Roobarb Family Fun at Surrey History Centre

Roobarb and Custard are featuring in a  family history display at the Surrey History Centre from August 4th, complete with family activities such as create your own masks.

Roobarb was originally created in 1974 by Grange Calveley, based on his own dog, produced by Bob Godfrey Films. Roobarb also featured in ‘I Love 1974’. I Love 1974 was an episode from the BBC produced series ‘I Love the Seventies’, which was broadcast in 2000. The series took a nostalgic trip back to the decade of the seventies, exploring the main cultural and commercial products of the time.

A new series consisting of 39 episodes was written and broadcast on Channel Five in 2005, also written by Grange Calveley and narrated by Richard Briers. However, this series was produced by Adam Sharp and Bernadette O’Riordan for A&Btv, and directed by Jason Tammemagi.

For further information on records see our catalogue

You can also see some of our educational packs for schools based on Roobarb here

Roobarb and Custard poster


‘Great’ Women throughout History

Women’s History Month Archive Events

In March UCA Archives and Special Collections celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting different events and promoting themed material as part of our #UCAWHM social media campaign.

As part of our celebrations marking Women’s History Month, we held a pop-up event on 18th March to showcase animation archive material featuring prominent female historical figures such as Queen Mary I, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria and Margaret Thatcher.

Women's History Month Display

Great Women Throughout History Pop-Up Display

Material from the animation Millennium – The Musical included artwork from a musical sequence about the Tudor dynasty. In the sequence, Queen Mary I is depicted as ‘Bloody Mary’ with crowds watching in horror at the sight of flames burning Protestants. The portrayal of her character is shown in the image above. The artists have designed Mary with an unpleasant, almost conniving facial expression, with the scene consisting of Mary chuckling as she rubs her hands together. In contrast, Queen Elizabeth I has an upbeat section, celebrating the reign of ‘Good Queen Bess’ as ‘the Virgin Queen’. In the artwork displayed next to the image of Mary, Elizabeth is smiling as she playfully winks at the viewer in the scene. These contrasting images present an interesting comparison of the two rulers, and are one example of how they have come to be portrayed throughout the years following their rule.

We also looked at material from the Oscar award-winning animation Great, which features caricatures of Queen Victoria. The other figure we focused on was Margaret Thatcher, whose character is portrayed in the animated series Margaret Thatcher: Where am I Now? The Steve Bell animation takes a satirical look at the life and work of Britain’s first female Prime Minister.

Our Flickr account with images used in our advertising talk

Our Flickr account featuring images used in our advertising talk

On 19th March we also held a talk featuring material from our other collections, such as the Tessa Boffin archive and the West Surrey College of Art and Design archive. ‘Men Act, Women Appear: Women in Art and Advertising’ discussed the gender portrayal of woman in advertising, with reference to college prospectuses and course guides.

We advertised these events via our social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter using #UCAWHM as our hash-tag of choice. Throughout the whole of March we posted quotes and images from our collections, which were also available for viewing on our Flickr account. Finally, we pulled together the results of our campaign into a story, using Storify.

Our media campaign with #UCAWHM

Our extensive media campaign with #UCAWHM

 We hope that through our efforts we have contributed towards the celebration of Women’s History Month and highlighted women whose lives have played a prominent part in society.

The archive material featured is available to search on the UCA Archives and Special Collections Online Catalogue.

All images are for educational purposes only. Artwork copyright Bob Godfrey. Millennium – The Musical copyright Channel Four Television Corporation.
Contact UCA Archives and Special Collections for more information at

Hannah Ratford, Archive Cataloguer

Love is in Archives…

…Every shelf we look around! February Archive Pop-Up Event

We hosted our latest Pop-Up event to showcase archival material with themes of love and romance in line with Valentine’s Day.

Love is in the Archive's Display

Love is in the Archive’s Display

The day of love finds its origins as a liturgical celebration for one or more saints named Valentinus. Valentine’s Day was not associated with romantic love until the Middle Ages, when ideas of courtly love and chivalry gained popularity. There are references to the association of Saint Valentine and love throughout the Tudor period, where the first surviving Valentine’s letter can be traced. However, the day became more popular in the 18th century, when lovers gave each other flowers, confectionery and greetings cards. In modern times certain symbols have become associated with love and Valentine’s Day, such as love hearts, doves and the figure Cupid.

