1 9 7 3 – 1 9 8 0 (UK)
78 x 25 minute episodes
Michael Bentine’s Potty Time was (not unsurprisingly) created, written and voiced by Mr Bentine himself.
Bentine was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, on 26 January 1922, the son of a Peruvian immigrant (and grandson of the vice-president of Peru).
He lost the power of speech for 13 years as a child but recovered in time to attend Eton.
Following his education and wartime service during WWll, he decided he wanted to be a comedian and auditioned at London’s famous Windmill Theatre. It was here that he met fellow ex-services entertainer Harry Secombe.
Secombe introduced Bentine to his friends Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers, and the group would often meet up at a pub run by Secombe’s writer and agent Jimmy Grafton.
From those meetings at the Grafton Arms, the quartet developed the idea for The Goon Show, which went on to become the most famous British radio show of all time.
Bentine left after the second series to continue touring in his own show and in 1954 was offered a TV series by the BBC – A children’s puppet series called The Bumblies.
Potty Time saw Bentine return to his Children’s TV roots, with puppets made by Joan and Stan Griffiths and operated by The Barry Smith Theatre Of Puppets.
When promoting his new Potty Time show in 1974, Bentine described ‘Potties’ thusly: “they are really Bumblies with clothes and hair on. They live in their own Potty world and have their own Potty history”.
The cast included 26 Potties, about ten of which were used in each programme.