Differences between the series
Top photo strip,above =The Herbs. The one directly above = the sequel.
The Adventures of Parsley sequel was different in quite a few ways.
Largely as a result of 2 things:-
1. A reduction in episode length from 15 minutes to 5.
2. A move in the schedules from The Herbs "Watch With Mother" lunchtime slot,to the earlier evening slot just before the news that The Magic Roundabout had occupied.
In short,The Herbs was tasked solely with providing entertainment for pre-schoolers with some morality tales and a bit of botanical knowledge thrown in.
Whereas the sequel could forget the "worthy" undertones and go for all-out comedy due to the shorter runtime and more grown-up time slot.
2 things that were in The Herbs were dropped completely :-
1. Out went .... any references about the character's plant origins.
Which was really just a rather laboured attempt to fulfill the BBC remit to educate as well as entertain.And didn't work well.
2. Out went .... all the character's signature tunes.
As with many animated kids' contemporaries,like Trumpton and Camberwick Green,they were used in The Herbs as a useful narrative device.But really weren't needed for a sequel,even if the time had allowed.
All the action still took place within the confines of the same walled garden.
But the set design took on a more brightly-coloured psychadelic look that fans of The Magic Roundabout would instantly relate to......and a series which chief Herbs animator and designer,Ivor Wood,had also been heavily involved with.
In a major departure,all the animals were given voices.
In the original,only the humans "spoke" with the 3 animals (Parsley,Dill & Sage) being restricted to nods in response to questions from the narrator,accompanied by the odd roar,woof or squawk.
Not that their new-found voices came as too much of a shock,because the narrator had used them in the Herbs when singing their little signature songs.So it was all pretty logical and seamless really.
And it didn't involve any more work for the animators either,because none of the characters ever opened their mouths to "speak" in either series- except briefly,to reinforce an exclamation like "ouch !" or a "woof !".And for no other reason than it was just too time-consuming and expensive to do.
Which was fine,because kid's simply took it as read that the words came from the individual concerned anyway.
There were no new characters introduced at all.
And the 2 main winners by far were Parsley and Dill,whose newly-acquired voices enabled them to be transformed into a fully fledged double act around which the entire series was based.
Two inseperable friends but with two completely different personalities,providing plenty of comedic possibilities of course -which Michael Bond was only too happy to exploit.
And their place in animated kids' tv history owes far more to their appearances in the sequel than the original.
Most of their Herbs colleagues did pop up at some stage,but they were largely reduced to cameos and walk-ons.
With the 2 notable exceptions being Knapweed and Bayleaf,who formed quite a strong comedy double act of their own, although mainly as fall guys for the 2 new stars.
And,to a lesser degree,even Sage blossomed,despite being a bird of few words even when blessed with the means to speak them !
The entire cast list is discussed in detail on the characters page
And that ends this overview for now
* Commissioned by the BBC,both were devised & written by "Paddington Bear" author Michael Bond.
And if you're interested in his career leading up to them take a look at the "author-pre herbs" page
* They were shot by the Filmfair production company under the auspices of legendary animator Ivor Wood.
And both used stop motion animation,with actual 3D models & sets. ( "making of" page )
* Both series are set in the same,ostensibly normal,Victorian walled garden.
But it's a surreal world co-inhabited by some classic British human caricatures and some animals with distinctly human characteristics.And all named after garden herbs,whose traits they were supposed to share.
Although,names aside,the botanical connection was always somewhat tenuous and had disappeared completely by the time of the sequel -amongst some other significant changes (all outlined below)
* The series were contemporaries of other BBC animated kids classics like The Clangers (first shown 1969) ... Camberwick Green (1966) ... Trumpton (1967) ... The Pogles (1968) ... and Mary Mungo & Midge (1969).
But despite being just as popular at the time they struggle to get similar recognition now for some reason.
* Most widely remembered bit ?
Probably "Herbidacious" -the magic word used by the narrator at the start of every Herbs episode to open the garden gate. Although it wasn't used at all in the sequel. And here's the audio
* Dvds ?
Abbey Home Media secured the rights to bring out the entire Filmfair back-catalogue on dvd (from main rights holder Cookie Jar Entertainment) And piecemeal releases were finally capped off with a full boxset in 2008. ( "dvd" page )
* UK TV exposure ?
The last known sighting was a residency on NickleOdeon's Nickjr channel up until 2009.
But with so many channels these days it's entirely possible they've resurfaced somewhere .... or if they haven't,they will !
And,failing that,there's always the complete boxset of course.
* Spin-off toys,books etc ?
There hasn't been any for years -reflecting it's absence from mainstream terrestial tv.
But there was a fair bit produced from 1968 to the early 70s.Much of which can still be sourced ( "toys,books etc" page )