We see the influence of modern ideas surrounding Valentine’s Day in the Henry’s Cat episode ‘Valentine’s Day’. Throughout the episode we see the symbol of the heart and references to romantic love. In this episode Henry’s Cat and his friends attempt to cheer up Pansy Pig by hosting a Blind Dates show. Will Pansy find her true love through the processes of the dating trials of the 20th century?

Items from Shakespeare's Music Hall, including material from A Midsummer Night's Dream

Items from Shakespeare’s Music Hall, including material from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

We also displayed items from Shakespeare’s Music Hall, or, A little of As You Like It does you good. The material for this animation project was based on a musical written by Colin Pearson, which looked at the life and works of William Shakespeare. The musical features songs about a selection of plays by Shakespeare, including Hamlet, where St. Valentine’s Day is mentioned by Ophelia:

Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.

We displayed artwork showing scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a storyboard for Romeo and Juliet, the famed star-crossed lovers.

Storyboard for a Romeo and Juliet sequence (Shakespeare's Music Hall)

Storyboard for a Romeo and Juliet sequence (Shakespeare’s Music Hall)

View our other collections via the UCA Archives and Special Collections Online Catalogue.

Shakespeare’s Music Hall images copyright Bob Godfrey.
All images are for educational purposes only.

Hannah Ratford, Archive Cataloguer

Raiders of the Lost Archives: Fantasy and Adventure

Fantasy and Adventure with Kevin Saves the World!

Our January Pop Up Event focused on the recently catalogued Kevin Saves the World series, a children’s animation series written by Daniel Postgate and produced by Bob Godfrey Films and Kine Aune. Based on the book of the same title, the series features Kevin, a young boy who wants to live an ordinary life but keeps finding himself involved in all kinds of unusual adventures. These unusual adventures transport the viewer into various fantasy scenarios, and so the natural theme for our Pop Up Event was fantasy and adventure.

Material from various episodes of the Kevin Saves the World series

Material from various episodes of the Kevin Saves the World series

Fantasy is a term generally used to define a genre that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary plot element. The genre was traditionally inspired from mythology and folklore, but developed as a distinct type of literature during the Victorian period. Farah Mendlesohn attempts to define the types of literary fantasy in her book Rhetorics of Fantasy. She offers the follow categories into which fantasy genre can fall:

Portal Quest: Essentially there is a portal through to another world that has magical elements

Immersive: The entire story is set in a magical world

Intrusive: Elements from the magical world seep into our own

Liminal: The story is set in our world. Magical elements are accepted as opposed to being surprising

We find elements of Portal Quest fantasy (Kevin and the Computer Game, Kevin and the Big Lizard, Kevin and the Baked Beanstalk). We also find elements of Intrusive fantasy (Kevin and the Genie, Kevin and the Boogie Woogie Bogeyman, Kevin and the Recipe Book, Kevin and the Ghosts, Kevin and the Goblet of Eternal Life). However we have a crossover with Kevin and the Vikings, where the hero is transported through a portal, but then returns to the real world with the magical elements escaping and following him to create an Intrusive fantasy. And then of course, every episode borders on the Liminal. Throughout his adventures, we are reminded that Kevin is an ordinary boy who wants an ordinary life, and whilst he sees the fantastic elements as an annoyance, he does not seem particularly surprised by them.

Pre-Production material for Kevin and the Beanstalk and Kevin Saves the World episodes

Pre-Production material for Kevin and the Beanstalk and Kevin Saves the World episodes

It should be noted that Mendlesohn specifically states that her book applies to literary fantasy, and does not consider television and film. So perhaps we should not categorise Kevin Saves the World in this way. Instead of categories, we can look at sub themes. There are clearly influences from legends (Kevin and the Big Lizard, Kevin and the Goblet of Eternal Life), fairy-tales (Kevin and the Genie, Kevin and the Baked Beanstalk), folklore (Kevin and the Boogie Woogie Bogeyman, Kevin’s Christmas Treat), mythology (Kevin and the Vikings), and even the supernatural (Kevin and the Recipe Book, Kevin and the Ghosts, Kevin and the Seven Deadly Drop-Ins). Alongside these influences, we also see an element of popular culture – the Kevin and the Goblet of Eternal Life storyboards and scripts pose more than one similarity to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade!

