Doctor Snuggles started off as a character in children’s books created by Jeffrey O’Kelly which appeared in the early 1970’s. I must admit to never having read or even seen the books before, but I do remember the TV cartoon series of his adventures. It used to be shown on Children’s ITV in serialised five minute chunks, in much the same way that Dangermouse was originally shown, with a new segment shown each day.
Doctor Snuggles was a balding, chubby inventor with a heart of gold, who made creations of a wonderful kind in his garden shed. He was aided by a number of animal friends, including Dennis the Badger and Nobby the Mouse, and also by the robot he created who went by the name of Mathilda Junkbottom. The garden shed itself was also a character in the show, going by the name of Rickety Rick, and was an unusual shed because it had arms and legs and could move around.
Doctor Snuggles also got around by bouncing around on his umbrella with the ducks head handle (which talked of course), as it converted into a pogo stick. For greater distances he would turn to his homemade rocket ship, which looked like it was made out of a wooden barrel and was called the Dreamy Boom Boom.
Above anything else I will remember Doctor Snuggles most for being such a “nice” show. Whilst the adventures of the old professor had plenty of drama and danger, nothing was ever solved through violence or mass panic. Everything was calm and considered and completely wholesome. So much so in fact that I can’t think of another show that had so many good, constructive pieces of advice for shaping young minds.
There were also a great number of well known names behind the cartoon series. Snuggles was voiced by the late Sir Peter Ustinov, and some of the writers on the show included Richard Carpenter (best known for Robin of Sherwood) and the late Douglas Adams (of Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy fame).
If you were a fan of Doctor Snuggles you may be pleased to hear that the good doctor might be returning to our screens soon. Plans are afoot for new books and both a feature length film and a new TV series. For more information on these and the history of this show take a look at the Doctor Snuggles Official Website. In the meantime, here’s an episode to wet your appetite.