Stage: Noggin the Nog Rides again at the Connaught


For a whole generation the name Noggin The Nog will conjure up early evening joy. Noggin was the creation of Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, a pair of brilliant young animators who went on to create some of the most iconic children’s entertainment of the last 60 years – Basil Brush, Bagpuss, The Pingwings, Olly Beak and Fred Barker, The Clangers… yes the word ‘genius’ surely comes into play.

Now Noggin The Nog comes to the stage as a delightfully different show for families and fans. Noggin the Nog has been adapted by Third Party Productions, and has been directed by John Wright from Postgate & Firmin’s stories and the original TV films.

The show was a five star hit at Edinburgh and Brighton Festivals in 2015. A company of rather English Vikings tell the story in live action, with puppetry, live music and projection of clips from the original films. Accompanied by the brave and mighty Thor Nogson and the great green bird Graculus, the audience travel north on a journey of adventure and discovery, to battle against the fearsome ice dragon and the dastardly deeds of Noggin’s wicked uncle, Nogbad the Bad.

The Saga of Noggin the Nog was first produced by Smallfilms for the BBC in 1959, originally in black & white, although later re-filmed in colour in 1982. The inspiration for the first Saga of Noggin the Nog (BBC, 1959) came from a set of Norse chess figures from the Isle of Lewis which Peter Firmin had seen in the British Museum in the early 1950s. One story tells that they were rooted from the sand in Uig Bay by a dim-witted farmer who mistook them for elves and promptly fled. Peter decided they were Nogs.

Noggin is a family show with a strong cross generational appeal

The association between Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin began in 1958 with Alexander the Mouse, which they produced for Rediffusion’s magnetic animation system. This went out live and was as hazardous as it sounds with figures dropping off, turning round and whizzing across the screen. Noggin the Nog was made in single frame animation by Smallfilms – set up in a barn at Peter and Joan’s farmhouse in Kent, their classic films are still loved by viewers of all ages.

With simple techniques and delightful storytelling, (children’s entertainment once moved at a less frenetic pace) Noggin is a family show with a strong cross generational appeal. It has such a retro appeal that the company have staged special performances solely to adult audiences.

Peter Firmin talks with childlike enthusiasm about the Noggin stage show: “When we saw it, we were delighted because it’s a bit silly.” He often uses the word ‘silly’ in an entirely positive context. “I think the show appeals to all ages really, to people who remember the series and children who’ve never seen it.” He recalls with a smile, when they first saw the play performed in Ramsgate, the audience was largely made up of “hairy old men”.

Noggin The Nog is produced by Third Party Productions & Mischievous Theatre supported by The Arts Council of England and in association with The New Diorama theatre Regents Park and Theatre Royal Margate.

Noggin The Nog, Connaught Theatre, Worthing, Saturday 10 February
box office 01903 206 206

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