The Flumps was one of the regular programmes that was shown on the BBC’s See-Saw slot for tots, shown around 1pm in the afternoon on weekdays, if my memory serves me correctly. It was perfect gentle viewing for pre-schoolers, and centred around a family of Flumps, strange hairy ball creatures consisting of little more than a face, and a pair of arms and legs. Whilst their arms and hands could move, the relaxed position for them was to have them holding the front of their body, almost as if they had just finished eating a massive meal.
Most of the episodes centred around the adventures of Posie, Perkin and Pootle, the three child Flumps. Pootle was the youngest and funniest of the three, who frequently misunderstood what the rest of the Flumps were talking about and spoke with a wonderful voice that sounded like he always needed to blow his nose a bit more often. The rest of the family were made up of Mother and Father Flump, and Grandfather Flump. Obviously Flump hair colour is not a genetic trait, since Mother and Father Flump were both a deep brown, whilst the children were much lighter in colour, with Pootle being blonde. Either Mother Flump was lying to Father Flump, or Flumps hair colour gets darker with age…
Each episode was narrated and sung by Gay Soper, and she also provided a distinct voice for each Flump, most importantly a proper real voice speaking in English, not some gobbledygook like a Teletubby or any of the countless other programmes that pass for kids entertainment these days. Considering each episode was only 10-15 minutes long, it was amazing how much they packed in, since there were usually a couple of songs and a story read by Mother Flump jammed in with the main story of the episode. There was no repeating of large segments of footage like some of todays shows (yes, Teletubbies, I’m talking about you!).
Flump is such a funny word, and the creators of the programme realised this which is why they invented the Flumpcycle, a three seater tandem, and the Flumpet, a musical instrument played by Grandfather Flump (when he wasn’t asleep that is). I’m sure there must have been others. This naming convention was also used to great effect in the episode “Moon Shot” in which Pootle daydreams about being an astronaut aboard Flumpollo Number 1, taking off from Flumpbase and encountering MoonFlumps.
The single thing I will always remember most about The Flumps was the bit on the title sequence where Posie, Perkin and Pootle are playing catch. Pootle would always drop the ball, and at this point you would guess which way it would roll away, as sometimes it was to the left, and sometimes to the right. If you want to have a go at playing this game again, then grab hold of a copy of “The Complete Flumps” on DVD, which contains all 13 episodes.