Noah and Nelly in... SkylArk

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Noah and Nelly in SkylArk
Genre Animated
Created by Grange Calveley
Voices of Richard Briers
Peter Hawkins
Theme music composer Peter Gosling
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 30
Producer(s) Bob Godfrey
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 5 minutes
Original network BBC1
Carlton Kids (1998–2000)
Picture format 4:3
Audio format Monaural sound
Original release 1976 – 1977

Noah and Nelly in... SkylArk (1976–1977) is a children's cartoon series produced by Bob Godfrey's Movie Emporium.


Noah and Nelly was created by Grange Calveley, writer of the earlier and better known Roobarb cartoon. The five-minute films depict a world loosely based around Noah's Ark. However, Calveley's surreal interpretation involves two-headed talking animals reminiscent of the pushmi-pullyu known to Doctor Dolittle. Each animal has a cheerful, optimistic head at one end and an unhappy, pessimistic head at the other. Even the SkylArk itself is a longship with a figurehead at either end, one smiling, the other frowning. Although there is only one animal of each type, they are referred to in the plural - Brian the lions and Rose the Elephants. As with the earlier Roobarb, the main narration is provided by British actor Richard Briers. However, co-narrator Peter Hawkins manages to find a different and appropriate voice for each of the many animals.


The story follows roughly the same pattern each episode. Captain Nutty Noah consults his map and randomly picks out a place to visit. The SkylArk is then shown travelling to its destination by balloon, on wheels, underwater with snorkelling figureheads or occasionally even by sea. On arriving at their destination, the SkylArk's crew find various strange inhabitants such as talking television sets who are suffering some kind of problem they can't solve themselves (for example, the television sets are stuck showing the news over and over again and getting bored). The animals often help in some way, but the day is invariably saved by Noah's wife Nelly, who uses her knitting skills to create machines which solve the problem in some way. Nelly knits everything from drilling rigs to crash helmets; her supply of wool seems almost inexhaustible but she occasionally has to unravel the ship's sails when she runs out.


The illustration style used in Noah and Nelly appears to have developed from the style used for Roobarb, but cel animation is used where Roobarb had marker drawings. Although this technique is arguably more polished, it does not create the same degree of "boiling" (i.e., deliberate misalignment of successive frames of animation) that was used to such innovative effect in the earlier series. Producer Bob Godfrey seems to have deliberately gone back to a more rough and ready style for his third cartoon series Henry's Cat, which was also better known than Noah and Nelly. It seems that more mainstream production techniques may have led to Noah and Nelly's ending up less famous than its siblings, in spite of its unique storyline and witty script. Equally, however, it could simply be down to the fact that Noah and Nelly was not repeated anywhere near as frequently as its stablemates; its final repeat run (which only covered selected episodes, not the full 26) was in 1980, a mere four years after it began, and it has not been shown on British television since. By contrast, both Roobarb and Henry's Cat were repeated into the 1990s and beyond.


  • During a Savings Week
  • During the Time We Were Here
  • During Tea
  • During a Long Time Ago
  • During a Stay at Resovoir Desert
  • During Something and Nothing
  • During a Smashing Time
  • During a Very Damp Spell
  • During a Steam Up
  • During a Flower Show
  • During a Wail of a Time
  • During a Sweep Stake
  • During a Very Funny Day
  • During a Stay at Clockword Canyon
  • During Lunch
  • During a Splashing Time
  • During a Frame Up
  • During a Reading Lesson
  • During a String of Events
  • During a Very High Flight
  • During a Jumpy Time
  • During a Journey Abroad
  • During a Fishing Holiday
  • During a Seasonal Time
  • During a Wild Day
  • During One Afternoon
  • During a Quiet Time

VHS releases[edit]

The series was released on VHS in the mid 1990's under the names of Noah and nelly in the skylark volume 1 and Noah and nelly in the skylark volume 2. Both these VHS tapes are very rare.

External links[edit]