The only new Herbs material shot since the original series was for the 1989 Mayo & Ruscoe videos,using the original models.
And....... this BBC promo film made in 1998 (using new versions of Parsley & Dill,as the whereabouts of the originals weren't known by that stage) The pic,below left,shows them being filmed,in a typically unglamorous animator's studio.
Called "Future Generations",it was produced to celebrate 50 years of BBC kids tv.
And was first aired in full during that year's "Children In Need" telethon,and repeated in varying lengths thereafter.
With 5 yr old child actor,Scott Chisholm,taking us on a tour through the archives.
It's just 3 minutes long,but took 3 months to plan,script and storyboard and 10 days to shoot.
The content was split fairly evenly between both animated and live action series.And each threw up its own restrictions and problems.
A lot of the animated content was specially shot (re-shot) for the occasion,to enable Scott
to interact with all the different characters.
And it all had to be as faithful to the originals as possible of course.
Which was particularly tricky when most of the original models and sets were no longer available.
So everything had to be re-created from scratch.
And whilst they made an excellent job of it,the likes of Pugh,Pugh,Barney McGrew,are indeed all
body-double imposters !
Fans of the Trumptonshire Trilogy may also be surprised to see Chigley get a mention at all,as it's usually the one that's forgotten about.But Lord Belborough's train provides a rather covenient link into the Magic Roundabout bit.
And with so many series to acknowledge,it's no surprise that those sorts of transitions were used to try and fit as many in as possible ....
So,at the very beginning,we see all the early b & w favourites like Andy Pandy and The Woodentops clustered around a suitably b & w Scott. And later on he's walking down Mr.Benn's Festive Road with Crystal Tipps and Alistair walking past,Mary Mungo and Midge looking out of a window and Roobarb & Custard up a tree.
Simple but very effective.
And the Herbs ?
Well not too much to report really.
Scott gets dropped off at the gate courtesy of Noddy (pic right) and walks through the garden with
Parsley and Dill in attendance.
There's no verbal interaction,and whilst they're not the original models they're not bad recreations,
apart from Dill's slightly bouffon hairdo.
Overall,none of the animated sequences are particularly ambitious.But the main aim was simply to recreate the originals as faithfully as possible.
Getting Scott to successfully interact with the old live action stuff was another matter entirely of course.
And they got round the problem by mixing the original footage with some specially filmed inserts using human body doubles. Which works far better than you might imagine.
Most noticeably with the famous Blue Peter elephant,(the aptly named "Lu-Lu"),where members of the production team were used as stand-ins for Val,John,Pete and the zoo keeper and shot from behind so their faces weren't shown.
All very cleverly done and it probably wouldn't even register if I hadn't mentioned it.
But watch it again and you'll see. And,as a whole,it really does need to be viewed more than once to take everything in.
Something different to finish
These last offerings are nothing to do with the above,but this page is called "BBC Promo" and this is indeed more BBC promotional material.
Four Herbs publicity stills issued by the Beeb to coincide with the original transmissions in 1968.
Interesting to see them in b&w,as The Herbs could only be viewed in b&w when they were originally transmitted.
And the collector's among you will no doubt spot that colour versions of the 2nd and 4th ones formed part of the eponymous BBC postcard series.
But the really nice thing about them is the clarity of detail they show -even allowing for a little loss of quality when transferring them from the actual photo to an online image.
Look out for things like the stitching detail on Sir Basil's jacket and the tissue paper (?) crest at the very top of Sage's head. Which really gives a much better appreciation of the work that went into them and how far removed they are from the illusional world of CGI. And my thanks to Tony Clark for sending them in and sharing them with us.