Postman Pat

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Postman Pat
Postman-Pat.jpg
Postman Pat and his black and white cat, Jess, in the original series.
Genreanimated television series
Created byJohn Cunliffe[1]
Developed byIvor Wood
Written byJohn Cunliffe[1]
Directed byIvor Wood[1]
Voices of
Narrated byKen Barrie (1981–1996)
Composers
  • Bryan Daly (1981–1996)
  • Simon Woodgate (2003–2017)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series8
No. of episodes184 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersfor CBBC: for Entertainment Rights:
  • Jane Smith
  • Oliver Ellis
for Cosgrove Hall Films:
  • Chris Bowden
Producers
  • Debbie Pears
  • Jo Jorden
EditorMartin Bohan
Running time
  • 15 minutes (series)
  • 30 minutes (specials)
Production companies
Distributor
Release
Original network
Picture format
Audio format
Original releaseOriginal series:
16 September 1981 (1981-09-16) – 24 December 2007 (2007-12-24)
Special Delivery Service:
29 September 2008 (2008-09-29) –
29 March 2017 (2017-03-29)
External links
Website

Postman Pat is a British stop-motion animated television series first produced by Woodland Animations. The series follows the adventures of Pat Clifton, a postman who works for Royal Mail postal service in the fictional village of Greendale (inspired by the real valley of Longsleddale near Kendal).[3]

Postman Pat's first 13-episode series was screened on BBC One in 1981.[4] John Cunliffe wrote the original treatment and scripts, and it was directed by animator Ivor Wood, who also worked on The Magic Roundabout, The Wombles, Paddington, and The Herbs. Following the success of the first series, four TV specials and a second series of 13 episodes were produced during the 1990s. Here, Pat had a family shown on screen for the first time (though his wife had been mentioned in a number of episodes[5]). A new version of the series was produced by Cosgrove Hall Films from 2003, which expanded on many aspects of the original series.

Plot[edit]

Each episode follows the adventures of Patrick Clifton, a friendly country postman, and his "black and white cat" Jess, as he delivers the post through the valley of Greendale. Although he initially concentrates on delivering his letters, he nearly always becomes distracted by a concern of one of the villagers, and is always keen to help resolve their problems. Notable villagers include the postmistress, Mrs. Goggins; Alfred and Dorothy Thompson, the farmers; PC Selby, the police constable; Pat and Sara Clifton; Jeff Pringle, the teacher; Ajay Bains, driver of the Greendale Rocket and Pencaster Flyer; Nisha Bains, the owner of the cafe; and Ted Glen, the local handyman and inventor.

Setting[edit]

Postman Pat is set in the fictional village of Greendale and the nearby town of Pencaster, on the border between Cumbria and North Yorkshire.

Greendale has a different character in the various Postman Pat series. In the original series (1 and 2), it was a small village with narrow, winding roads. The gentle pace of life allowed Pat plenty of time to enjoy the countryside as he passed through, or even stop on quiet days to have a picnic.

In the more recent series, Greendale became a big, busy village situated in the heart of the Cumbrian countryside. Running through the centre of the village is the High Street, home to Mrs Goggins's Post Office and shop, an unofficial meeting place for residents. Located on the edge of the village is the railway station, home to the Greendale Rocket. Nisha Bains runs a popular café there with Sara while her husband Ajay runs a regular schedule on the Greendale Rocket to the nearby town of Pencaster.

In the second series of the show, which aired in the mid-90s, the village at the centre of the series was briefly referred to as Garner Bridge, while Greendale was the name of the valley in which Garner Bridge was situated. In the episode Postman Pat and the Suit of Armour, Greendale Post Office is referred to as "Garner Bridge Post Office".

Pencaster is a large, bustling, modern town located within easy commuting distance for the villagers of Greendale. Situated on the waterfront, Pencaster is a hive of activity, boasting a market square in the centre surrounded by shops, houses, a large railway station, state-of-the-art buildings, and a boat jetty. It bears some resemblance to Lancaster, the county town of Lancashire, which likewise is a short commute from Longsleddale, the area used as the inspiration for Greendale.[citation needed]

Ingledale is another large, busy village town situated in the heart of the North Yorkshire countryside, only seen once in a special in 1991, set to make a second appearance in the revival.

