Andy Pandy’s coming to play… tra-la-la-la-la
Andy Pandy first aired on Tuesday 11 July 1950 and became very popular straight away. Made on film rather than broadcast live, surviving episodes are therefore now among the earliest relics of British television history.
This fondly recalled tv series featured a little puppet boy in a striped romper suit and his friends, a cute and cuddly articulated teddy bear called Teddy and a pretty ragdoll called Looby Loo. These three jolly characters would dance and frollick and play games in and around their nursery and garden, and they’d encourage younger viewers to participate at home. At the end of each broadcast they would sing their goodbyes to us…
In each episode, the narrator spoke directly to both the audience and Andy, mediating between them: ‘Andy Pandy, the children are here’ or ‘we must sing something for the children first’.
And that was it. Nothing more substantial, but at the time, it worked splendidly. Of course, today’s viewers look upon these shows as being patronising. They question the “relationship” between the three stars in between knowing winks and nudges and it’s all terribly tedious. The point is all of the shows in these children’s broadcast slots were absolutely right for the period.
The original black and white episodes – perhaps fewer than forty in total are thought to have been made up until 1959. Shown weekly in an almost unbroken run until 1969, the film prints eventually became too damaged to broadcast so Westerham produced another thirteen episodes in 1970, now in colour but otherwise virtually unchanged. These would be shown right through the 70s.
I remember being a little bit daunted by Andy Pandy, perhaps it was his brilliant striped rompers or his human likeness, but I was so fond of Teddy that it didn’t matter. Teddy was the star of the show for me.
Watch an original 1952 episode of Andy Pandy