Originally a series of books by Elisabeth Beresford, about environmentally friendly creatures with long noses and floppy ears who pick up litter on Wimbledon Common, and make it into useful things. The books were televised in the Seventies with puppets (every Seventies kid had a stuffed one)and dire, dire cheesy music by Mike Batt, who still has his Womble band. 'Remember You're a Womble' for some reason seems to be a classic favourite of wedding DJs.

The young Wombles were fat, lazy Orinoco, keep-fit fanatic Tomsk, bossy Bungo, and shy, clever but absent-minded Wellington. They were kept in check by sensible Tobermory, who made sure they filled their Tidy Bags, fed by Madame Cholet, and ruled by Great Uncle Bulgaria, who was supposed to be 325 years old.

All the wombles choose their name from an atlas in Great Uncle Bulgaria's study.

In the first series they were

  • Great Uncle Bulgaria, the leader of the pack. He is generally seen wrapped in a tartan shawl.
  • Tobermory who ran the work shop, creating things from the rubbish the other wombles brought back.
  • Madame Cholet who cooked and mothered the other wombles. She specialised in elm-bark pies with acorn topping.
  • Bungo was the head strong womble, like a typical teenager.
  • Orinoco was the lazy womble, who often requested "forty winks" before doing anything.
  • Tomsk was the "jock" womble, always working out.
  • Wellington was the smallest womble, shy but filled with ideas.

and the 90s series introduced

  • Alderney who didn't live in the burrow, but instead in a tree house and looked after the lake on the Common. The press called her 'Girl Power Womble'.
  • Stepney was a cockney barrow boy on an exchange visit from the Thames burrow.
  • Shansi was of Chinese descent.
  • Obidos came from Rio de Janeiro burrow and had great travel experience of other burrows.

3 videos are available, titled "The Wombles - Camping And Cloudberries And Other Stories", "The Wombles - Deep Space Wombles And Other Stories" and "The Wombles - Orinoco The Magnificent And Other Stories"

Everyone loves the Wombles, but few know the true story behind these innocent, children's characters.

The story was originally intended to be a gritty drama about the lives of a group of prostitutes who scraped a living from the business they could do on Wimbledon Common. Through circumstances too tragic to go into here, the women had come to be known as the Wombless and this was the title of the proposed series.

However, the BBC of the time did not believe the public were ready for television of such a serious and moving nature and the scripts were shelved somewhere in the depths of White City. Almost a decade passed before disaster struck and a burst water pipe flooded part of the archives, damaging some of the manuscripts stored there.

Staff salvaged what they could, but all that was left of the Wombless was a title page enscribed with the smudged word, "Wombles" and few other parts of the document were legible. However, the story was pieced together again, reassessed and this time got the nod of approval that was required to make a pilot episode. The show took off in a direction that couldn't have been more different to the original idea, but the astute viewer can still pick out references in the Wombles Theme Song.

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