1 9 6 9 (UK)
8 x 25 minute episodes
The Incredible Adventures Of Professor Branestawm, first published in November 1933, is a wonderful work of invention by Norman Hunter, with drawings to match by Heath Robinson.
Hunter created surreal stories of crazy inventions, written in a marvellously bizarre vocabulary, with the Professor portrayed as a happy loony, creating odd contraptions to help the community of Pagwell, where he lives.
They always go wrong, but he remains blissfully happy, working with his housekeeper Mrs Flittersnoop and his best friend – Colonel Dedshott, of the Catapult Cavaliers.
To date, this Thames TV series represented the only British television adaptation of Hunter’s remarkable character, with Jack Woolgar excelling as Professor Theophilus Branestawm.
Woolgar’s co-stars in the series were the crazy Branestawm inventions designed by 28-year old Terry Gough, a set designer at Teddington Studios. Gough designed around 15 working machines for the series using an old kitchen colander, parts of a clock, a First World War helmet and sawn-in-half barrels.
Helping Professor Branestawm bungle his screwball schemes were the very correct Colonel Dedshott (Paul Whitsun-Jones) and trying her best to keep the place tidy and intact while they carried out their experiments was their housekeeper, Mrs Flittersnoop (Freda Dowie).
Hunter went on to write several Branestawm sequels, and this TV series was based on stories in both the original 1933 book and its successor, Professor Branestawm’s Treasure Hunt, published in 1937.