All together now: ‘Underground, overground, wombling free, the Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we…’ If you were a child of the seventies (the TV series ran from 1973 to 1975 and a more modern version was made in the nineties), you’re probably already misty-eyed, remembering those fuzzy creatures who made use of humans’ discarded litter and went by the memorable names of Orinoco, Uncle Bulgaria, Tomsk, Bungo and Wellington (not forgetting female Womble Madame Cholet, of course).
This film version, once again featuring author Elisabeth Beresford’s cuddly characters, doesn’t look quite as, well, adorably creaky as the series – here, it is actors in Womble costumes rather than the puppets we loved on the telly. And, if an eco-message plot wasn’t bad enough (Bungo wants to try and make humans understand their littering is getting out of control), this has a scary cast addition in the form of red-haired child star Bonnie Langford. Aaaargh – will the horror never end? Of course, if your children have never seen the original series, they probably won’t mind the lack of puppetry (and, hopefully, they will have never heard of Langford before) so they may be entertained. But this does lack the loveliness of the original series.
Is Wombling Free suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...