1 9 6 9 – 1 9 7 0 (UK)
12 x 14 minute episodes
“A town is full of buildings. Some tall, some short, some wide and some narrow. The buildings are flats and houses and factories and shops. They’re built in streets. The streets have cars and buses and lorries driving along them. . . . Do you live in a town? ”
“Mary, Mungo and Midge live in this town. They live with Mary’s mother and father in this tall block of flats. They live right at the top. There are eight flats built on top of each other. Mary, Mungo and Midge live in the flat with the flowers growing in the window box. There’s Mary . . . There’s Mungo . . . and there’s Midge”.
Mary (A girl), Mungo (a dog) and Midge (a mouse) all lived in an apartment on the 8th floor of a block of flats. (Continuity Error: Sometimes the lift counter shows they are on the 7th floor – Also some shots in the lift show nine floors!)
Midge played the flute, although he could only play one tune – Three Blind Mice (which he did play rather well though) and Mungo would always say “Make sure the lift door is shut” after using the lift.
This clever dog and mouse combination even went to the shops by themselves to buy potatoes. Admittedly Mary had to write a note for the greengrocer for them to take with the money.
Mary never ventured outside unless accompanied by her strangely anonymous parents, whose faces were never clearly seen.
Lazy sod, that Mary . . .
Mary, Mungo and Midge used to screen at lunchtime and was the first realist pre-school children’s programme.
John Ryan, children’s author, cartoonist and creator of Captain Pugwash, was asked to devise something “bang up to date” and “utterly contemporary”.
Hence the location and context was a modern inner-city tower block rather than a cosy village (like Trumpton) or a forest dreamscape (like The Magic Roundabout). Even if in reality most high-rises were considerably taller – and greyer – than Mary’s sunny eighth-floor idyll.
The authoritative narration of newsreader Richard Baker established a pseudo-documentary feel. Baker also provided the silly voices for redoubtable Mungo and excitable Midge.
This show taught me a lot as a child. It taught me how to do potato prints and it taught me about gypsies . . . It also taught me that you must never disturb a dog while it’s eating (honestly).