Inspiration[edit]

Cunliffe, interviewed about the series, has said that he chose the character of a postman since he needed a character who could visit the countryside and interact with many different people.[6][7][8]

The inspiration for the post office itself comes from one located on the Kendal street where Cunliffe lived when he was writing the original treatment. The post office, at 10 Greenside, closed in 2003.[9]

Cunliffe did not retain rights to the character, and was disappointed by some of the tie-in media later released. He wrote the stories to the series Rosie and Jim, which he also presented, as a show which he could have more creative control over.[8]

While Cunliffe visited post offices for inspiration, he has said that the character and village was not based on any one place or person. He commented in 2015 that "I got maybe half a dozen people last year saying they were the inspiration."[10]

Cast[edit]

In the first series Ken Barrie voiced all the characters and narrated the series. In Series 2 Carole Boyd joined to voice all the female characters and child characters except Granny Dryden who was still voiced by Barrie. In Series 3 Kulvinder Ghir, Janet James, and Archie Panjabi joined to voice the new characters and the child characters while Boyd continued to voice the adult females, Charlie and Sarah, Melissa Sinden and Jimmy Hibbert also joined to perform the animal characters' vocal effects and Angela Griffin joined in Series 5 to voice a new character. In Series 6 Lewis MacLeod replaced Barrie as Pat. In Series 7 Barrie left completely and MacLeod, Bradley Clarkson, and Dan Milne took over the rest of Barrie's characters. Joe Trill joined in Series 8 to voice a new character.

  • Lewis MacLeod as Patrick "Pat" Clifton (series 6-present), Ben Taylor, Robot 1, Sat Nav, Alf Thompson (series 7-present), Sean McGuinness
  • Ken Barrie as Patrick "Pat" Clifton (series 1–5), Matt Clifton, Mrs. Goggins (series 1), Ted Glen (series 1–6), Alf Thompson (series 1–6), Dorothy Thompson (series 1), Bill Thompson (series 1), Reverend Peter Timms (series 1–6), Julia Pottage (series 1), Katy Pottage (series 1), Tom Pottage (series 1), PC Arthur Selby (series 2–6), Lucy Selby (series 1), Sylvia Gilbertson (series 1), Sarah Gilbertson (series 1), Jeff Pringle, Charlie Pringle (series 1), Rebecca Hubbard (series 1), Sam Waldron, Granny Dryden, Peter Fogg, Major Forbes, George Lancaster, Santa Claus, Train Inspector, Pumpkin Wrigglesworth, Narrator, Radio Greendale Speaker, John, George, Countdown Sequence Voice
  • Carole Boyd as Sara Clifton, Julian Clifton (series 2), Mrs. Goggins (series 2-present), Dorothy Thompson (series 2-present), Bill Thompson (series 2), Julia Pottage (series 2–5), Katy Pottage (series 2), Tom Pottage (series 2), Betty Pottage, Lucy Selby (series 2), Sylvia Gilbertson (series 2-present), Sarah Gilbertson (series 2-present), Jackie Gilbertson, Charlie Pringle (series 2-present), Rebecca Hubbard (series 2), George's Wife, Radio Weather Woman
  • Kulvinder Ghir as Bill Thompson (series 3-present), Tom Pottage (series 3–5), Ajay Bains, Bessie Thompson, Michael Lam, Robot 2, Grizzly, Shopper-Bot 3000
  • Janet James as Julian Clifton (series 3-present), Lucy Selby (series 3-present), Lauren Taylor
  • Archie Panjabi as Katy Pottage (series 3–5), Nisha Bains, Meera Bains
  • Melissa Sinden as Jess Clifton, Polly Clifton, Dotty Pringle, Bonnie Goggins
  • Angela Griffin as Amy Wrigglesworth, Lizzy Taylor, Flora, Rowena Roberts, Duchess of Pencaster
  • Bradley Clarkson as Ted Glen (series 7-present), Arthur Selby (series 7-present), Ned Glen
  • Dan Milne as Reverend Peter Timms (series 7-present)
  • Joel Trill as Chris Beacon
  • Professor Brian Cox as Professor Ryan Farrow (Guest star)

Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service[edit]

In the spin-off series, Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service (originally Postman Pat: SDS), Postman Pat has been promoted to Head of the SDS and is now called upon to deliver anything. Each episode follows Postman Pat on a Special Delivery mission, from rescuing a runaway cow to delivering a giant ice cube. In his new role, Postman Pat commutes to the nearby town of Pencaster where he collects his special deliveries from the Pencaster Mail Centre. Postman Pat now has a new fleet of vehicles including a gyrocopter, 4x4 Jeep and motorbike, complete with side-car for Jess.[11] He has a new boss, Ben, who tends to give him instructions (whereas he was his own master before the "promotion"). Pat also seems to make more mistakes in his work since moving to SDS, largely because the new format is always based on one delivery, which has to go wrong somehow (thus often because of Pat's errors).

