Peter Firmin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the English magician and television presenter, see Pete Firman.
Peter Firmin
Born Peter Arthur Firmin
(1928-12-11) 11 December 1928 (age 86)
Harwich, Essex
Occupation Artist, puppet maker (illustrator)
Spouse(s) Joan
Children 6 daughters

Peter Arthur Firmin (born 11 December 1928) is an English artist and puppet maker. He was the founder of Smallfilms, along with Oliver Postgate. Between them they created a number of popular children's TV programmes, The Saga of Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine, Clangers, Bagpuss and Pogles' Wood.

Early life[edit]

Born in Harwich, Essex, he trained at the Colchester School of Art in Colchester and the Central School of Art and Design in London. He worked in a stained glass studio and worked as a lecturer.

It was while he was teaching at the Central School of Art that Oliver Postgate came looking for, as Firmin puts it: "…someone to illustrate a television story – someone who was hard up and would do a lot of drawing for very little money".[1] They immediately 'clicked' and subsequently formed Smallfilms.


Most of Smallfilms' animation was produced in a farmyard barn in Blean near Canterbury in Kent. Firmin is an illustrator. He has written and illustrated two main books and illustrated many others including Seeing Things, Postgate's autobiography.

Firmin also co-created, with Ivan Owen, the TV puppet Basil Brush in 1963. He made the first puppet using a real fox tail.[2]


Firmin, having retired from TV production, now produces engravings and linocuts.

Noggin stamp[edit]

In 1994, Firmin provided an illustration for a British postage stamp, SG1804, featuring characters from Noggin the Nog. It was one of a set featuring characters from British children's literature. He produced further illustrations for the advertising campaign to publicise the stamps.[3][4]


He was awarded an honorary MA by the University of Kent on 17 July 1987. In 2011 Firmin was awarded the Freedom of the City of Canterbury in recognition of his "outstanding work".[5]

In November 2014 it was announced that Firmin would be honoured at the BAFTA Children's Awards.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Firmin is married to Joan, who knitted the Clangers from vibrant pink wool.

They have six daughters:[2] One, Emily, appeared in the opening sequence of Bagpuss.

The Firmins still live on the farm in Blean, Kent, where Smallfilms produced their programmes.


  • Seeing Things: An Autobiography, Oliver Postgate; illustrated by Peter Firmin, 2000 - ISBN 0-330-39000-7


  1. ^ Peter Firmin, Dragons' Friendly Society .
  2. ^ a b "Saggy old cloth cat pulls in the crowds". Canterbury Adscene (Kent Regional News and Media). 2007-11-09. pp. 4–5. 
  3. ^ "Stamps and First Day Cover". Smallfilms website. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  4. ^ "Noggin the Nog Memorabilia – stamps". Northlands (Neil Jones). 1997–2003. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  5. ^ "Bagpuss co-creator Peter Firmin's freedom of Canterbury". BBC News. 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2011-06-08. 
  6. ^ "Bagpuss co-creator Peter Firmin gets Bafta honour". BBC News. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 

External links[edit]