Episode Guide

“A Rubovian Legend”
(1/3 life-size string marionettes, 26 plays, B&W, 1956-1965)
The earlier episodes were telerecorded,
while the later ones were filmed for later broadcast.
Presented by the BBC Television Puppet Theatre
Scripts, puppets, direction and production by Gordon Murray

Voices and Characters:
Derek Nimmo (24), Violet Lamb (26), Roy Skelton (26), James Beattie (26), Pamela Binns (6),
Michael Logan (2) (standing in for Derek Nimmo)

King Rufus XIV of Rubovia - Derek Nimmo
Queen Caroline of Rubovia -Violet Lamb
The Lord Chamberlain - Roy Skelton
Mr. Albert Weatherspoon - James Beattie
Prince Rupert of Rubovia - Roy Skelton
King Boris of Borsovia - Roy Skelton
Grand Duchess Arabella of Humperstein - Pamela Binns
Farmer Bottle - ?
MacGregor - ?
Other voices - various

Puppeteers:
Audrey Atterbury (26), Bob Bura (25) , John Hardwick (26)

Pongo - Bob Bura
The Lord Chamberlain - John Hardwick
Weatherspoon - Audrey Atterbury

Settings and Costumes:
Andrew Brownfoot (26), Margaret Brownfoot (uncredited), Hazel Martingell (6?)

Music composed and performed by Patrick Harvey

Source & 1st UK tx Production Information Status
Sources: 
June '56 Puppet Master;
Radio Times; BBC Ariel Sept. 1958 (photograph);
BBC Infax

Prod. Aug., 1958.

TR'd prior to tx.
1st tx: 28th Oct., 1958, from TR


The Lord Chamberlain, King Rufus XIV, Queen Caroline, Pongo, Rubina ('puss'), and Mr. Weatherspoon.
(Colourised)

Clocks and Blocks
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W telerecording
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia.

Puppet-players: Violet Lamb, Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick, Roy Skelton, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo
Settings and Costumes: Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets: Gordon Murray

 

 

 

 

Point of Interest: A remake of the original Rubovian Legends story of the same name. Also later remade with stop-motion puppets, as The Enchanted Clock.

Held by BBC

BBC Programme
No. LCH5998E

Sources:
June '56 Puppet Master article;
Radio Times.


1st tx: 17th March, 1959
The Dragon's Hiccups
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W telerecording

Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. Pongo, Queen Caroline's pampered pet dragon, turns into a cabbage whenever he hiccups.

Puppet-players: Audrey Atterbury, Violet Lamb, John Hardwick, Roy Skelton, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo.
Music by Patrick Harvey
Film Editor, Keith Kirby
Settings and Costumes by
Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

Point of Interest: A remake of the original Rubovian Legends story of the same name. Also later remade with stop-motion puppets, as Dragon Doctor.

 
Sources: 
KCTVG**,
Radio Times;
BBC Infax


1st tx: 26th May, 1959

(Infax says 1st tx: 7th July, 1959. Verify against RT)

Mystery of Rubovia Castle
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W telerecording

Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. A secret tunnel is accidentally rediscovered when Mr. Weatherspoon sneezes, but only after losing King Rufus and Lord Chamberlain. 

Voices by: Violet Lamb, Derek Nimmo, Roy Skelton, James Beattie
Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick, Roy Skelton, James Beattie.
Music by Patrick Harvey
Settings and Costumes by Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

Point of Interest: The 1976 stop-motion episode, Tunnel Trouble, was a remake of this episode. The soundtrack of the newer version is available on  BBC LP REC282 Side 2, simulated stereo. Compared to the original, in Tunnel Trouble, both the dialogue and puppets have been simplified to suit a younger audience.

Held by BBC

BBC Programme
No. LCH7049N

Sources:
KCTVG**;
Radio Times;
BBC Infax


1st tx: 8th Dec., 1959

Vid. clip tx on BBC-tv's Room 101 in one of the Paul Merton episodes. Possibly also on BBC-tv's Telly Addicts.


