| FORMAT: 26 episodes
AUDIENCE: kids (or us now-adults who were kids at the time!)
ORIGINAL CONCEPT & CHARACTER DESIGN: Nick Spargo
A classic 1980's BBC comedy animation series, featuring a group of characters who all live in the excellent and picturesque Doyley Wood. It was narrated by Kenneth Williams (the main story teller even looks like Williams!), who, in his unique style brought this 2D animation to life.
Nick Spargo first conceived the idea of Willo the Wisp in 1977 and, when it was first broadcast on the BBC at the end of 1982, it was an immediate hit! Designed and written specifically with the pre-news 5.35.p.m. programming slot in mind, the series though aimed at the 5-9 age group, actually appealed to a much wider audience AND was able to reach them. Indeed Willo The Wisp was so popular that it reached no 44 in the general BARB charts with peak viewing of 8.2 million (delivering slightly more than Jewel in the Crown and only slightly less than Benny Hill). It also remained at No.2 in the Children's charts for many weeks. In later years it was repeated on Channel 4 (as far as my memory serves me) about 7 or 8 years ago, in the 6 o'clock slot along with other classics such as The Magic Roundabout and The Clangers.
Willo The Wisp was always a totally unique piece of television and has gone on to achieve a cult status in the ensuing years. The individual nature of the series has not changed and now, as before, there is no other programming currently available that can compare with this milestone in Children's Television. Books, annuals, cassettes, videos and now even a DVD have all been released with storys or episodes about the inhabitants of Doyley Woods, athough many are long out of print (you may be lucky enough to come across one or more of the books in jumble sales etc however).