Whichever way we choose to define or categorise the episodes of Kevin Saves the World, it is apparent that the series as a whole combines a number of influences from which its roots stem. However, at the end of each episode Kevin, much to his relief, is able to return to the real world and resume his ordinary life… Until the next adventure!

Archive resources and freebies!

Archive resources and freebies!

The Kevin Saves the World series is now catalogued as part of the Bob Godfrey Collection. View it via the UCA Archives and Special Collections Online Catalogue.

Kevin Saves the World images copyright Bob Godfrey and Daniel Postgate.
All images are for educational purposes only.

Hannah Ratford, Archive Cataloguer

“What a terrible mess. Kevin, what have you been doing?”

Cataloguing Kevin Saves the World

We are continuously working behind the scenes and making additions to the UCA Archives and Special Collections catalogue. The catalogue was recently updated online to include the newly catalogued series Kevin Saves the World, a children’s animated series based on a book of the same name by author Daniel Postgate. One of the larger series of the Bob Godfrey Archive, Kevin Saves the World comprises some 38 boxes of animation material, including correspondence, pencil drawings, acetate cels, dope sheets, sound recordings, scripts, and storyboards to name a few!

Material from Kevin and the Genie

Material from Kevin and the Genie

An initial delve into the boxes suggested that there were five animated shorts that formed the series: Kevin Saves the World, Kevin and the Computer Game, Kevin and the Big Lizard, Kevin and the Genie, and Kevin and the Bogeyman. There was pre-production and production material for these episodes. The scripts and storyboards provided information on the content of each episode, and some title scenes revealed the credits of the animations. Interestingly, the titles were in both English and Norwegian. These revealed that the series was produced by Bob Godfrey Films and Kine Aune and supported by the Norwegian Film Institute and the Nordisk Film & T.V. Fund.

Progress was being made. The key individuals and organisations behind the series and the synopsis of each episode were now known. However, there was still little contextual information about the series. When the last couple of boxes of material were sorted through, things got a little more complicated. There was evidence of other episodes previously unknown about – Kevin’s Christmas Treat, Kevin and the Recipe Book, and Kevin and the Ghosts. Not long after this discovery, an entire box full of correspondence and scripts was discovered. Sifting through this material created a more complete picture of the production of the series.

Just a small selection from the Kevin Saves the World scripts

Just a small selection from the Kevin Saves the World scripts

In total 14 episodes were found to have pre-production material (scripts and storyboards). There was partial production material for 2 of the episodes, and full production material for 5 of the episodes. The correspondence records revealed that a longer series of around 12-13 episodes was originally planned. However, it proved difficult to find broadcasters who were willing to broadcast animated shorts of only 5 minutes. The series also faced funding difficulties, which explains the halt in production and the presence of only pre-production material for a majority of the episodes. The first five episodes were broadcast in Norway, where some of the available funding had been sourced.

Using the information gathered, the series catalogue structure fell into place. A ‘series’ record was created for Kevin Saves the World. Each individual episode was then arranged underneath this with its own ‘sub-series’ record. Under these records, the material was arranged into pre-production and production material, where it existed. Correspondence had its own ‘sub-series’ record, as the material covered the contents of multiple episodes and was relevant to the series as a whole. Correspondence was then arranged into different ‘files’ according to their original order. Find out more about the structure of the catalogue by viewing this presentation.

Kevin Saves the World Catalogue Screenshot

Kevin Saves the World Catalogue Screenshot

After arranging a structure, further contextual information is added to the records in the form of authority files. Relevant names of people and organisations involved with the series are created in the authorities database and linked to the records, so that names may be cross-searched by users. Subject terms are also applied to identify key themes and subjects within the material.