Court Magician, Mr. Albert Weatherspoon, tests his wand for a Royal Command performance, which has unexpected consequences for puss, seen here floating at candlestick height above the table top.

The Wonky Wand
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film

Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. King Boris of Borsovia is coming to dinner on Thursday and will be staying the night, which presents King Rufus and the Lord Chamberlain with the dilemma of how to lay on some sort of entertainment that is not too expensive and does not involve fireworks. They decide on a conjuring demonstration. One Royal command later, Court Magician Mr. Weatherspoon is searching his office for the box containing his magic wand and instructions for its use. A problem is that the wand, which was bought second-hand in the first place, has become even more worn out through several years of disuse. A simple test shows that it has become very unreliable. Mr. Weatherspoon uses ye olde wand revival procedure which makes the wand good for only two more spells, after which the instructions say it will become unreliable again. Come Thursday, the evening's entertainment goes well until Mr. Weatherspoon needs to do a third spell, which goes wrong, creating a very worrying situation.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, John Hardwick, Bob Bura
Voices: Violet Lamb, James Beattie, Roy Skelton, Derek Nimmo
Settings and Costumes by Andrew Brownfoot
Music by Patrick Harvey
Puppets by Gordon Murray

Point of Interest: The 1976 stop-motion episode, The Unreliable Wand, was a remake of this episode. Soundtrack of remake is available on  BBC LP REC282 Side 1, simulated stereo.

Held by BBC

BBC Programme
No. LCH7303N

Sources: 
Radio Times
(+photograph);
ITBOD* (incorrectly 'Zara')

1st tx: 24th May, 1960

Still from Zaza Knows All - Zaza in front of a Zaza Knows All poster
Zaza stands beside a poster of herself, which advertises her services. The poster caption says "ZAZA knows *ALL*"

Zaza Knows All
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film

Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. Who is Zaza, a mysterious Gypsy fortune-teller, and why has she come to Rubovia?

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Roy Skelton, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo, Violet Lamb
Music by Patrick Harvey 
Settings and Costumes by
Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets by Gordon Murray

 

BBC moved into the new Television Centre in Shepherd's Bush, West London, in June 1960. The Television Puppet Theatre moved into its new purpose built studio there a short time later.

Sources:
Radio Times (+photograph).


1st tx: 9th Aug., 1960


Puss is very curious about what Mr. Weatherspoon has in his scent sprayer.

Spray Fever
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. Mr. Weatherspoon's magic scent spray causes more than a few problems.. 

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Roy Skelton, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo, Violet Lamb
Music by Patrick Harvey
Settings and Costumes by
Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets by Gordon Murray


Point of Interest: Remade as The Magic Scent Bottle, with stop-motion puppets in 1976?

 
Sources:
Radio Times (+photograph).

1st tx: 4th Oct., 1960

Still from Chickweed Wine - Weatherspoon in the winery
Mr. Weatherspoon, the Royal Vintner, manufacturing wine, as puss looks on. 

Chickweed Wine
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. Mr. Weatherspoon manufactures wine in competition with that exported by the neighbouring kingdom of Borsovia—with very explosive results.

The trouble all began when  Mr. Weatherspoon, the Royal Vintner, needing to manufacture some chickweed wine, decided to use a recipe that happened to be in the form of a gramophone record. All went well until the needle got stuck at 'add a pound of yeast', ...repeating that phrase interminably, with dire consequences for the recipe, until puss knocked the record player and the record carried on. The wine was bottled without further incident, only to blow up virtually the entire castle after the unusually potent yeast mixture did its work!

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Roy Skelton, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo, Violet Lamb
Music by Patrick Harvey
Settings and Costumes by Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets by Gordon Murray

Point of Interest: This is one of the most remembered episodes.

