Tales of the Riverbank

1960 | Canada

Canadian series (also known in North America as Hammy Hamster or Once Upon a Hamster) that was shown in Britain from 1963 as part of the Watch With Mother strand, and repeated until 1971 when a new series of episodes were filmed. 

'Riverbank' told the tales of Hammy The Hamster, Roderick The Rat, GP (a guinea pig) and their assorted animal friends. What made this series different was that there was no animation or puppets involved and the production team of Dave Ellison and Ray Billings used real rodents filmed at high speed, which was then played back slower to make their movements seem more deliberate and natural. The creatures homes were furnished as human homes and they transported themselves around in cars, planes or boats. The stories were dubbed by children's favourite Johnny Morris (Animal Magic) -it was originally narrated by Paul Sutherland, but the BBC did not want Canadian accents for its young British audience. In the 1970's the series was aired by ITV which was then repeated on Channel 4 in 1993 as Further Tales of the Riverbank. The series was eventually sold to 34 countries.

Published on February 6th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.