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The Wombles

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The Wombles are fictional characters created by British author Elizabeth Beresford[?], originally appearing in a series of children's novels from 1968. Beresford reportedly invented the name when one of her children referred to Wimbledon Common[?] as "Wombledon Common".

They are pointy-nosed furry creatures that live in burrows under Wimbledon Common, where they help the environment by recycling rubbish in useful and ingenious ways. This "green" message was ahead of its time in the 1970s.

All of the Wombles have names taken from an old Atlas; the main characters were Great Uncle Bulgaria (the Wombles' leader), Tobermory[?], Orinoco, Bungo[?], Tomsk, Wellington and Madame Cholet[?].

They were then adapted as a British children's television programme, The Wombles, a series of five-minute stop-motion episodes produced by FilmFair[?] for the BBC and voiced by Bernard Cribbins. The first series aired in 1973 and the second in 1975, sixty episodes in all. After the original series the Wombles were re-invented from 1998 as a cartoon after FilmFair was acquired by the Canadian company Cinar Films[?] in 1996, a number of new geographically-named Wombles were introduced.

Songwriter and producer Mike Batt[?] wrote the series' theme tune, and later went on to perform and produce a number of successful novelty singles as The Wombles (he and the band, Steeleye Span, appeared on music shows dressed in full Womble costumes, which must have been sweltering in the heat of the studios).

Songs included: The Wombling Song (Underground Overground) (1974/98): Remember You're A Womble (1974/98): Banana Rock (1974): Minuetto Allegretto (1974): Wombling Merry Christmas (1974): Wombling White Tie and Tails (1975): Super Womble (1975): Let's Womble To The Party Tonight (1975): I Wish It Could Be A Wombling Merry Christmas Every Day (2000 - Wombles with Roy Wood[?]).

Batt's success with the Wombles tended to overshadow his genuine songwriting talents.

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