Bagpuss Celebrates 50th Birthday
Bagpuss will celebrate his 50th birthday and international media group and rights owner Coolabi has announced a range of collectable products from commemorative 50ps and stamps, to plushes and crafts to mark the moment.
Just thirteen episodes of the iconic Smallfilms animation were created by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, which live on in the hearts of the British public, and to this day Bagpuss is considered one of the greatest ever TV shows. The remastered show was re-released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2023 by Fabulous Films, a long standing UK/US distributor specialising in classic and cult television and is available to stream on Britbox and ITVX, plus iTunes, Amazon and more.
To mark the moment, leading distributors of collectable coins and stamps, The Westminster Collection, will be releasing a brand new collection of five 50p coins in base metal and sterling silver. The reverse of each will feature one of the characters from the show, each with a relevant quote that fans of the show will remember dearly.
Bagpuss – ‘He gave a big yawn and settled down to sleep’
Professor Yaffle – ‘Fiddle sticks and Flap Doodle’
Gabriel – ‘With a splish and a splosh!’
Madeleine – ‘Alright alright, I’ll tell you a little story’
The Mice – ‘We will fix it like new, new, new’
The obverse of the coins will feature the portrait of His Majesty King Charles III by Glyn Davies along with the 2024 date and Bailiwick of Guernsey wording and will have Royal Approval from His Majesty King Charles III.
Guernsey Post will issue a set of four commemorative stamps, on the 25th July, for the island of Alderney, which is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a Crown Dependency. The stamps, which are also subject to Royal Approval from His Majesty, will feature Bagpuss and his friends and will carry King Charles III’s Royal Cypher. The range of collectables will include souvenir sheets, first day covers and a presentation pack.
Rainbow Designs, creators of high quality, forever toys, inspired by the beloved characters from children’s literature, has launched a new range of Bagpuss plush toys including a brightly coloured Yawning Soft Toy that lets out a big yawn when you squeeze his head.
Bagpuss – The 50th Anniversary Edition, is a special edition Bagpuss exclusive to Danbury Mint. The MBi designers have worked directly with Steiff, the inventors of the teddy bear, on this special anniversary piece. He’s been airbrushed by hand and has the special Steiff button-in-ear as a guarantee of authenticity. Available to pre-order now, this limited edition piece ships in April 2024.
Practical Publishing will be releasing a Bagpuss collection available at CraftStash, featuring cutting dies, beautiful printed papers and toppers, that will allow card makers and crafters alike to create inspirational projects whilst capturing the nostalgia and fun of Bagpuss.
Emily Firmin, Peter Firmin’s daughter, who features in the show, comments: “I can’t believe Bagpuss is 50! That makes me feel old. It’s funny when I think about it, he wasn’t a kitten when he opened our shop. I think he must have been at least a three year old cat to own a shop of lost and founds.
“Many moons ago, Oliver Postgate and my father Peter Firmin, offered me sweets for a funny photo of me and a gorgeous pink and white cat. The sweet dress my mum Joan made me and the horrible Victorian style shoes I had to wear seem like a dream.
“Who would have believed that Bagpuss would still be such a super star 50 years later. I still adore him. I see him occasionally when I pop into the Beaney museum in Canterbury. He’s in good company in an exhibition of all the puppets made by my father. I’m very proud of the fact that Bagpuss has supported The Hospices of Hope since 2002 and I will be visiting their hospital in Romania this year to paint a mural with some of the children.”
Fran Huxley, Coolabi Group, comments:“Bagpuss is a charming, quintessentially British brand that captures the hearts and minds of people across the world. We are delighted to wish Smallfilms’ magical saggy old cloth cat a very happy 50th Anniversary and to have such a wonderful range of collectables out this year to mark this lovely occasion.”
The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge is hosting The Smallfilms Gallery, renamed in honour of the studio, a family gallery showcasing work by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, who created their iconic children’s programmes from their studio near Canterbury. The exhibition, created in close conjunction with the Firmin and Postgate families and Dr Chris Pallant, Canterbury Christ Church University features the original Bagpuss, and many of the original film props.
As he enters his 50th year, Bagpuss continues his role as mascot to Hospices of Hope, the only UK charity dedicated to supporting hospice care in South and East Europe. He has held this role since 2002, when Oliver Postgate donated Bagpuss’ ‘pocket money’ to fund a specialist children’s wing at its Romanian partner hospice. Hospices of Hope celebrates Bagpuss’ birthday with a range of events including the Bagpuss Bash, a Bagpuss Bikeathon, family walks and more.