created and written by Julie Holder in 1971 - like so many shows, old and new, it gained fame quite by chance. According to The A - Z of Classic Children's Television, Julie wrote a few "Flump" stories for her children, one of these her youngest brought to read out in school. The teacher was so impressed she told her husband, who just happened to be a BBC Producer, and snapped up the series for the Watch with Mother timeslot. And like many shows of its time, only one series of 13 episodes were ever made, but it still had a nice run of repeated airings until 1988.

The Flumps are…'s hard to say what they're meant to be. They fall in the same category as the Clangers or the Ping Wings - little fluffy beings who don't know what they are, but are happy all the same in their little run-down home. The family consist of Mother and Father Flump, Grandpa Flump (and his famous musical Flumpet) and the wee 'uns, Posie, Perkin and Pootle.

It's one of those "safe" shows where not much happens, with stories and songs told in a gentle, slow-paced manner - sort of a "day in the life" thing. However, combined with Julie's scripts, the singing / speaking performance of Gay Soper and the catchy theme tune by George Chisholm, the series eventually left a nice impact on me when I checked it out. Clear to see how it made itself a Cult Classic for those who do remember it.

In fact, it was charming enough to earn itself a DVD release in the new Millennium of 2000. Ideal for those who have little ones of their own to relive their memories =)

Even today, Miss Soper recalls the show well:

"...The story behind the voices.... I tried out various different accents - Scottish, Irish - before David Yates, the producer, made a choice of the slightly 'Northern' accent. The Yorkshire had some earthiness and warmth about it. I worked out a voice for each character and away we went!"

And how wee Pootle Flump's voice came to be:

"... Julie Covington was the real inspiration behind Pootle's muffled tones. She often did silly voices on stage during the rehersals of Godspell. It was really cute, so I immortalised it in the Flumps..."

" day back in 1989, a young man asked me: 'Could you do me a favour? Would you do a Flump voice for me?' I was totally floored, and then the Pootle voice came out! It soon caught on and every week hoards of 20-year-olds would ask me to do Grandfather or Perkin and so on. It was very strange."


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