1 9 7 6 (UK)
26 x 5 minute episodes
Six-year-old Simon loves scrawling chalk drawings all over the old wooden park fence as he dawdles to school each morning. His pictures then inexplicably come to life before his very eyes in a parallel universe within the park perimeter.
Suddenly discovering he has the power to play God, Simon returns to his smart terraced London home and the large blackboard that dominates his bedroom. Whatever he draws on the board manifests itself beyond the park fence.
Simon is invited to visit the chalky world and sets himself the challenge of building them a better society. Unfortunately, he also inadvertently creates – among other things – a rampaging dinosaur, misbehaving robots, traffic jams and an epidemic of measles.
Day after day – and episode after episode – his miserable stick figure best mate, Henry, appears on the fence to chastise Simon for his latest artistic blunder. “There’s trouble again Simon”, explains a gloomy-faced Henry. “Mysterious things are happening”.
The animation style was simplistic yet completely charming and almost stylised.
Based on the books by Ed McLachlan, the series was produced by FilmFair Studios in London, directed by Ivor Wood and narrated by Bernard Cribbins. Mike Batt provided the music.
In the US, the show was aired as a segment on the long-running pre-school series Captain Kangaroo, with additional American narration.
In 2002, Cinar – the new Canadian owners of FilmFair – premiered a new 13-part series of Simon co-produced with a Chinese studio.
He was more Americanised of course, and his primary school tie and snappy blazer had bitten the dust.