1 9 8 5 (UK)
13 x 15 minute episodes
Tucked away in the rolling Pennine moors is an idyllic, quintessentially British village where cheery window cleaners rub shoulders with farmers and gleeful children run amok as the seasons gradually change.
In this “village on the hill”, we find artist and storyteller Mike (Mike Amatt, who also created the series), his shaggy Old English Sheepdog, Mop, and his purring bright-eyed tabby cat, Smiff.
Each episode would start with a filmed section detailing the day ahead for Mike, Mop or Smiff. Melodic songs (composed and performed by Amatt) would then play in the background as Mike and Mop ambled around the village.
Following a mid-morning bowl of milk, Mop and Smiff would drift off to the land of nod while Mike used the events of the morning as inspiration to draw a cartoon where Mop and Smiff became animated talking friends (voiced by Timothy West and Prunella Scales respectively).
Although Mike Amatt was shown drawing the cartoons, the animation duties were actually taken on by Simon and Sara Bor.
First broadcast on BBC1 in 1985 in the See-Saw slot, the show was aimed at preschoolers. Each episode was 15-minutes long.
A spin-off series, Mike, Mop and the Moke, (1985) featured Amatt and Mop driving to various seaside towns in an Austin Champ and playing games with children.
The real Mop and Smiff (both Mike Amatt’s actual pets) both passed away aged 14. Smiff died of kidney failure and Mop had a stroke a few weeks later and had to be put to sleep.