The Wombles are small furry creatures who live together in an underground burrow on Wimbledon Common. They collect all the rubbish left behind by untidy humans, and recycle it into something useful.
“Underground, overground, wombling free, the Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we”
These early environmentalists originated in a series of children’s books by Elisabeth Beresford in the early 1970s, then became a much-loved children’s TV series voiced by Bernard Cribbens from 1973-1975, accompanied by Mike Batt’s best-selling pop group and their four albums.
The late 1990s saw a Canadian remake of the TV series and an accompanying set of new full-colour books, and there have been sporadic reappearances since then, including 2011’s reissue of the Wombles ‘W Factor’ Greatest Hits collection and Wombling Merry Christmas single and Bloomsbury’s reissue of the books with gorgeous new illustrations. Mike Batt is currently developing a new TV series and is planning a global marketing campaign to help the whole world to Remember They’re A Womble….
The Wombles are part of the public consciousness, frequently being referred to in relation to eco-warriors, recyclers, being thrifty, picking up litter and tidying up in general. As each new generation finds the Wombles for themselves, it never hurts to have a grown-up thrust a Wombles dvd into an unsuspecting child’s hands and tell them how much better kids TV was in our day…
Throughout all these different incarnations, one thing has remained constant – the merchandising potential of a well-loved children’s brand.