Bagpuss: childrens television programme or a training video for the tax office? Confused? Let me explain.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a little girl. And her name was Emily, and she had a shop. It was a rather unusual shop because it didn’t sell anything.
While many a small child plonked themselves in front of the TV to be entertained by a yawning cat, a variety of men in suits were also gathered to be educated in ways to spot possible tax evasion. Top of the list, a business that insists that it does not sell anything and therefore owes the tax man nothing.
For years, many an innocent small business was targeted just because they happened to have a stuffed cat, woodpecker bookend of a mouse organ on the premises.
OK, it’s a fair cop, I made all that up, but in these times I’m sure nothing would surprise you. Bagpuss was in fact a quality childrens television programme, and I dare anyone to challenge me on that point.
Each story followed the same theme, Emily would bring some strange object into the shop that somebody had lost and magically Bagpuss would awake. And when Bagpuss woke up, all of his friends would wake up to. We had the mice on the mouse organ, Madeleine the rag doll, Gabriel the toad, and Professor Yaffle. Together they would examine the ‘thing’ Emily had brought, tell a little story, mend it or give a bit of a clean if appropriate, and finally
settle down for a bit of a kip after a job well done. Simple enough storyline, but strangely entertaining, even for those of us who are now out of short trousers.
Legend has it that only 13 episodes were ever made, which when I was enlightened to this little fact took me back a tad. I can remember watching many an episode and it seemed a lot more than 13. You can’t argue with facts though, nor the tax man come to think of it.
Not many childrens televison programmes survive the age of time, but in this case the legend known as Bagpuss is probably more popular now than ever.