Kevin Saves the World Authority Names Screenshot

Kevin Saves the World Authority Names Screenshot

The Kevin Saves the World series is now available to view on the UCA Archives and Special Collections Online Catalogue.

Kevin Saves the World images copyright Bob Godfrey and Daniel Postgate. All images are for educational purposes only.

Hannah Ratford, Archive Cataloguer

Explore your Archive Pop Up Events – UCA Farnham Library

Explore your Archive! Discover our hidden original artistic treasures at our archive pop up events!

This term Archives and Special Collections will be hosting a series of ‘Pop-Up’ Events in the Farnham Campus Library between 13:00 and 14:00 on various dates as listed below. We will be demonstrating original archival material from the Bob Godfrey Animation Archive and focusing on different themes with each event.

Programme of Explore your archive pop up events

Join us to delve through a range of exciting material and to find out more about the archive and the services we provide.

Look out for our Explore Your Archive badges and pencils!

To find out more email

Santa Who? Representations of Santa in the Archives

Santa Who? Christmas Pop-Up Event

In the spirit of Christmas, we decided to host our latest Explore your Archives pop-up event around the theme of the man in the red suit. Items displayed in the Christmas Pop-Up Event included material from animations such as The Christmas Dinner and The Mystery of the Missing Santa (both from the Henry’s Cat series) and Kevin’s Christmas Treat (from the Kevin Saves the World Series). The items demonstrate individual takes on the representation of Santa. The pop-up event explored questions such as “where does his reputation stem from?” and “how has his representation in popular culture developed over time?”

Christmas Pop-Up Display

Christmas Pop-Up Display

There are different suggestions for the origins of this holiday figure. Records date back to describe figures such as the Norse God Odin, Father Christmas and Saint Nicholas, with each displaying different characteristics now attributed to the modern day character – generosity, benevolence, kindness and good cheer.

As well as the name, the physical representations of Santa have developed over the years. In modern day the character is recognisable as a slightly plump older gentleman with a white beard, red suit and black boots. A common misconception is that this image derives from Coca-Cola. Instead, from the 1920s the company popularised a character design that was already imbedded in popular culture. The man in the red suit was a representation of Saint Nicholas by Thomas Nast, a respected painter who drew 33 Christmas drawings for Harper’s Weekly between 1863 and 1886.

Thomas Nast came to find inspiration from the poem by Clement Clarke Moore’s A Visit from Saint Nicholas, commonly known as The Night before Christmas, and depicted a jolly Santa in a red suit who gave gifts to children. In 1931 Coca-Cola commissioned illustrator Haddon Sundblom to develop a new Santa image for their advertisements. He produced new images every year through to 1964.

Sketch of Santa, Kevin’s Christmas Treat

The animation material held at UCA develops upon this traditional image, with artists demonstrating their individual takes on Santa. Although commonly depicted with the red suit and black boots, we see varying representations of Santa:

Henry’s Cat, The Christmas Dinner: Henry’s cat and his friends end up getting stuck together. Santa arrives in his sleigh, hears their dilemma and rescues them by coming down the chimney. Here we have a kind Santa who is willing to help those in need. He maintains traditional representations by arriving on a sleigh and travelling down the chimney.

Henry’s Cat, The Mystery of the Missing Santa: It is up to Henry’s cat and his friends to rescue the kidnapped Santa. This time Santa is vulnerable and needs help. The kidnapper threatens to cut the bobble off of Santa’s hat, a key icon of modern day Santa’s image.

Kevin’s Christmas Treat: Initial sketches demonstrate Santa as an unattractive character – he is shown shouting into a megaphone with large pointy teeth. In the storyboards we are presented with a mechanical Santa, the episode demonstrating the modern day commercialised side of Christmas.

Sketch of Santa, Kevin's Christmas Treat

Sketch of Santa, Kevin’s Christmas Treat

As well as archival material, we also made use of material found on the library shelves. An old-fashioned Christmas in illustration and decoration, C. Hornung, (New York: Dover Publications; London: Constable, 1970) contains black and white images portraying Christmas scenes.  Christmas: Vintage Holiday Graphics, ed. Jim Heinmann (Koln;London: Taschen, c.2005) pays homage to St Nick via vintage graphic and print media. The pages are full of colourful Christmas images, with one showing a Hawaiian scene with Santa and his reindeer sipping on cocktails! These sources complemented our theme on the representation of Santa.

