In a deal signed recently, Dramatico, my company has acquired the major shareholding in a company called Wombles Copyright Holdings Ltd – formerly owned 50/50 by ourselves and the estate of Elisabeth Beresford. This announcement can only be a teaser I’m afraid, regarding planned activity and probable project partners. Suffice to say we have plans for two new 26-part TV series, a feature length movie and an interactive online “Wombles World” experience. The acquisition of our 85% controlling stake in the core rights company finally puts all the rights in one vehicle and after years of gradual gathering together of the rights we can truly call ourselves a “Wom-stop” for Wombles rights administration, apart from the original novels by Elisabeth which remain with her grown-up “children”, and any future novels which may be written by her daughter, Kate Robertson.
Of course the Wombles have never really gone away – and indeed popped out of hibernation for a full (exhausting!) one-hour live Glastonbury set in 2011 (the Glastonbury before this one, as there was no Glasto in 2012). The whole set can now be seen on the Wombles’ own YouTube Channel http://tinyurl.com/nwdbhvh . “YouTube Channel?” said Great Uncle Bulgaria, “What is the world coming to? It wasn’t like this when I was a lad back in 1780. We didn’t even need microphones then!”. The books have been re-issued by Bloomsbury – but you ain’t seen nothing yet!
We think the Wombles characters are timeless, funny and loveable, and we can assure the Beresford Estate (son and daughter Marcus and Kate et al) that we shall protect and look after the quality and integrity of the characters as we always have done. We think there are audiences of new children and international audiences who missed the Wombles the first time around will be thrilled to see the brilliant high quality animations and new musical productions we shall be mounting.
Sadly, this announcement comes only weeks after my mum, Elaine Bryson Batt (credited on all the Wombles albums as “Womble costumes by Granny Bryson”) passed away in Yeovil hospital, after suffering from ovarian cancer. She would have loved to have got her scissors out again, just as she did for Glastonbury. Never mind, now Elisabeth Beresford and my Mum are no longer with us, the next generation will do them proud. My young granddaughters are already massive Womble aficionados!