 
Sources:
Radio Times;
ITBOD*;
BBC Infax

1st tx: 17th Jan., 1961

Still from A Knight for a Day - Weatherspoon ready to meet the dragon
Dressed in full battle regalia, Sir Albert Weatherspoon prepares to meet the dragon!
(This is a still from the video clip shown on BBC's “DEF I”, in 1988, introduced by Stephen Fry)

Knight for a Day
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film

Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. Albert Weatherspoon is made knight for a day, to defend the realm against a marauding dragon.
and/or:
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. Albert Weatherspoon gets his chance to experience life as a knight of the realm, but has he bargained for a face off with a dragon?

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Roy Skelton, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo, Violet Lamb
Music by Patrick Harvey
Settings and Costumes by Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

Points of Interest: The showing of a 3:50 video clip from this episode on the BBC’s opening night of “DEF II” on 8 May 1988 (in the Babylon 2 segment*),  suggests that this film still exists and did survive the BBC’s infamous film library purges of the 1970s. The big question is: Who is holding this film now?
______________________
*The Babylon 2 segment had “alternative” celebrities introducing archive clips from cult and historic TV shows.

Held by BBC

BBC Programme
No. LCH6234A

Sources:
Radio Times

1st tx: 21st March, 1961
Crafty Art
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Roy Skelton, James Beattie, Violet Lamb, Derek Nimmo, Pamela Binns
Music by Patrick Harvey
Settings and Costumes by Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets by Gordon Murray

 
Sources:
KCTVG**
BBC Infax


1st tx: 11th April, 1961
Fit and Well
Runtime: 25 minutes
16 mm B&W film
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Roy Skelton, James Beattie, Violet Lamb, Derek Nimmo
Music by Patrick Harvey
Settings and Costumes by Andrew Brownfoot and Hazel Martingell
Puppets by Gordon Murray

Held by BBC

BBC Programme
No. LCH7153R

Sources:
Radio Times,
ITBOD (+photograph).*

1st tx: 20th June, 1961***


Still from Something in the Air - King Rufus & Chamberlain read The Wizzo
King Rufus and his Chamberlain read all about space travel in Rubovia's daily newspaper,
The Wizzo.

Something in the Air
Runtime: 25 minutes
16 mm B&W film
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. The topic of this play is space travel. 

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick.
Voices:
Violet Lamb, James Beattie, Roy Skelton, Michael Logan.
Music by Patrick Harvey
Settings and Costumes by Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets by Gordon Murray

¥
Sources:
KCTVG**;
Radio Times;
BBC Infax


1st tx: 29th May, 1962
The Bell
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. The Queen throws the Exchequer into a flurry with her money-making ideas.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Violet Lamb, Roy Skelton, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo
Settings and Costumes by
Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

Held by BBC

BBC Programme
No. LCH7190Y

Sources:
KCTVG**;
Radio Times;
BBC Production Info. Sheet  (+photograph);
BBC Infax


1st tx: 19th Jun., 1962
17:00 - 17:23 (BBC 1).

rpt: 6th Nov, 1962
17:10 - 17:33 (BBC 1).

Still from A Gala Performance - Weatherspoon & Puss search the basement
Mr. Weatherspoon and his cat Rubina search the Palace cellars for fireworks.

Gala Performance
Runtime: 23 minutes
16 mm B&W film

Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. Mr. Weatherspoon, assisted by his cat, searches the Palace cellars for some fireworks that will needed for a gala fireworks performance for various assembled guests at Rubovia Castle.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick.
Voices: Violet Lamb, Pamela Binns, James Beattie, Roy Skelton, Derek Nimmo.
Settings and costumes by Andrew Brownfoot
Additional settings by Hazel Martingell
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

Held by BBC

BBC Programme
No. LCH7193F

Sources:
Radio Times

(Look & Learn article 6th Oct, '62; Girl article 17th Mar., '62; The Guardian article 16th Feb., 1962; all of which indicates it was produced earlier than these dates.)

Prod. before 16th Feb., 1962
Guardian article says that 1st  tx will be northern summer '62.