Volunteer Altaira with the Christmas Pop-Up Display

Volunteer Altaira with the Christmas Pop-Up Display

Look out for the Kevin saves the World series, soon to be included in the UCA Archives and Special Collections online catalogue. An entry for Henry’s Cat can be found here: Henry’s Cat

Kevin’s Christmas Treat Images copyright Bob Godfrey and Daniel Postgate. All images are for educational purposes only.

Hannah Ratford, Archive Cataloguer

Christmas Explore your Archive Pop Up Event

Explore your Archive this Christmas! Discover our hidden original artistic treasures at our archive pop up event!

On the 10th December UCA Archives and Special Collections will be hosting the next Christmas themed ‘pop-up’ event in the Farnham campus library as part of the Explore Your Archive campaign. This time we will be focusing on the different representations of Santa in the Archives. Join us to delve through a range of exciting material and to find out more about the archive and the services we provide.

Look out for our Explore Your Archive badges and pencils!

See attached poster: Christmas Explore your archive pop up event poster

To find out more email

Gender Portrayal with Bassett’s Jelly Babies

Jelly Babies – They’re in a wibbly wobbly archive of their own!

Whilst cataloguing the collection of Bob Godfrey, we came across some tasty treats in the form of Bassett’s Jelly Babies! The material relates to two television commercials for the product, and reveals a fascinating insight into character design and advertising.

Pack design with colour annotations

Pack design with colour annotations

Well-known confectionaries, Jelly Babies have a fascinating history surrounding their production and their name. According to Tim Richardson, author of Sweets: A History of Tempatation (Bantem Press:2003), Jelly Babies were originally invented in 1864 at Fryer’s, a Lancashire Sweets Firm. The tasty treats were an invention of Austrian Immigrant confectioner called Steinboch (known as Springbok locally). The name he coined and the name Jelly babies were initially marketed under was ‘Unclaimed Babies’.

In 1918 a firm named Bassett’s in Sheffield began the production of their “Peace Babies” to mark the end of the First World War. The production of the sweet was suspended during WW2 due to wartime shortages. The name ‘Peace Babies’ would also have been quite ironic given that war had just broken out. Following on from the end of the Second World War, in 1953 the product was re-launched as “Jelly Babies”.

In 1989 Bassett’s were taken over by the company Cadbury-Schweppes. This saw the re-marketing of Jelly Babies. Prior to this, all colours of Jelly Baby were the same shape. The new Jelly Babies were each given their own colour and name. Further re-marketing is demonstrated within the material held at UCA. The material in the animation archive relates to two television commercials produced in the 1990s: Cup Final and Eat to the Beat. Some items provide evidence of a new character design, and include character analysis sheets and drawing designs of each character. The development of the character traits can be seen in the animation cels used to depict the developing versions. One set of cels was accompanied by a fax from the advertising agency, approving final versions and suggesting amendments to other designs.

One note that caught our eye was the amendment suggested for the yellow Jelly Baby ‘Bubbles’. The amendment states ‘Version 2 was the closest colour however it was too bright and too yellow. She needs to be made paler with perhaps a bit of red. She is also a bit fat and needs to be slimmed down a bit’.

Extract from a fax asking Bob Godfrey films to slim down Bubbles (1994)

Extract from a fax asking Bob Godfrey films to slim down Bubbles (1994)

The animators followed this amendment, with the following annotation written on Bubbles version 2: ‘Make paler + more red. Slim down!’ We are then presented with a slimmer, paler Bubbles design in the New Version 2. This amendment of presenting a slimmer character is not used for any of the male characters. The other characteristics of the new female Jelly Baby are also of note. Prior to the redesign in Godfrey’s work, Bubbles was distinguished by larger ears and a bigger nose. In the new design, Bubbles is distinguished from the male Jelly Babies by focussing on her apparently ‘feminine’ aspects. She now features a long-haired ponytail, a red and white polka dot bow and a red beaded necklace. Bubbles also appears to be a little shorter than her male counterparts, as demonstrated in this video of Cup Final. It is relevant at this point to note that the other female character, Baby Bonny, is portrayed as wearing a frilly bonnet and is entirely pink.

