top of page

Twizzle

A Noddy Sugar Ricicles TV commercial was made by Pentagon Films Ltd in 1956, featuring Noddy the puppet.  Co-director of the company was Gerry Anderson, whose life was about to change forever!

  

Roberta Leigh, a children’s author, had recently secured a commission for her book ‘Twizzle’ featuring a toy with a unique talent. Twizzle was a doll with the ability to extend his arms and legs, who escaped from a toy shop and embarked on adventures, meeting new friends along the way.  Gerry Anderson met with her and upon seeing the script it is said he gave an enthusiastic “yes” to Roberta, only to find out immediately and with much disappointment, that it would be made using puppets.

 

Around the same time, Gerry and Arthur Provis decided to set up A.P Films (Anderson Provis Films) with the pair wanting to concentrate on film and TV productions instead of commercials. They left Pentagon Films but told Roberta they still wanted to produce ‘The Adventures of Twizzle’ as it may be a lucrative way of making themselves known as a new name in the television industry.

 

In 1957 they set about making the 52 fifteen minutes episodes.

 

Knowing very little about puppets, Gerry arranged to meet the well-known and respected TV puppeteer Joy Laurey, who her agent Pearl Beresford promoted as ‘the girl who pulls the strings’. He had seen her work with famous children’s TV character Mr Turnip on the BBC’s Whirligig

 

Following their meeting, Joy visited A.P Films several times.  Along with a creative brief and some sketches, she made all the puppets for the show.   

 

In a letter to her friend and colleague Christine Glanville, dated 16th August 1957, Joy spoke about her upcoming work with A.P Films,

 

“I too feel that this is a wonderful opportunity, and may well be the beginning of something big!”.

 

Joy had a mere three weeks to make her puppets ready for filming.  She constructed them mainly from papier-mâché, Joy was concerned with Twizzle’s awkward shape as it had left him unbalanced. However, upon meeting with Roberta, she was quite happy with the way he turned out and so Joy was left to her own devices with the other characters.

 

Joy, Christine and The Laurey Puppet Company’s Murray Clark operated the puppets for all 52 episodes from September 1957 – December 1958, of which sadly only the first episode is known to have survived.

  

When the series production was complete in 1958, Joy decided to leave A. P Films to concentrate on her other projects and stage work. Her friend and assistant Christine would stay on with A.P Films to work on their next puppet-based production ‘Torchy the Battery Boy’, also written Roberta Leigh, which turned out to be even bigger and better.

Twiz-4.jpg
Roberta Leigh with Twizzle and Footso.jpg

Roberta Leigh with Twizzle and Footso

bottom of page