Jamie and the Magic Torch


Created by the same animation team of Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall that brought the world 'Chorlton and the Wheelies', 'Dangermouse' and 'Count Duckula', 'Jamie and the Magic Torch' is a childrens cartoon based around a young boy, Jamie, his English sheepdog Wordsworth and his magic torch (funny that).

It debuted on ITV from 1976 to 1979, although I remember watching it in the 1980s, so it must have been rerun. The series was written and narrated by Brian Trueman, who later wrote 'Dangermouse' and 'Count Duckula'.

Jamie and the Magic TorchEach episode starts with Jamie's unseen mother saying "Sleep well, Jamie", and as soon as the bedroom door closes Jamie leaps out of bed, grabs hold of the torch that Wordsworth passes to him and shines it on to the floor, the torch light then opens up a swirling portal. Jamie and Wordsworth then jump through the portal, which manifests itself as a helter skelter, and the pair would arrive in a psychedelic fantasy dimension called Cuckooland.

All of this is accompanied by my all time favourite TV theme song (written by Joe Griffiths).

Remember, this is the 70's and nobody is suggesting that any drugs were taken by any of the people involved in Jamie and the Magic Torch but it does capture the psychedelic cultural moment.

But, if arriving in a psychedelic world via a brightly-coloured helter skelter based portal with a talking bobble-hatted English sheepdog wasn't surreal enough, have a look at the characters that inhabit this world:

Mr. Boo - an absent-minded roller-skating professor who flies around in his 'Sub-machine', obsessed with counting things.
Police Officer Gotcha - who appears speeding over the horizon with his siren blaring, on a unicycle, and eats truncheons
Nutmeg the rag doll - who has a magic pocket that can produce virtually anything she needs
Wellybob - a brash, yellow Scottish cat who does everything backwards
Strumpers Plunkett - Cuckoolands resident musician who plays melodies on his trumpet nose (Trombonium)
The Yoo-hoo Bird - who constantly plays tricks on Officer Gotcha.
BullyBundy - a show business rabbit with extraordinarily oversized feet and an ego to match
Jo-Jo Help - a particularly unhandy handy-man who never has time to help

Jamie, with the aid his magic torch (obviously), is always ready to help out his odd night-time friends, while Wordsworth, who has ability to speak in Cuckooland, is less helpful and slightly more synical and arcastic often expressing his opinion on just how strange everything and everyone in weird dimension really is. (I wonder if BullyBundy actually ended up as 'rabbit pie' - which always seemed to be Wordsworth's suggestion.)

Once each escapade ends, Jamie and Wordsworth always return home, Slightly unconvincingly going backwards up the helter skelter (unconvincingly, as the starting sequence was shown in reverse at the end of the show) arriving back in bed just as Jamie's mother comes in to check on them in the morning; she never suspects a thing!  I'm not sure if Jamie or Wordsworth ever get any sleep!

Jamie is classic childrens escapism - a portal to a different world (a la 'Mr Benn' or 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe') and it mirrors the stories where the characters come alive when no one is looking (think 'Bagpuss', 'Toy Story' or ), classic, but given a 70's psychedelic twist.

Full of humour and surrealism, utterly bonkers but hugely entertaining, the show is fondly remembered by almost all who have seen it and also boasts a great rock anthem of a theme tune! Grab yourself the DVD and wallow in this stuff for a whole evening, pausing only to sip a glass of Tizer and sing along...

"Jamie! Jamie! Jamie and the Magic Torch.
Down the helter skelter, faster and faster towards Cuckooland.

Wordsworth! Wordsworth! Following hard behind.
Ready for adventure, always there to lend a paw... or hand!

Mister Boo and all the others too, the strangest people you've ever seen.
And the torch with its magical beam...
If I hadn't really been there I'd think that I was dreaming!

Jamie! Jamie! No two nights are the same...
And life is one long glorious game...
With Jamie...

Jamie and the Magic Torch! "


Jamie and the Magic TorchJamie And The Magic Torch - Complete Series 1
This cult children's television series followed the adventures of Jamie a young boy who has a magic torch which when shone on to his bedroom floor transports him and his dog Wordsworth into a magical mystery world...
Features all 13 episodes of the first series with over two hours of adventures!