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Pinny’s House

1 9 8 6 (UK)
13 x 5 minute episodes

This final production from Smallfilms was written by the incomparable Peter Firmin with his longstanding colleague Oliver Postgate acting as producer.

Victor is the smallest wooden sailor in the world and he lives up on a shelf in a blue wooden sailing ship. Next door to Victor on the shelf is an empty china house which is briefly home to a green beetle and a web-spinning spider.

It’s a fairly lonely existence for Victor despite the regular attentions of two young children, Jo and Tom, but things are about to change . . .

One day, whilst playing in the sitting room, Jo places a pedlar doll up on the shelf next to Victor. Amongst the wares of this pedlar doll, Victor spies a small wooden doll named Pinny.

The pedlar doll demands payment for Pinny and, after scrambling round in the dust and fluff of the sitting room floor, Victor finds an old ring which he exchanges for Pinny.

Pinny chases off the green beetle and the spider and takes up residence in the china house. And so begins a series of great adventures for Pinny and Victor.

A particularly harrowing jaunt for Pinny finds her blown outside by a strong gust of wind. Here she is mistaken for a twig by a thrush keen on building a nest.

Victor, meanwhile, is sucked up by a vacuum cleaner and discarded into a bin bag. Most dangerously, a trip to the beach almost leads to Pinny and Victor being swept out to sea.

Throughout all their ordeals, Victor and Pinny display great bravery and initiative. Taking a feather from the nest she is trapped in, Pinny floats down to the safety of Victor’s boat, and when Victor is stranded on the sitting room floor, disaster is averted when Pinny uses a toy truck to hoist Victor back up to the shelf

Each episode ends with either Jo or Tom remarking that “Something terrible might have happened”.

The narration from Matilda Thrope was protective and reassuring and the music of Ar Log – all battling accordions, woodwinds and strings – provided an enchanting folk soundtrack which encapsulated the action on the screen.

Episodes were repeated across BBC1 and BBC2 many times until May 1993.

Matilda Thorpe