1st tx: 2nd Oct., 1962,

Still from Bees & Bellows - Chamberlain has words with Weatherspoon
As the Lord Chamberlain goes on and on, perhaps Pongo and puss are wondering, "Bee, what bee?"

Bees and Bellows
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. The King quarrels with his wife just when the Grand Duchess Arabella of Humperstein is about to arrive.
 and/or
A pesky bee lands on the King of Rubovia's nose. Just as Mr. Weatherspoon arrives to the rescue with his garden spray, the Queen commands, "Stop!" It turns out that it is a queen bee, and as the Queen points out, that makes all the difference.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Violet Lamb, Pamela Binns, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo, 
Roy Skelton.
Settings and Costumes by Andrew Brownfoot and Hazel Martingell
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

 
Sources: 
KCTVG
**;
Radio Times;
BBC Infax


1st tx: 16th Oct., 1962
The Enchanted Duck
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. The Queen has decided that the food served in Rubovia Castle must be improved. The first step is to raise the quality of the dairy produce. 

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Violet Lamb, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo, Roy Skelton.
Settings and Costumes by Andrew Brownfoot and Hazel Martingell
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

Point of Interest: Remade as The Magic Duck, with stop-motion puppets in 1976?

Held by BBC

BBC Programme
No. LCH5455A

Sources:
Radio Times

1st tx: 30th Oct., 1962
The Trap
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Violet Lamb, Pamela Binns, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo, Roy Skelton
Settings and Costumes by Andrew Brownfoot and Hazel Martingell
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

 
Sources:
Radio Times (+photograph);
A4A2ZT§


1st tx: 22nd Jan., 1963

Still from A Cranky Banquet - Their Royal Highnesses in full regalia
Their Royal Highnesses,
Rufus XIV of Rubovia, King Boris of Borsovia, the Grand Duchess Arabella of Humperstein, and Queen Caroline of Rubovia, pose on the balcony for a formal photograph.¤ 

A Cranky Banquet
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film

Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. Everyone has  run out of jobs to do. As a result, the Queen is reading fairy stories to Pongo the dragon, and  the King and the Lord Chamberlain are dying of boredom after eight games of draughts. Action is needed, so Mr. Weatherspoon, in his capacity as Court Magician, is asked to conjure up a banquet.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Violet Lamb, Pamela Binns, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo, Roy Skelton
Settings and Costumes by
Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray


____________________
¤Although shown alongside a Radio Times article about A Cranky Banquet, we don't know for certain that this photograph shows a scene from that play.

Held by N.F.T.A.
Sources: 
Radio Times;
BBC Infax


1st tx: 1st Jan., 1963
The Clue
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Violet Lamb, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo, Roy Skelton
Settings and Costumes by Andrew Brownfoot 
Additional Settings by Hazel Martingell
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

Held by BBC

BBC Programme
No. LCH7151D

Sources:
KCTVG**;
Radio Times;
BBC Infax


1st tx: 29th Jan., 1963
The Secret River
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Violet Lamb, James Beattie, Michael Logan, Roy Skelton
Settings and Costumes by
Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

Held by BBC

BBC Programme
No. LCH7195T

Sources:
KCTVG**;
Radio Times;
BBC Infax


1st tx: 12th Feb., 1963
Stop Press
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Violet Lamb, James Beattie, Derek Nimmo, Roy Skelton
Settings and Costumes by
Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

Held by BBC

BBC Programme
No. LCH7113B

Sources: 
Radio Times;
NZ Listener;
Television Mail;
A4A2ZT§

1st tx: 13th Aug., 1963
Fire, Fire, Fire
Runtime: 20' 53"
16 mm B&W film

Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. Like everyone else, the Rubovians object to taxes, but they take positive action, and refuse to pay until they are provided with a new fire engine.
and/or
Farmer Bottle, whose catch phrase was "I knows the rules" was forever digging up ancient pieces of law that the palace had to abide by. It was one such rule that led to the situation with the fire engine.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Violet Lamb, James Beattie, Roy Skelton, Derek Nimmo
Settings and Costumes by
Andrew Brownfoot 
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

