The Treacle People
The Treacle People was a children's television programme shown on CITV in the United Kingdom, from 3 May 1996 to 25 July 1997. It had two series, each with 13 episodes, before being cancelled due to poor ratings. In a similar vein to other shows by the same writer, the humour worked on two levels for younger and older viewers. It was produced by The London Studios for London Weekend Television (Granada Television produced the second series) and Fire Mountain Productions in association with Link Entertainment.
The show was written by Brian (the writer of Danger Mouse) and Johnathan Trueman and was based in a fictionalized version of the Northern English village of Sabden, in Pendle, where treacle is (allegedly) a natural resource extracted through mines. However, the mines have run dry from overextraction, and the village may face destruction from a lack of economy. The main characters, Wizzle and Rosie use a Treacle finder, similar to a water dowser, to discover a vein of treacle in the abandoned mines, bringing hope to the village. The two series focus on reopening the mines, and problems faced (such as exportation). One of the recurring support characters was the Moobark, a cross between a Friesian cow and an Airedale Terrier.
There is an official website still maintained (but not updated) featuring the second episode of the first series, known as "The Great Escape".
Series 1 (1996)
1. "Treacle Trouble" - Times are hard for The Treacle People. The once-great treacle mines are running dry and the treacle industry is in crisis. Only Bill Wizzle and his treacle-tracker are their only hope on finding new supplies.
2. "The Great Escape" - Having found treacle in the mines, the sticky heroes also discover that they can't get out. But thanks to the Professor, two old mine carts and a sack of bubbles, all is not lost...
3. "Trouble at t'Mill" - Silas gives Rosie and Wizzle a job helping in the treacle mill but with Bert the Boggart causing all sorts of chaos, Silas discovers they are better off unemployed than employed.
4. "Up, Up and Away!" - The Professor builds a balloon to export the treacle, but PC Pendle and Bert accidentally take it for unauthorized test drive...
5. "Double Digging" - Having failed to export the treacle from the valley via the balloon, Tapper and Ike decide to dig a tunnel.
6. " It Must Be Fete" - The villages hold an ill-fated fete, with over-competitive competitors, misjudged judging and a band that should be banned.
7. "Stormy Weather" - When rain stops play, Wizzle goes to rescue Moobark and ends up trapped in a ginger beer flood.
8. "Revolting Boggarts" - There's trouble when the Boggarts revolt and run riot in Bessie. Luckily, Silas is there to negotiate, even more luckily, Rosie is there to stop him.
9. "What's the Drill?" - The Professor's latest invention the "Frothmatic Turbo Drill" causes chaos by tunneling through treacle and wrecking rocks.
10. "Sticky Like Us" - The Professor's super sticky treacle vapour has everybody stuck. How will the villagers get unstuck?
11. "Where's Charlie?" - Charlie leaves the "Bubble and Boggart" after constant harassment off Lil, and goes to seek his fortune, but only finds misfortune when he ends up at Nellie Newchurch's Perfect Parkin Parlour.
12. "Slippery Slopes" - Silas tries to make a fortune out of waffles and when that ends in disaster, Tapper accidentally makes and artificial Ski Slope with the remaining waffles, much to Rosie's delight.
13. "Show up For Showdown" - Will the sticky heroes survive the village show? And what on Earth are they going to do with 300 tonnes of candyfloss?
14. Christmas Special - "A Sticky Christmas" - It's Christmas time in Sabden, and the Professor has invented a weather making machine to create snow. But when the machine smothers the sky full of thick fog and snow clouds, Rosie worries that Santa will not find the village and not deliver everybody's presents.
Series 2 (1997)
1. "One Flu Over the Boggart's Nest" - When all the Boggarts in Sabden are sick, Brendan's Scottish cousin, "Digger" comes over and brings his special recipe cure, porridge.
2. "Digger Digs In" - Now Digger has taken up residence in Sabden, he must find a job. Silas is reluctant to employ him at first but Digger mentions he is not interested in any wages and just wants a roof over his head and plenty of unpaid work, much to Silas' delight. Unfortunately, Pendle causes a stir the next morning when he accidentally causes the Bubble and Boggart to blow up whilst hitting a pressure cooker full of porridge.
3. "Just the Job" - Rosie, Wizzle and Tapper help to fix the "Bubble and Boggart". Whilst Lil takes refuge from Nellie Newchurch, but it isn't long until their at each other's throats once again.
