TV Cream

TV: N is for...

Noah and Nelly

LESSER-KNOWN FARE from the dependable ROOBARB stable, which is a shame, as this second Grange Calverly-written series kept most of Roob’s existential confusion. Nutty Noah and Niggly Nelly travelled the world and beyond in two-headed all terrain vehicle The Skylark, along with an assortment of two-headed animals – Humphrey the pig, Achmed the camel, etc. Each had one head permanently cheerful, one depressed, and used to argue with themselves in a schizophrenic manner. At the opening of each sub-five minute tale the occupants of the Skylark would be either bored or deafened by noise, upon which an animal would pick a destination to go to on a completely blank map. So it’s “All aboard the Skylark!”, and off they go, encountering a load of anthropomorphic weirdos (door knockers with headaches, toby jugs without handles etc.) Whereupon Nelly would knit some contraption to solve the problem, and off they went. Animation was of the more conventional cell variety (Roobarb’s famous ‘boiling’ technique being unnecessary now they had some money), but the rest, down to more RICHARD BRIERS voices than you could shake a knitting needle at, was still top notch.



  1. Richard Davies

    August 27, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    I was too young to remember the cartoon (it didn’t get the repeated every few years treatment Roobarb did.) but a comic strip of it ran for years after in Buttons or Pippin.

  2. Droogie

    October 6, 2020 at 1:28 am

    I remember being disappointed by this as kid whenever it played in the final 5 minute BBC kid’s TV slot before the evening news. It had better production values than Roobarb , but none of it’s anarchic charm. It also shamelessly recycled the same animation footage every episode whenever Noah & Nelly journeyed anywhere with a loop of some bad Yellow Submarine style backgrounds that went on forever.

  3. THX 1139

    October 7, 2020 at 10:00 am

    There was repetition of sequences here, but kids love repetition (as Oliver Postgate would memorably use), and there was a “Play School-square-arched-round window” anticipation to see which journey the Skylark was going on in each episode. In my memory she’s Knitty Nelly, though – she was always knitting stuff out of red wool.

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