MITTEL-EUROPEAN GNOMIC adventures of Paulus, who lived in a tree trunk, resembled Popeye in red dungarees, and was menaced by Eucalypta the witch. Assorted examples of moth-eaten taxidermy served duty as his woodland associates. Imported and translated (to say nothing of dubbed with sub-Goon Show voices) from the Dutch, specifically the pen of Jean Dulieu, who not only created and wrote the long-running cartoon strip on which this was based, but made and manipulated all the puppets himself. As a result… Christ, the thing’s hideous. Misshapen fragments of fowl and sightless lumps of Plaster of Paris move about with disconcertingly jerky motion, making the show’s rather routine “bad witch gets foiled by ace chums” plots appear sinister and claustrophobic, scarring many a child’s psyche in ways Bagpuss could never dream of. The theme’s lyrics (sung by the upper registers of a plummy children’s choir) are the easiest part: “Let’s take a holiday, there’s a little wood where we can stay/Paulus, the little wood gnome welcomes you to his home/Crackers and Hoppy are there/Hoo-Roo and the Bear/Snatch, Bristles and Gregory too/They’re waiting all for you/Something’s brewing, that’s quite plain/The witches cauldron’s boiling again/Paulus, you’d better take care/She’s out to get you/She’s up to get you/She’s out to get you, beware!” Indeed.
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This series has now indeed started, and this first series makes for pretty intriguing viewing, not least for the prizes which the other day saw someone foolishly turn down an Amstrad CPC, and although it’s an easy target some of the outfits really do have to be seen to be believed. We’d totally forgotten that you initially had to answer questions before you got your hands on the wheel, presumably to appease the IBA into making into more of a game of skill. Impressive though her twirling is, Angela Ekaette isn’t particularly charismatic though pretty soon, maybe even today, she’s jettisoned in favour of Carol.
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