4. "Loose Change" - The Professor's changing formula liquid accidentally gets mixed in with a batch of Silas' black pudding ginger beer and soon nearly everybody except Rosie, Bert, The Prof and Brendan has changed their natural personalities. Can the Prof find a way to get them back to normal?
5. "Scares and Stripes" - PC Nicko Pendle needs to have made 100 arrests by the end of the day to be promoted to sergeant. He soon finds excuses to arrest everybody in Sabden, and when there is no one else left, he even arrests himself! unfortunately there are some real criminals on the loose and they take advantage of having the empty village to themselves.
6. "Smug Smugglers" - Barrow and Furness, the robbers on the loose, wire into Silas' telephone connection and trick Lil into thinking Furness is Silas and asks for a barrow full of treacle butties to be left by the mine. When the real Silas finds out, he realizes something is afoot and the villagers get their own back on the two villains.
7. "The Quest for the Golden Nugget!" - Wizzle's treacle tracker finds a treasure chest buried in the moors. Inside the chest is a map claiming there is a golden nugget somewhere in the mine. Silas and the other villagers are soon on the trail, but so is Barrow and Furness...
8. "A Grim Day Out" - When all the villagers except Digger, go away for the day on Bessie. Barrow and Furness take advantage of having the village all to themselves. But when they get back, the thieves find themselves in a rather sticky situation and so does PC Nicko Pendle...
9. "Sounds Crazy" - Rosie and Wizzle use the Professor's new sound sponge to record all the sounds of Sabden.
10. "Rollercop" - When Nicko Pendle requests a form of transport from his stingy superior, Chief Inspector Foulridge. The double-dealing detective gives Nicko a rather humiliating gift, a pair of roller-blades!
11. "EuroBoggarts" - Silas wants Tapper and Digger to dig a tunnel to France to export their treacle and so that French tourists can visit Sabden.
12. "It's a Funny Old Game!" - The villagers play against the boggarts in a football match. But those cheeky boggarts decide to play unfairly...
13. "Sticky Like One!" - Silas asks Wizzle to build a statue of the person who has brought the most fame and fortune to Sabden. However, Silas is not best to pleased when he sees who the statue, Wizzle built is actually of!
The rights to "The treacle people" is now owned by Shepperton Studios-based production company, Fire Mountain Productions Limited. Fire Mountain Productions was set up by the show's producer, Iain Russell. Most recent credits include "London's Hollywood" which has just started showing on ITV1 in the London region. This documentary is based at Pinewood and Shepperton Studios and takes viewers through the whole movie-making process from pre- to post-production.
The Treacle People, followed up by a Christmas special, was BAFTA nominated.
- Written by: Brian & Jonathan Trueman
- Developed for television by: Mike Furness & Iain Russell
- From an original idea by: The Dewhurst Family
- Featuring the voices of: Caroline Bernstein, Alec Bregonzi, Jim McManus, Glynn Mills, Jim Norton & Willie Rushton
- Title song: Sticky
- Music by: Simon Webb
- Casting director: Nikki Finch
- Director of animation: Martin Pullen
- Animators: Daryl Marsh, Mike Cottee, Timon Dowdeswell & Andy Joule
- Production manager: Mike Fisher
- Musical co-ordinator: Rachel Williams
- Music recording: Gerry Kitchingham
- Musicians: Simon Clark, Nick Hitchins, Ben Kennard, Roddy Lorimer, Bob Loveday, Glynn Matthews, Wes McGee, Tamsin Rowlinson & Simon Webb
- Additional animation: Tobias Fouracre & Mark Waring
- Lighting cameramen: Adrian Chadlecott, John Duffy, Peter Ellmore, Colin Innes-Hopkins & Tom Kinane
- Puppets built & designed by: Richard Blakey & Maggie Haden
- Original art director: Alan Murphy
- Sets built & designed by: Jessica Ace, Colin Armitage, Toby Burrell, Barbara Cowdery & Keith Grant
- Assisted by: James Heath & Melissa Johnson
- Graphic designer: Bill Wilson
- Editors: Martin Hay, Paul Hudson, Alex Maddison, Andy Marangone, Alan Ritchie & Jeremy Scott
- Sound supervisors: Rob Ashard, Graham Hix, Jon Matthews & Russell Smithson
- Production assistant: Jo Newey
- Production associates: Sue Bennett-Urwin & Kathy Schulz
- Executive producers: Penny Lent & Danielle Lux
- Director: Mike Furness
- Producer: Iain Russell