Poddington Peas (CBBC, 1989)
This is another memorable cartoon that was first shown in the CBBC afternoon strand in the late-80s. Now I actually don’t like to eat peas that much myself (I’m sure you’re pleased that you now know a little more information about me), but it didn’t stop me from watching this show. Poddington Peas was created by Paul Needs and featured the adventures of a variety of bright green peas.
Down at the bottom of the garden (although we don’t know which one as we don’t see any humans in the show, maybe humans don’t exist in this show’s universe, or maybe I’m overthinking about it) there live some peas. All of them have their own personality, about 35 of them featured, and all of their names were some sort of pun relating to who they were (a little like the characters in CBBC cartoon The Family Ness that I also reviewed recently).
Among the characters were Bump-Pea, Creep-Pea (who was the main villain in the show and lived in a haunted castle), Grump-Pea, Jump-Pea, and many more. The opening sequence consisted of all the peas gathered at a music festival as some of them performed the opening theme on stage. The narration and character’s voices were provided by Neil Pearson (who then went on to be in sitcom Drop The Dead Donkey which is something of a career swerve).
I must admit that I was rather amused by the Dump-Pea character, who liked to eat to the point that sometimes he was so big he couldn’t get out the door of his home (an upturned flowerpot) or the teashop. There were episodes based around things like growing vegetables or solving a mystery, and all of it was documented in their newspaper The Daily Pod.
There were only 13 episodes of Poddington Peas made, and they barely ran to five minutes each, meaning if you wanted to watch the episodes all in one go it would barely take an hour. Despite this, the show was repeated rather frequently on CBBC (although I don’t think that it was ever included in the See-Saw strand). It was also repeated on CBeebies in 2002, well over a decade after it was originally shown.
As usual with cartoons from this era, some episodes were released on VHS. But I’m fairly sure that there has been no DVD release. There were also some books released where the peas featured in more stories, and it seems there were plans to make some more TV episodes, but that never happened. There is also a website which features everything that you could ever want to know about the show.
One thought on “CBBC Memories – Poddington Peas.”
Hi Adam! I enjoyed your analysis of the hit 80’s show Poddington Peas. This show also invoked great nostalgia for me, although I didn’t watch it growing up as I wasn’t alive yet. Born in the wrong generation I guess! Haha, anyways. I also thoroughly enjoyed Dump-pea’s characterization- one of the more nuanced characters in the show by far. A well-rounded character, if you will (pea humour). I appreciated the brief episode length. Lasting only five minutes a piece, the plot was also kept concise yet engaging. Crucial for a younger viewing audience!
Unfortunately, I do have some critiques of the show. One notable plothole that comes to mind can be found in Episode 13: Creep-pea’s Christmas Surprise. The narrator is inconsistent in his word choice, switching between “Santa” and “Father Christmas.” This can be confusing for the younger viewing audience to which this show is targeted. Furthermore, I was dismayed to see an inappropriate scene at timestamp 1:19 which depicted Hap-pea and Sweet-pea kissing on-camera. This is a children’s show, for crying out loud! Additionally, the episode as a whole is a clear copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966), which aired a full 23 years prior to the conception of Poddington Peas.
However, I hope these grievances do not outshine my outstanding praise for the show. From the detailed animation, masterfully crafted soundtrack, and captivating narration, this show reminds me of better days and a simpler time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your analysis and look forward to further interacting with your page. Thank you! 😀