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Flumps, The

1 9 7 6 (UK)
13 x 10 minute episodes

This stop-motion series from the BBC related the goings-on of a family of fluffy, furry balls in woolly hats who appeared to reside at the bottom of a forgotten and rather grimily forlorn garden.

Grandfather Flump starred with Pootle (the youngest Flump – perpetually bobble-hatted), Posie (a girl), Perkin (Pootle’s brother) and their mother and father.

The senior Flump spent most of his days sleeping or playing his Flumpet, while Father Flump did DIY and worked in his allotment. Meanwhile, Mother Flump was always in the kitchen baking something and generally being a stereotypical mother.

One of the most tear-jerking episodes, ‘Moon Shot’, concerned Pootle’s consternation that the moon appeared to have fallen into a bucket of water. The moment when he realised that it was the reflection of the moon in the water, was a heartbreaking piece of British television.

The show’s defining characteristic was its regional accents, giving the series a unique feel for the time, distinct from the prevailing rather clipped BBC Received Pronunciation.

flumps2 flumps3

Musical stage actress Gay Soper was the second choice for narration and singing duties (June Whitfield proved unavailable) and settled on a broad Yorkshire accent, sounding rather like she had a bad cold, which really added to the tension of the whole piece.

The Flumps had their own language quirks, using obscure or nonsense words. Dad used the phrase ‘all of a tiswas’ long before the ITV Saturday morning show Tiswas popularised the term nationwide, while a down-in-the-dumps Perkin complained of ‘feeling umpty’.

Little Pootle used mangled malapropisms such as ‘extra-plorer’ and ‘hodgeheg’.

Repeats from Spring 1978 in the Sunday morning slot opened up The Flumps to a far wider audience than would have seen the original lunchtime broadcasts, cementing its popularity.

Gay Soper


Secrets | The Cloud | The Magnet | Get Your Skates On | Moon Shot | Balloons | Keep Fit | Something Different | Lend A Hand | Quiet Please | Grandfather’s Birthday | What a Carrot! | Where’s Grandfather?