The series features an expanded and diverse cast, a fleet of new vehicles, a world full of gadgets and the new town of Pencaster. Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service first screened on BBC2 on 29 September 2008. The new series was commissioned by the BBC and produced by Entertainment Rights and Cosgrove Hall Films.

A new series aired in 2016.[12]

Episodes[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
11316 September 1981 (1981-09-16)9 December 1981 (1981-12-09)
2133 April 1997 (1997-04-03)8 September 1997 (1997-09-08)
3267 September 2004 (2004-09-07)14 October 2004 (2004-10-14)
42627 February 2006 (2006-02-27)10 May 2006 (2006-05-10)
52816 April 2007 (2007-04-16)24 December 2007 (2007-12-24)
62629 September 2008 (2008-09-29)19 December 2008 (2008-12-19)
72611 February 2013 (2013-02-11)20 December 2013 (2013-12-20)
82622 November 2016 (2016-11-22)29 March 2017 (2017-03-29)
Specials1210 October 1990 (1990-10-10)2 April 2006 (2006-04-02)

Outside the main broadcast series[edit]

Film[edit]

Postman Pat: The Movie, a British-American 3D computer-animated comedy children's feature film version of the British stop-motion animated children's television show, was theatrically released on 23 May 2014 in the United Kingdom. The film was distributed and produced by Lionsgate and Icon Productions and animated by Rubicon Group Holding. The story revolves around Pat entering a talent show audition which leads to robots taking over his postal service whilst he is away. The film stars Stephen Mangan as the voice of Pat and also features Jim Broadbent, Rupert Grint, David Tennant, Ronan Keating, Susan Duerden, Sandra Teles, TJ Ramini and Peter Woodward.

Spin-off[edit]

A CGI spin-off to the series was made called Guess with Jess which follows Pat's cat Jess now with the ability to talk and his adventures with the farm animals. The series debuted on 9 November 2009 and ended in 2013.

Music[edit]

Music for the original 1981 series was by Bryan Daly,[13] who wrote a number of songs including the well-known theme tune. For the 2003 series, pop writer Simon Woodgate scored the show and wrote new songs, including a new closing theme "What's in His Bag?". The theme tune "Postman Pat & His Black and White Cat" was sung by Ken Barrie for the original series in the 1980s and '90s. An extended version of the tune was released as a single in the UK where it reached number 44 in the charts in July 1982.[14]

The theme tune and songs for Postman Pat Special Delivery Service (including "Special Delivery Service, What's It Going to Be Today?"), was recorded by Simon Woodgate at Echobass Studios.

In 2013 Classic Media released Postman Pat SDS series 2. The new 26-episode series retained Bryan Daly's original theme tune and Simon Woodgate's closing song, however new character themes and incidental music was composed by Sandy Nuttgens.

There is also an album called Postman Pat: Songs and Music From the TV Series, released by Post Music in 1982.

The theme song has undergone several adaptations; from 1994 to 2006, the theme tune had additional instruments such as synthesised strings and a tambourine. A similar edit had already been made to the 1993 album version, which was an edit of the original 1982 album version.

Books[edit]

As of 2009, over 12 million books, including storybooks, integrated learning books, colouring books, and multi-character magazines, have been sold worldwide.[15]

Advertising[edit]

The Postman Pat characters and setting have also been used in the UK and Australia in television advertisements for the company Specsavers.

Production[edit]

DVD and VHS releases[edit]

VHS releases of the series were common in the United Kingdom and more uncommon in other regions.

DVD releases of classic Postman Pat were limited in availability in various regions. In the UK, only one volume with three episodes from Series 2 was released by Universal Studios Home Video and Right Entertainment in 2004 under the title Postman Pat in a Muddle. The same year saw the entire original series released on DVD in Spain, featuring both English and Spanish audio options.[16] Unfortunately, however, for Series 1, the original opening titles which featured Pat driving in the original version of his van with a crown logo (which Pat used until Pat's Thirsty Day) was replaced with an edited version of the shot for shot remake of the original intro (which had Pat driving the Royal Mail Van) as used when the show aired in countries like France and Australia. The edits made to the intro on the DVD involved some shots being replaced by scenes from Pat's Difficult Day, Pat Takes A Message and Pat's Foggy Day. This edited intro was also used when CBeebies reran the show. No further releases were seen in the UK until 2011 when Classic Media issued all four specials from 1991 to 1994 on the DVD Happy Birthday Postman Pat. On 3 February 2014, the first and second series were made available in their entirety for the first time in the UK, However the titles are both season 2 with the season 3 theme which came under scrutiny from classic fans and also credits Carole Boyd as doing voices in series 1, despite it being only Ken Barrie.[17][18]

