Friend Of The Animal World

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After we, erm, appropriated (okay, shamelessly nicked.) a cartoon of Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebilng from the website of top comedy mag Mustard yesterday, we got to reading their interview with Commander John Lloyd. In that interview, mention was made of the episode he co-wrote (along with Douglas Adams) of surreal Anglo-Dutch kids cartoon Dr Snuggles.

That very cartoon series is possibly one of our earliest telly-related memories, right up there with being scared when Kenny Everett burst through the Thames endcap, our parents being impressed that we could read Pages From Ceefax at such a young age (28 years old, we were, a-ha-ha-ha-ha), and not quite grasping why our BBC regional news was Midlands Today even though we lived in north Wales.

Now back to modern-day us, and we were already aware that Adams and Lloyd had scripted an episode of Yoop Visch’s animated opus, but never expected we’d ever get to see more than a grainy tenth-gen VHS clip of it on a clip show. It couldn’t be on YouTube, surely? At least not in full.

Oh, how wrong we were. Only in a good way for once, and not at all like the time we thought lemon-flavour Original Source shower gel might taste like the filling of lemon meringue pie.

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In the episode, Snuggles MD (voiced by Peter Ustinov, no less) goes looking for a river. SPOILER: the river is hiding in a cave, having undergone an existential crisis. Nope, we’re not joking.

Part of what we think was ITV’s first ever children’s TV strand – the unnecessarily threateningly-titled “Watch It!” – this jostled for position amongst the likes of Vicky The Viking, On Safari and The Book Tower, yet it’s Snuggles which really seems to have stuck in our memory. Seeing the part of this episode where cube-shaped chunks of the ocean have been stolen, we realised we still recall several parts of this episode with slightly unsettling accuracy, despite being about four or five years old at the time. That might not seem much to you, but speaking as a television blog who can barely remember how to wear shoes without iPadding up a video tutorial app each morning, that’s quite remarkable.

Is it any good? Well, don’t go expecting anything to rival the majesty of Dangermouse, but it’s certainly a cut above the landfill Hanna-Barbara fare being spewed out of America around that time. So, worth watching? We’ll say so. But hey, judge for yourself:

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