The Saga

The Saga of Noggin the Nog and the Men (and women!) of the Northlands was created by the genius synergy of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin well back in the very early 1960's.   It all started in 1952 when Peter Firmin, then an art student, saw the ancient Isle of Lewis chess pieces on display in the British Museum, where they can still be found today.  Enchanted by the simplistic but expressional nature of the chessmen, Peter became besotted with what he called "Nogmania".  Eventually, in 1959, he set pen to paper and wrote the first adventure, in which the Nordic prince builds a boat and sets sail to claim his Eskimo bride.  He showed the finished story to scriptwriter Oliver Postgate, who fell for the characters himself (he even claims Nogbad to be his alter-ego!).  Oliver then set about scripting the story, which was commissioned by the BBC in 1960 as six 10-minute animated films produced by Oliver and drawn by Peter, with music by Vernon Elliott and narration by Oliver Postgate and Ronnie Stevens.  Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin's creative talents did not stop at Noggin the Nog; together they formed Smallfilms and produced such BBC TV children's classics as Bagpuss, Pogles Wood, Ivor the Engine, Pingwings and, perhaps most famously, The Clangers, who, incidentally, were derived from "Noggin and the Moon Mouse".  Together, they were also responsible for some less well remembered, but equally magical, pioneering children's programs such as Alexander the Mouse and The Seal of Neptune. Not many people realise that Peter Firmin was also the creator of the ubiquitous Basil Brush.

Whilst I must confess that I do not recall seeing much of Noggin the Nog on TV in my early days (I was born in 1968), I do still recall that hauntingly simple musical introduction followed by the almost hypnotic voice of Oliver Postgate speaking those magical words "In the lands of the North...".  My collection of Noggin books must have been among the most heavily read books ever.  I still vividly remember every time I was taken to the library in Derby I would rush to the children's section and hunt frantically for the limited number of Noggin books they had (despite having already read them all before more times than I care to remember), though more often than not they were already out, an indication of the popularity of Noggin's adventures.

Noggin's heyday lasted from his creation right through to the mid-1970's, and was revived by some colour versions made in 1980.  Since then there has been a slow but constant trickle of re-prints of books, issues of audio cassettes, a couple of videos and even Channel 4 repeats of the cartoons during a mini-revival in 1994/5.  All then went quiet for a number of years, until in 2000, thanks to the effort of a single individual by the name of Loaf and the cooperation of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, The Dragons' Friendly Society was formed and brought Noggin back to life with the reprinting of "Nogmania" and the release of the video "The Sagas of Noggin the Nog", which included material that had not been seen since originally broadcast over 30 years ago.  This relaunch took place at a special event at the National Film Theatre, at which Oliver and Peter beguiled a packed auditorium with the origins of Noggin the Nog.  The work of the Dragons' Friendly Society continued into 2001, culminating at the end of the year with the reprinting of the entire twelve original Noggin books, as part of a special boxed set.  The Society continues its Noggin work, and is also resurrecting a number of other Smallfilms creations - you can find out more at their own web site.

I'm not sure exactly what inspired me to start on this site, though I think some of the credit must go to the individuals on my Credits page.   That was in March 1997, and I had little idea of what I had let myself in for.   When I started the site, I thought I could get most of my material from my books that I would have to dig out of my parents' attic.  Unfortunately, like most childhood possessions that you suddenly require in later life (how long did you spend looking in your roof for that old S.P.V. when Captain Scarlet became popular again?), there they were, gone!.  However, with the support I got from other people with similar sites, coupled with a few lucky finds in shops, I had enough to get me started.

The second hitch came when, for complicated reasons, the only way I could access a BT line (and therefore the internet) was by using a BT Chargecard, and at 20p/minute that was hardly practical.  Anyway, after about a year, in July 1998, things got back to normal and I finally got back to work on the site and put just about all the Noggin the Nog stuff I had onto it, and continue to do so as my knowledge is widened by your feedback.  So now, fellow Noggin fans, it's over to you.  Enjoy the site, and if you think there's anything you could add to it, or if you've got any Noggin stuff, please let me know!