|This article relies on references to primary sources. (February 2008)|
Mooncat was a puppet character who, as his name suggests, was a cat from the moon. He appeared on Children's ITV from 1981 to 1985 in the series Get Up and Go! and the follow-up Mooncat and Co produced by Yorkshire Television.
Mooncat was puppeteered and voiced by David Claridge, who went on to create, voice and puppeteer Roland Rat.
Get Up and Go!
Get Up And Go! was presented by Beryl Reid and Stephen Boxer The series revolved around Mooncat learning about life on earth. Subjects covered included shapes, movement, being careful and taking turns.
The format regularly included Reid and Boxer explaining an everyday subject to Mooncat and looking at a film about it on his Moon Machine through either the round, square or triangle screen, this bore a striking resemblance to the 'through the windows' feature on BBC TV's Play School. Then there would be a story about Billie, a little girl who like Christopher Robin had toys that came to life - these were Woodley a dog (presumably real), Monkey, Mrs Pinkerton-Trunks an elephant and Mr Milford Haven, a lion. This was usually narrated by Reid but occasionally by Boxer who accompanied the story with dramatic piano riffs in the style of an old black-and-white movie.
A song would then follow with music composed and played by Stephen Boxer on guitar before the episode was wrapped. It was unclear how the Beryl and Stephen characters had come to be living under the same roof but they lived there happily with Mooncat until the storyline had Stephen move out of the house to live and work in a playgroup. Despite this, Boxer continued as a co-presenter often talking about his work at the playgroup with an accompanying short film of this.
- Series 1: 27 editions - 9 April 1981 - 24 December 1981
- Series 2: 20 editions - 25 February 1982 - 8 July 1982
- Series 3: 9 editions - 6 January 1983 - 3 March 1983
Mooncat and Co
In June 1984 the format changed. Reid was unable to film the next series having been offered a role in a major ITV drama. The series title was changed to Mooncat and Co and a new format was devised.
The storyline now had Stephen and Mooncat living in a junk shop which Stephen ran. The Moon Machine was abolished and now Mooncat had regular contact with the outside world, for example trips out to purchase the subject of the episode such as a telephone or a new carpet. The Beryl role was filled by a different guest in every episode, these included Pam Ayres, Patsy Rowlands, Wilf Lunn and Kenny Lynch. But probably the most memorable was Pat Coombs whose eponymous character was a WPC.
Mooncat would call her Policewoman, Pat, another apparent sly BBC reference this time to their smash hit series Postman Pat. The stories continued to be written by Shirley Isherwood who had written the Billy stories but now featured other characters which changed from week to week though there were some regulars such as Robert and his pet alien Grimond.
Stephen Boxer eventually left and was replaced by Opportunity Knocks finalist Berni Flint, although Boxer's face remained on the opening credits as the storyline gave a reason for his prolonged absence. The series ended on September 26, 1985 and a week later Mooncat and Co was replaced by Puddle Lane. Both Mooncat series were written by Rick Vanes.
- Series 1: 25 editions - 5 July 1984 - 20 December 1984
- Series 2: 7 editions - 14 March 1985 - 25 April 1985
Mooncat is also the name given to popular children's entertainer, Joe 'Moons Kids' Newman