The Adventures of Portland Bill

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The Adventures of Portland Bill
Created byJohn Grace
StarringNorman Rossington
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of episodes26
Running time5mins
Original networkITV Network
Original release4 October 1983

The Adventures of Portland Bill is a British stop motion animated children's television series made in 1983. It is set in a fictional lighthouse on the Guillemot Rock, just off the coast from the fictional village of McGuillycuddy. Norman Rossington provides the voice of all the characters, with Portland Bill acting as the narrator of each episode.


Most of its characters were named after British Sea Areas and coastal weather stations and other words that occur in shipping forecasts:

These live in the lighthouse:

The rest of the characters live elsewhere:

  • Fastnet: fisherman, lives on the island
  • Mrs. Lundy: owns cottage on mainland
  • Grandma Tiree: makes oatcakes for the lighthousemen
  • Inspector Ronaldsway: belongs to the lighthouse service
  • Finisterre: owns a croft
  • Eddy Stone: owns the village shop; also is the village's milkman, mayor, postman, meter-reader and policeman.
  • Young Gail: lives in McGuillycuddy



Whilst commonly believed to be based on the real Portland Bill Lighthouse and Isle of Portland, there is no evidence to back this up beyond the main character having the name Portland Bill. In fact, with the name of the nearest village, and the proximity of a Croft owned by Finisterre the Crofter, there is evidence to suggest it is actually based in Scotland.


  • The Puffin: rowboat, belongs to Portland Bill.
  • The Kipper: used by Eddy Stone and Inspector Ronaldsway.



  • Originated by: John Grace
  • Director of Animation: Barry Leith
  • Designed by: John Grace, Barry Leith
  • Assistant Animators: Humphrey Leadbitter, Heather Boucher
  • Model Makers: Martin Cheek, Gordon Tait, Linda Thodesen
  • Music by: John Grace, Mik Parsons
  • Editor: Robert Dunbar
  • Assistant Editor: Andi Sloss
  • Production Coordinator: Barrie Edwards
  • Stories Adapted for TV by: Ian Sachs
  • Executive Producer: Graham Clutterbuck

Transmission guide[edit]

  • Series 1: 13 editions from 4 October 1983 – 3 January 1984
  • Series 2: 13 editions from 9 April 1986 – 25 June 1986


  • The series was narrated by actor of Spooner's Patch and Big Jim and the Figaro Club, Norman Rossington.
  • In the US, the show was redubbed in 1990 by Canadian voice actor Garry Chalk, and was broadcast on Disney Channel
  • The show also aired on ABC in Australia (10 August 1987 – 28 February 1992).

VHS releases[edit]

Snapdragon Video released a collection of 10 Portland Bill stories:

Title Catalogue number Release date Episodes
Portland Bill: 10 Stories from the Classic TV Series SD 9001 7 October 1991
  • Dogger to the Rescue
  • Gone Fishing
  • Kite Flying
  • Forty Winks
  • Bad Dogger
  • Last Jam Tart
  • Sky High
  • St. Bozo's Treasure
  • Penguins
  • The Phantom Piper

In the 1990s Castle Communications Plc released three videos with four episodes (or eight stories) each:

VHS Name Castle Vision Catalogue Number Playbox Catalogue Number Episodes
Portland Bill: 45 Minutes of Fun CVS 4040 PVC 145
  • A Jam Session / A Visit from Inspector Ronaldsway
  • The Wrong Semaphore Message / Cromarty's Treasure Hunt
  • A Weather Forecasting Kit / Dogger Saves the Day
  • A Knot Tying Day / A Wind-Powered Vacuum Cleaner
Portland Bill: Four Original Episodes CVS 4041 PVC 146
  • A Slapstick Fun Painting Effort / A Memorable Day Trip
  • Staging a Fishing Contest / Telling the Time by Seaweed
  • A Day Off That Gets Busy / A Scary Night Watch
  • Cromarty Gets Hiccups / A Surprise for Eddie Stone
Portland Bill: Four Classic Adventures CVS 4042 PVC 147
  • The Storm That Does Chores / A Whistling Kettle for a Runaway Bull
  • Baking with the Wrong Flour / The Causing-Chaos Penguin
  • Valentia the Parrot
  • A Mermaid Trick / The Oil Rig Customer

DVD Releases[edit]

Abbey Home Media released two DVDs containing twenty four episodes from the first season. The episodes are presented in single bill format and do not include the songs that were originally featured between two episodes each.

Title Release date Episodes
The Adventures Of Portland Bill: Changeable Weather 12 June 2006
  • Changeable Weather
  • The Tourists
  • The Fishing Match
  • The Seaweed Clock
  • Bill's Busy Day
  • The Sea Monster
  • Bedtime for Cromarty
  • The Birthday Surprise
  • The Jam Session
  • An Inspector Calls
  • Important Message
  • Burried Treasure
The Adventures Of Portland Bill: Atmospheric Interference 26 March 2007
  • Atmospheric Interference
  • Dogger's Best Trick
  • A Knot for Everything
  • The Wind Powered Vacuum Cleaner
  • The Good News Storm
  • The Whistling Kettle
  • Baking Day
  • Bird Watching
  • The Lost Key
  • The Singing Parrot
  • Portland Bill and the Mermaid
  • The Big Shopping List

See also[edit]

External links[edit]