You’ll need to be one of the older Children of the 1980’s to remember Fingerbobs, since it was actually a 1970’s kids show. Â I have very fond memories of sitting watching this excellent show, spellbound by it despite the fact it was so very simple. Â Even now the show oozes with a charm that is simply missing entirely from todays kids tv shows, and at the end of this post you can check out an episode for yourself. Â But first, what was Fingerbobs for those that don’t know?
Fingerbobs was a show created by Michael Cole, who also created another favourite of mine, Bod. Â It was presented by Rick Jones, a very laid back Play School presenter and coincidentally member of little known rock band called Meal Ticket. Â Rick played the part of Yoffy, who with his roll neck jumper, neckerchief and copious facial hair looked all the world as if he was going to launch into some out there beatnik poem any minute. Â To some he looked a little more sinister though, as a friend at college once said when we were reminiscing about old kids television they thought he looked a bit like a child molester…
Anyway, whether you thought of Yoffy as the friendly uncle or the strange bloke hanging around the school playground at 3pm, there’s no doubting that once the puppets came out Yoffy melted into the background as if he wasn’t there at all. Â The best known of the puppets is surely Fingermouse, who was little more than a grey glove and a piece of grey paper rolled into a cone with some whiskers stuck on the end. Â This may sound pretty naff, but once Fingermouse came to life you failed to notice Yoffy’s arm coming out the back and instead were awe struck at this “wonder mouse”, as his little signature song pointed out. Â It was almost as if it were a real mouse.
Fingermouse was a bit full of himself, but he appeared in most if not all of the episodes. Â Yoffy would say that he needed some stones or twigs or something of that ilk in order to make something or to tell a story, and it was quite often Fingermouse who got the job of toddling off somewhere to search the items out. Â Other regular puppets were Flash the Tortoise, who could remove his shell to put things in (I was convinced real tortoises could do this for ages thanks to Fingerbobs), Gulliver the Seagull and Scampi the Shrimp. Â The latter can be seen with Fingermouse in the image above, but I remember not having a clue as to what it was supposed to be when I was little.
With cardboard being the prime component in the make up of the puppets the show couldn’t have been expensive to make. Â Even the title sequence was incredibly simple, with the word Fingerbobs appearing a letter at a time with what appears to be an old wicker table mat in the background. Â The theme tune was a very gentle but trippy sounding piece which suited the look of Yoffy perfectly.
Fingerbobs is actually older than me, as it first appeared on TV in 1972, but it must have been repeated many many times as I vividly remember the show today. Â Fingermouse himself was so popular that over a decade later, in 1985, he was given his own show. Â Yoffy was sadly missing from this new series, replaced by a character called the Music Man, played by Iain Lauchlan. Â Whilst Fingermouse still went out on adventures this new series had a large musical slant, as you may expect with a character called the Music Man. Â Each week a different musical instrument was featured, but this new show just didn’t have the same charm and whimsical nature of the original Fingerbobs.
I’ll leave you with the promised episode of Fingerbobs, where Fingermouse is sent to find pebbles by Yoffy, who then turns them into animals by simply drawing on a few lines with a felt tip pen. Â If you want more, then you’ll be pleased to know that the show is available on DVD.