Children's cartoon series made by Cosgrove Hall about the adventures of Jamie, a small boy and his dog, Wordsworth, in a magical world called Cuckooland.
Each story begins with Jamie's mother saying goodnight to
the lad and closing the bedroom door, whereupon Jamie jumps out of bed shining
his magic torch on the bedroom floor which opens up to reveal a rollercoaster,
which Jamie and his pet ride to the bottom and into a strange new land.
The idea for the series came from Mark Hall, who with Brian Cosgrove ran the studio, after watching his own children playing with a torch projector. Seeing how absorbed they were by the pictures they beamed onto the wall Mark Hall observed "It seemed a marvellous device for getting a little boy and his dog into all sorts of magical adventures."
According the Simon Sheridan's A-Z of Classic Children's Television the scripts had something of an adult appeal, as well. A bit like The Magic Roundabout. Brian Cosgrove has since said that a lot of the humour was Pythonesque and had highbrow references.
Drawn by Keith Scoble, the characters went through a number of changes before the series went into full production as Mark Hall revealed in a 1976 TV Times article. A prototype Jamie wore both pyjamas and a hat that Hall thought was too 'Noddy-like'. So the hat went on Wordsworth. Originally the dog was to have been a Yorkshire Terrier but ended up an Old English Sheepdog because it was easier to animate.
Regular characters in Cuckooland included Mr. Boo, Officer Gotcha (who had a penchant for eating his truncheon), Strumpers Plunkett (who played melodies on his nose), Wellibob the cat, Jo-Jo Help, the Yoo-hoo Bird and BullyBundy.
Three series ran between 1976 to 1979, Jamie and the Magic Torch followed hot on the heels of Chorlton and the Wheelies. The series didn't cost much to produce and according to Brian Cosgrove the costs of the entire production were covered as soon as the first episode was transmitted.
Published on November 1st, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.