Held by N.F.T.A.
Sources: 
Radio Times; 
NZ Listener;
Television Mail

1st tx: 19th Nov., 1963
Calling All Trunks
Runtime: 21' 36"
16 mm B&W film

Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. Magic trunks inspiring a little ingenuity to ease certain unpleasant tasks, unfortunately lead to complications.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Violet Lamb, James Beattie, Roy Skelton, Derek Nimmo
Settings and Costumes by
Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

 
Sources:
Radio Times (+photograph)
NZ Listener;
Television Mail

1st tx: 3rd Dec., 1963

Still from The Troublesome Double - Weatherspoon sees his double
The result of another wayward magic spell? Mr. Weatherspoon and Rubina are very surprised to see Weatherspoon's mirror image step out of the mirror.

The Troublesome Double
Runtime: 19' 20"
16 mm B&W film

Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. Mr. Weatherspoon tries out another of his patented machines, and is surprised by his troublesome "twin".

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Violet Lamb, James Beattie, Roy Skelton, Derek Nimmo
Settings and Costumes by
Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

 
Sources:
Radio Times; 
NZ Listener

1st tx: 17th Dec., 1963
Bewitched Boots
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film

Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. Mr. Weatherspoon is enjoying a peaceful afternoon's fishing when he makes an unusual catch.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Violet Lamb, James Beattie, Roy Skelton, Derek Nimmo
Settings and Costumes by
Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

 
Sources:
Radio Times,
NZ Listener

1st tx: 17th March, 1964
A Sinister Visitor
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film

Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia. In her efforts to keep in the social swim, the Queen of Rubovia has once again invited the Grand Duchess Arabella of Humperstein to spend the weekend at the castle. Fed up with the constant stream of dignitaries coming to stay, King Rufus decides to devise a practical joke in which his best friend King Boris of Borsovia is to turn up in disguise, as an unpleasant guest ("The Rajah of Klang"). Unfortunately the Gebankah of Bong also turns up, uninvited, leading to unfortunate misunderstandings.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick
Voices: Violet Lamb, Pamela Binns, James Beattie, Roy Skelton, Derek Nimmo
Settings and Costumes by
Andrew Brownfoot
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

Points of Interest: Through the researches of Albert Weatherspoon, this episode reveals fragments of geography, namely that Bong borders on the Gumbian sea, and of the Bongese language. At the palace reception another guest was announced as "Prince Caractacus of Upper Sunderland and All Stations West."
 

 
Sources:
KCTVG (tx date ##.##.##)**;
BBC Infax

Final episode.
Was not transmitted.
The Giddy Ghost
Runtime: 20 minutes
16 mm B&W film
Another story from the kingdom of Rubovia.

Puppeteers: Audrey Atterbury, Bob Bura, John Hardwick(?)
Voices: Violet Lamb, James Beattie, Roy Skelton, Derek Nimmo(?)
Settings and Costumes by
Andrew Brownfoot
Editor: M. W. Addison
Puppets and production by Gordon Murray

Points of Interest: This was the final episode of the marionette series. It was delivered to the BBC but forty years later (2003) has still not been transmitted! Fortunately a copy is still held by the BBC.

Held by BBC

BBC Programme
No. LCH7492R

* Anna Home's book, Into the Box of Delights (see Bibliography) 
** Kaleidoscope Children's TV Guide
***
RT claims 1st shown in Jan 1961, but there's no such listing. Possibly it's a confusion with Knight for a Day, which was shown for the 1st time on 17th Jan, 1961.
§ A for Andromeda  to Zoo Time: The TV Holdings of the N.F.T.A. (National Film and Television Archive (U.K.))
TR: Telerecording, a process of using a specially-synchronized 16 mm cine camera to record a television broadcast from the screen of a television monitor.