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How much do you know about Postman Pat? Many of us grew up enjoying
the entertaining animations on TV or learning to read with John
Cunliffe's books. Most people could sing the theme tune without
do you know how the author dreamed up the stories? It's a myth that
he gained ideas by accompanying a postman friend on his rounds.
real-life inspiration for Pat came later, with Ivor Wood, when they
began work on the show. They photographed a postman with his van
as part of their research into settings.
this stage, the whole series had already taken shape in the mind
of the creator...
love Cumbria, and every part of the Lake District, and wish I still
lived there. I'm not so far away, in Yorkshire, but I still dream
of the days I spent walking over the hills and mountains of Cumbria.
education in Kendal
I lived in a small terraced cottage on Greenside, up the hill from Kendal
Town Hall. There was a little post-office at the end of my street
in Kendal, and I often chatted to the friendly man who kept the
told me quite a bit about how the country postmen go about their
work, and that went into my writing.
it was Molly Clifton who gave me most help. She was a teacher at
Castle Park School, where I was in my first teaching job, and she
had many friends in farming.
She spent a day, taking me around farms in the Kendal area, introducing
me to the people, giving me a wonderful insight into their way of
soon saw what wonderful people they were; friendly and hospitable;
always ready to help, or to offer a cup of tea to the thirsty traveller.
were very much in my mind when I sat down to draw the map of Greendale,
and to people it with farmers and their families, the post-mistress,
Ted Glen, Granny Dryden, and all the others, and to write my stories
Thirty years before I wrote Postman Pat, I ran the Wooler mobile
library service in Northumberland. This experience contributed a
great deal to the TV series as well.
Pat, I travelled around a rural area, and met a great many farmers
and other rural dwellers, who were kind and generous in the way
that the people of Greendale are. It was all there, in my memory.
Greendale is Northumberland as well as Cumbria; but Cumbria takes
the lead, as that is where I set it, and where I wrote it.
in the right direction
There was another person in Kendal who was even more important in
the birth of Postman Pat. She was the parent of one of the children
in my class. (I've forgotten her name.)
day, she came into school, and said to me,
"You write stories for children, don't you ?"
"Yes," I said. "I do."
"Well, I heard a talk last night, given by a lady from the BBC.
She said they were looking for new writers, for a new TV series.
Why don't you send her some of your books?"
So I did just that.
there was a job advertised for a producer for children's programmes,
and I applied for it.
job but the right time
To my surprise, I was invited to London for an interview. This
turned out to be with the same lady from the BBC, Cynthia Felgate.
did not offer me the job, but she said,
"We would like to work with you as a writer. We want to start a
new series for pre-school children, set in the countryside. Do you
think you could write it ?"
"Yes," I said, wondering if I could..."What about having a post-man
as the central character ?"
"Sounds good," she said.
went back to Kendal, and sat down to create Postman Pat... and the
rest is history! That's how it happened.
sun sets below the Kendal skyline.
us what you think...
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