Other versions[edit]

In Scotland, Postman Pat is shown not only in English but also sometimes broadcast as Pàdraig Post, in the Gaelic language, on BBC Scotland.

Postman Pat Village at Longleat[edit]

Longleat Safari Park had an outdoor reproduction of Greendale village, including the Post Office, the Cliftons' house and the Greendale station. It also had a miniature model of Greendale.[19] It was installed during the 1990s, was relocated during 2008 in preparation for a new animal area and was revamped a third time for 2013. The attraction was closed at the end of 2015 and was permanently removed in 2016.

Award nominations[edit]

In 2006, Postman Pat was nominated for "Best Pre-school Animation Series" at the BAFTA Children's Awards.[20]

Parodies[edit]

  • Harry Enfield and Chums featured a parody entitled "Il Postino Pat" (the show's Italian title), with an operatic reworking of the theme tune and the characters speaking in Italian. At the end there is a communist revolution in Greendale and Pat is shot and killed by fascist soldiers.[21]
  • Harry and Paul parodied Postman Pat in series 3 and 4 with "Parking Pataweyo", an African immigrant working as a stereotypically uncompromising traffic warden, played by Daniel Kaluuya, whose name and theme tune are based on Pat's.
  • Spitting Image in 1987 the topical satirical puppet series, featured "Temporary Postman Pratt"[22] in a send-up of Royal Mail's employment of temporary postal workers during busy times. In the opening titles, Pratt can be seen driving a familiar (though yellow in colour) van along country roads before running over a black and white cat. Pratt likes to clear his workload as quickly as he can by dumping the post rather than delivering it. He is portrayed as a student who is lazy and rude.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Postman Pat's creator looks back at its conception". BBC News. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2014. The first episode, Postman Pat's Finding Day, was broadcast on 16 September 1981
  2. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/19980703165237/http://www.hitentertainment.com/hit_ecat.html#_Toc406920269[bare URL]
  3. ^ "Postman Pat". BBC. 30 March 2006. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  4. ^ DeMott, Rick (13 June 2011). "Postman Pat Kicks Off 30th Birthday Celebration". Animation World Network. Retrieved 24 June 2014. First introduced on BBC1 on September 16, 1981,...
  5. ^ Series one - Episode 3 - Postman Pat's Birthday
  6. ^ "Postman Pat's creator looks back at its conception". BBC News. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Postman Pat's creator John Cunliffe has been at a school in Kendal". ITV. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  8. ^ a b Davies, Nick. "The Selling of Postman Pat". nickdavies.net. The Guardian. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  9. ^ Visit Cumbria – Beast Banks Post Office, Kendal. Retrieved 6 January 2009
  10. ^ "Arisaig villagers shocked after author kills legend that kids' cartoon favourite was based on Highland postie". Daily Record. 24 January 2015. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Postman Pat goes postal", The Register.
  12. ^ "Postman Pat – Postman Pat Trailer". Archived from the original on 15 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Bryan DALY Obituary". The Times. 20 January 2012. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  14. ^ "The Official Charts Company". Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  15. ^ CHappet, Marie-Claire (16 September 2011). "Postman Pat: from Greendale to Hollywood". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  16. ^ "8 DVD Spanish box set". Amazon. Amazon.
  17. ^ "Postman Pat: Series 1 – Postman Pat Takes A Message". 3 February 2014 – via Amazon.
  18. ^ "Postman Pat: Series 2 – Postman Pat's Big Surprise". 3 February 2014 – via Amazon.
  19. ^ "Longleat – As featured on BBC's Animal Park". Archived from the original on 24 March 2005.
  20. ^ "Past Winners and Nominees – Children's – Awards – 2006". BAFTA. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  21. ^ "Harry Enfield and Chums - S2 Ep5 - BBC". www.youtube.com. Archived from the original on 28 November 2015.
  22. ^ "Temporary Postman Pratt on Spitting Image (ITV)", Spitting Image (ITV).

External links[edit]