Tuesday, 3 February 2015
80 Watch With Mother : Fingerbobs
First watched : February 1972
The first new Watch With Mother series since Mr Benn was this low budget but much-loved series which could only have been made in the early seventies. The Fingerbobs were animal puppets which consisted of little more than paper on the gloved fingers of a genial balding hippy in a grey Argyll sweater known as "Yoffy" but instantly recognisable from his work on Play School as Canadian actor Rick Jones.
Jones was an interesting character who'd worked in the mines to finance a drama course in London in 1964 . He was quickly snapped up for Play School for his warm, soothing voice. There was another reason for Jones's mellow persona; he was an incorrigible pothead and was stoned throughout the making of Fingerbobs. On his days off he was over dubbing European porn films with English dialogue.
Thirteen episodes were made and usually consisted of lead character Fingermouse , helped by others such as Enoch the woodpecker and Flash the tortoise, collecting objects which Yoffy would use for creative purposes. The main characters would have their own signature song performed on suitably acoustic instruments.
Jones's career at the BBC came to an end in 1973 when a fan inadvertently revealed that she and Jones had spent an afternoon getting stoned in her back garden. He had become bored of TV work anyway and formed a band called Meal Ticket who had a good following on the pub rock circuit until the arrival of punk. He emigrated to the States where he has written and appeared in a couple of minor musicals.
Fingermouse was resurrected without Jones for his own series in 1985 but it didn't last any longer.