Left: version 2 of Bubbles character design. Right: new version 2 of Bubbles character design.

Left: version 2 of Bubbles character design. Right: new version 2 of Bubbles character design.

It is possible to view this redesign in the wider context of gender portrayal in animation. Studies have been conducted in relation to gender representation in animation. Read papers from the same era as the Jelly Babies commercials here and here. The results suggest that extremes are used to depict female and male characteristics in order to distinguish between the two sexes. It is also suggested that animations have a male lead character majority. This is evident with the Jelly Babies, with a ratio of four male characters to two female.

So what about present day gender representation? After recently purchasing a packet of Jelly Babies (for research purposes, of course) it was apparent that the main characteristics of the Jelly Babies have not changed much during the past 20 years. We are presented with Bubbles on the front of the pack, beaded necklace and polka dot bow still intact. This more recent article discussing animations on Cartoon Network suggests that not much has changed in terms of disparities between male and female character animation: Animation and Socialization Process: Gender Role Portrayal on Cartoon Network

Look out for the Jelly Babies series, soon to be included in the UCA Archives and Special Collections online catalogue.

Hannah Ratford, Archive Cataloguer

Residency at the UCA Animation Archive – Day 1

Hello all!  My name’s Sonia Friel and I’m a researcher based at Norwich University of the Arts. For the whole of this week, I’m going to be based in the Animation Archive at UCA, working with Rebekah Taylor.  Each day I’m running workshops from the Animation Archives on topics that are close to my heart, and closely related to the PhD I’m working towards, which focuses on the artists and animators Jan Švankmajer and the Quay brothers (my areas of interest are art history – especially international Surrealism – and animation).  For more information, see here, and for a timetable, please see here (although please note that the film screening, of Švankmajer’s latest film Surviving Life (Theory and Practice) (2010) is now going to take place on Wednesday at 6pm, in the Glasshouse.  It’s free, and all are welcome).

Each day I’m going to writing a short blog post to document what I’ve been working on.  Asides from running workshops, my main responsibilities in the archive this week include cataloguing material, recording screencasts and tutorials, preparing lesson plan packs, connecting materials to other resources (books, television programmes etc), and tagging.

So, I think that’s the basic intro done…on to my experience of the archive today!

Arriving at the archive I was immediately struck by how welcoming and quiet it is – the perfect space for students to get on with work uninterrupted.  I was joined today by Kerrie, an assistant curator at the Booth Museum in Brighton, so the morning started with Rebekah introducing Kerrie and I to the archive materials.  The majority of the archive is housed in a room at the back of the archive – there are 420 boxes in total, and numerous rolls of films and other miscellaneous objects.  A treasure trove for a researcher interested in animation and art history, like myself.

Kerrie and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in, so Rebekah took us through the cataloguing procedure.  For today, Kerrie will be cataloguing materials for a Bassett’s Jelly Baby advertising campaign, while I’ll be cataloguing materials from a Teletext advertising campaign involving ‘Horace the Hi-Tech Dog’.  Horace is lovely.  I’ve earmarked a box entitled ‘Fatty Doggy’ to work with next.

At 1pm the first of my workshop students began to arrive.  This afternoon’s workshop was themed around Wunderkammern (Cabinets of Curiosity).  I started off by introducing the students to the history of the Wunderkammer (including a few rather macabre images), and from there we moved on to a broader discussion around collecting: why people collect/what the difference between an archive and collection is/the psychology of collecting etc.  It was fascinating to hear students talk about their own collections, why they started them, and how they perceived them.  It would seem that in some ways we’re not so dissimilar from 16th-17th century collectors, after all!

Rebekah then briefly introduced us all to ImageBank – a great bit of software that’s used within UCA to catalogue and share images (including student work).

Here are a couple of images (thanks to Lorna for taking them)


The Wunderkammer Workshop in progress

Digital Camera

Kerrie in her element!