Meg And Mog (CITV, 2003-2004)
When I reviewed the 80s show Hokey Cokey recently, one edition that I watched featured one of the Meg And Mog books. Now this brought back some memories for me because I remember enjoying some of those books when I was younger. Without trying to think about it too deeply, was this where my interest in strange witchy women began? Well it could be possible, I don’t know.
The books were written by Helen Nicoll, the distinctive illustrations were provided by Jan Pienkowski. The first of these was published in 1972, and there were about 25 books altogether. About three decades on from this, it was decided to turn the stories into a TV cartoon series that would be shown on CITV. Meg was a witch who liked to fly around on a broomstick and her spells using a cauldron often went wrong, whilst her cat Mog looked on. The only other regular character was their friend who was an owl.
Pleasingly, the animation style was faithful to the books, and it was great seeing these familiar characters finally come to life. Lots of various ambitious things happened in the stories. Wanting to visit the circus or go to the moon for the day? That’s no problem. Meg was voiced by Fay Ripley, and Mog was voiced Phil Cornwell, who had worked on various children’s and comedy shows over the years.
One thing that is rather odd about the show is that it was co-produced by Absolutely Productions, which was also behind the great Channel 4 comedy sketch show of the same name. This meant that some of the cast of that show contributed to this one, including Morwenna Banks providing some of the additional voices, Moray Hunter writing some of the stories, and Pete Baikie making the music.
I must admit that I never thought that they’d be any crossover between two rather different shows. To think that the company was also behind the likes of The Jack Docherty Show and Mr Don And Mr George too, this was their first attempt at getting into children’s TV, and it’s another good example of a rather unlikely career swerve. Well it’s one way to pay the bills I suppose.
There were 52 episodes of Meg And Mog that were all only five minutes long, and they were shown in various slots on CITV for a few years. Some episodes were released on DVD too. The show was later repeated on Tiny Pop, a channel for the youngest viewers that joined Freeview a while ago and seems to show cartoons all day. Not that I’ve ever watched it, honest…