Characters from much-loved children's TV shows are being celebrated with a special issue of stamps from Royal Mail.
The Classic Children's TV
set - to be released on Tuesday 7th January
- comprises 12 first-class stamps depicting some of the most popular shows from more than 60 years of television, with the stamps designed so that the characters "break out" of the border.
The full line-up features Andy Pandy, Ivor the Engine, Dougal - from The Magic Roundabout
, Windy Miller - from Camberwick Green
, Mr Benn, Great Uncle Bulgaria - from The Wombles
, Bagpuss, Paddington Bear, Postman Pat, Bob the Builder, Peppa Pig, and Shaun the Sheep.
First-day covers can be franked either with the Royal Mail's Tallents House handstamp or a Wimbledon postmark, the latter chosen because the suburban London district's Common is the home of the Wombles.
2014 will mark the 40th anniversary of Bagpuss first appearing on TV, with the saggy cloth cat continually cited as one of the favourite British children's TV characters of all time. This year will also mark the 50th anniversary of the debut of the French-British show The Magic Roundabout
on French TV, subsequently dubbed with new scripts - written and performed by Eric Thompson
- and originally broadcast on BBC TV between 1965 and 1977. The prolific British animator Ivor Wood
created Dougal, one of the show's memorable characters, who also ranks highly in people's affections. Wood also went on to animate Paddington Bear and Postman Pat for TV.
Each decade since the 1950s is represented in this issue. Even the older programmes have been frequently repeated and new series created of them. Such is the popularity of these characters that 2014 will see the films Postman Pat: The Movie - You Know You're The One
- including the voice of David Tennant
- and Paddington
(with the voice of Hugh Bonneville
as Mr Brown) hit the big screen at cinemas nationwide, while 2015 will see a return to television for the Wombles and a new CGI series giving them a hi-tech makeover.
Many of the shows have acquired cult status, and while intended for a young audience they also attract devoted adult fans. Such was the appeal of The Magic Roundabout
that when, in 1967, it was moved to an earlier timeslot, the BBC received complaints from the programme's adult fans who could not get home in time from work to watch the show.Andrew Hammond
, of Royal Mail Stamps, said:
For over 60 years, Britain's children's TV characters have brought cheer to generations of viewers. More importantly, it has presented us with a cast of characters that, like the memories of the programmes themselves, remain with us throughout our lives.
It feels appropriate to celebrate all of these unforgettable characters on a set of very special stamps.
The stamps and various items of merchandise relating to the issue are available to pre-order worldwide from the Royal Mail shop
. They will be available by phone on 08457 641 641
and in 10,000 Post Offices throughout the UK from 7th January.
Last year, Royal Mail brought out a set of stamps celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, which were hugely popular, with pre-orders being three times the usual number.