William's Wish Wellingtons is an British animated BBC children's television series produced by Hibbert Ralph Entertainment (who had previously created Spider), which was aired on BBC One from 25 October 1994 to 27 November 1996; it was narrated by Andrew Sachs (of Fawlty Towers fame). It was later translated into Gaelic by Búrach Productions and shown as Botannan Araid Uilleim on BBC Two Scotland (however, that version was obviously not narrated by Sachs), and in the United States as part of Cartoon Network's Big Bag (but, when Big Bag was remade by Yorkshire Television in the United Kingdom, it was replaced with Koki given that it was on ITV).

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Synopsis Edit

In the series' first episode, William and Barksure, William decided to go outside to play in the rain; when his Mum saw him (and the state of his shoes) she took him to buy a new pair of Wellington boots, and when they arrived at the shoe shop the shop owner picked out a pair of sparkling red boots for William. When he got home and decided to put them on, he discovered a note inside: "These are Wish Wellingtons, put them on and make a wish" - and when he did so, the first thing he wished for was a dog, which he christened "Barksure". William then realized that he had the power to wish himself anywhere in the world, or ask for anything he wanted; this sometimes got him into a spot of bother, such as the occasion when he wished that he had the biggest conker in the world in order to win his school conker championship, the time when he wished all his toys alive to help him tidy his room, or the time when he put his Wellingtons on the wrong feet and almost prevented Santa Claus from making his deliveries one Christmas Eve (with a series of wishes gone wrong). He also changed the course of history several times, such as the occasion when he wished himself back to ancient Rome and beat a soldier called Superbus in a chariot race (by wishing for a banquet to thwart Superbus's progress, as he immediately stopped his chariot and started eating it).

The series comprised twenty-six five-minute episodes; thirteen in 1994 and a further thirteen in 1996, which were animated by Mark Mason (who had previously animated Spider) and directed by Graham Ralph (who had previously directed Spider and illustrated its book).

The inceptive series was released by BBC Worldwide on a VHS entitled William and Barksure (BBCV 5666) in 1995 and the second series on another VHS entitled William Hood (BBCV 5904) in 1996, but because of the presence of the "old" BBC logo (with underlines) on them these are both now out of print; as with many other older BBC children's television shows, the show is not available on DVD.[1][2]

There were also several books based on the show (some of the ones that were based on the episodes changed their titles, such as "William and Barksure" becoming "William and the Dog", "William and the Alien" becoming "William in Space", "William of Arabia" becoming "William and the Camel", "Jungle William" becoming "William in the Jungle", and, "William the Storyteller", which was one of only two episodes to feature William's orange-haired cousin Winston, becoming "William and the Giant"), which were written or adapted by Atholl McDonald, and illustrated by director Graham Ralph; one was a peep-through book, while another was a colouring book, and a third was an activity book.[3][4]

In 1998, part of the episode "William the Conkeror" was featured in an eighth-series episode of Bodger and Badger (when they ran the "Seagull's Rest" bed-and-breakfast); Badger (and Mousey) wanted to watch it in one of their guests' rooms while she was watching the weather forecast, so they switched the channel with their remote (while they were hiding in the back of the room), and after she changed it back with her own remote, they changed it again. The changing went on until the guest complained to Bodger that her TV was defective.

Episode list Edit

Series 1 (1994) Edit

# Title Air Date
1 "William and Barksure" 25 October 1994
2 "Shrinking William" 27 October 1994
3 "William the Conkeror" 1 November 1994
4 "Pirate William" 3 November 1994
5 "William's Big Tidy Up" 8 November 1994
6 "William to the Rescue" 10 November 1994
7 "Sir William" 15 November 1994
8 "Sweet William" 17 November 1994
9 "William and the Whale" 22 November 1994
10 "William and the Alien" 24 November 1994
11 "Wild West William" 29 November 1994
12 "William and the Penguin" 1 December 1994
13 "William and the Wrong Feet" 25 December 1994

Series 2 (1996) Edit

# Title Air Date
14 "Circus William" 14 October 1996
15 "William Hood" 21 October 1996
16 "William and the Pirate's Wreck" 23 October 1996
17 "William of Arabia" 28 October 1996
18 "William and the Genie" 30 October 1996
19 "Jurassic William" 4 November 1996
20 "William and the Sheep" 6 November 1996
21 "Jungle William" 11 November 1996
22 "Sherlock William" 13 November 1996
23 "Ancient William" 18 November 1996
24 "William the Storyteller" 20 November 1996
25 "King William" 25 November 1996
26 "William and the Friendly Ghost" 27 November 1996

Credits Edit

  • Based on an original idea by: Carole Lapworth
  • Original artwork by: Vanessa Wild (née Harrow)
  • Director: Graham Ralph
  • Producers: John Cary, Karen Davidsen
  • Executive Producers: Theresa Plummer-Andrews (for BBC Enterprises/Worldwide), Nina Elias Bamberger (for Children's Television Workshop)
  • Assistant Vice President of Program Research: Shalom Fisch, PhD
  • Story Outlines and Scripts: Mark Holloway
  • Storyboards: Ted Pettengell, Nobby Clark, Paul R. Stone
  • Production Manager: Kim Stephenson
  • Production Assistant: Jackie Edwards
  • Backgrounds: Dorse Jukes
  • Animation: Mark Mason
  • Assistant Animation: Billy Allison
  • Music: Kick Production
  • Layout: Dan Whitworth
  • Line Test: Paul Barnes
  • Ink and Paint: Anne Place, Lynn Hardie, Bev James
  • Xerox: Tony McAleese
  • Post Production Facilities: M2 Facilities
  • A Hibbert Ralph Entertainment Production for BBC Children's International in association with Children's Television Workshop
  • © BBC Enterprises 1994/BBC Worldwide 1996

Repeats Edit

William's Wish Wellingtons has been shown several times on BBC1 and BBC2 in the 1990's and 2000's. CBBC on Choice have premiered William's Wish Wellingtons from Day 1 on Monday 29th November 1999 and was the second programme to appear on the new channel after the Teletubbies at 6.25am, 9.25am, 12.25pm and 3.25pm. The first run was shown until Friday 31st December 1999. It returned on Monday 3rd April 2000 at 6.35am, 9.35am, 12.35pm and 3.35pm and was shown for a while alongside Bob the Builder which came on before it, It resumed broadcasts on Monday 23rd October 2000 at 6.55am, 9.55am, 12.55pm and 3.55pm until Friday 24th November 2000. It was broadcast at Christmas 2000 also and from Saturday January 6th 2001 - Sunday 11th February 2001 at 6.55am, 9.55am, 12.55pm and 3.55pm. Weekdays broadcasts continued on Monday 4th June 2001 with double bills from 7.35am - 7.45am until Friday 29th June 2001. William's Wish Wellingtons has been one of the weekday regulars and has continued to be shown since the end of CBBC on Choice in 2002 on BBC2 until 2003 and CBeebies until 2004.