1 9 5 9 – 1 9 6 5 (UK)
30 x 10 minute episodes
1 9 7 9 – 1 9 8 0 (UK)
6 x 10 minute episodes
In the lands of the North, where the Black Rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, the Men of the Northlands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale.
And those tales were the stories of a kind, wise and mild-mannered Viking prince and his people; they were the saga of Noggin the Nog.
The crown of Noggin, Prince of the Nogs is sought by his wicked uncle Nogbad the Bad (pictured below left) who devises evil plots to threaten the safety of the kingdom, and sometimes the world, in order to force Noggin to give up his crown.
In each saga, Nogbad pursues his plot to the very brink of success with the aid of his gang of crows, but at the last moment, he is foiled by some unexpected piece of luck, cleverness or lack of attention on the part of the Nogs.
Noggin has a group of guards, led by Thor Nogson, and a group of friends and advisers including Olaf the Lofty (the court inventor) and Graculus (a big green bird). He and his Queen, Nooka (daughter of Nan of the Nooks), live in a castle beside the sea with their young son and heir, Prince Knut. While Noggin is exceptionally brave and courageous, he is not too bright.
Noggin the Nog first aired on 11 September 1959 and was yet another collaboration between Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, who made many children’s programmes – all shot in outbuildings in Firmin’s garden – between 1957 and 1987 including The Clangers, Pogle’s Wood and Bagpuss.
The cartoon ran until 1965 and then returned in colour in 1979. The Clangers actually made their very first appearance in an episode of Noggin the Nog entitled ‘Noggin and the Moon Mouse’.
The idea for Noggin came to Peter Firmin when he saw the Lewis chessmen in the British Museum.
These curious little ivory figures, found on a Hebridean beach around the 1830s, were possibly the cargo of a 12th-century merchant from Norway, but no one knows for sure.
The queens sulk on their thrones, leaning their chins forlornly on their hands. The glowering knights chew on their shield edges as though they were ship’s biscuits.
The chessmen appealed to Firmin’s sense of fun and his love of Norse legend.
A stage version of The Saga of Noggin the Nog appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in 2014.
Noggin the Nog
Nogbad the bad
Olaf the Lofty
Grolliffe the Ice Dragon