Noggin the Nog is a popular British children's character appearing in his own TV series (of the same name) and series of illustrated books, created by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin. The TV series is considered a cult classic from the golden age of British children's television. Noggin himself is a simple, kind and unassuming King of the Northmen in a roughly Viking-age setting, with various fantastic elements such as dragons, flying machines and talking birds.
Some of the original artwork for the series is on display at the Rupert Bear Museum. The appearance of the characters was influenced by Peter Firmin seeing the Lewis chessmen in the British Museum.
The stories were based around the central character of Noggin, the rather simple but good-natured son of Knut, King of the Nogs, and his queen Grunhilda. When King Knut dies, Noggin must find a queen to rule beside him or else forfeit the crown to his uncle, Nogbad the Bad. Noggin meets and marries Nooka of the Nooks, (an Eskimo princess), and becomes the new king. Noggin and Nooka have a son, Knut, who comes to the fore in later storylines. Other regular characters include:
Although the individual stories vary, any trouble encountered by the heroes is usually caused by Nogbad the Bad, who never gives up trying to claim Noggin's throne for himself. Nogbad always loses in the end, though not always through the intervention of Noggin himself.
The original television series was first broadcast, starting on 11 September 1959, by the BBC in the United Kingdom, and continued to 1965. Twenty-one programmes were made in black and white, and six in colour, each with a running time of ten minutes, by a company called Smallfilms.
When the programme made a comeback in 1979 it ran for just six episodes and was made in colour. The new series comprised one new two-part story and a colour remake of the second saga, originally a six-parter, "Noggin and the Ice Dragon". This colour series of Noggin the Nog ran until mid-1980. The level of stop-motion animation was basic, but did not detract from the popularity of the series.
The on-screen title is "The Saga of Noggin the Nog", since the stories were based on the principle of a Norse saga, and episodes began with the words, "Listen to me and I will tell you the story of Noggin the Nog, as it was told in the days of old", or "In the lands of the North, where the Black Rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, the Men of the Northlands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale ... and those tales they tell are the stories of a kind and wise king and his people; they are the Sagas of Noggin the Nog. Welcome to Northlands, a tribute to Noggin, King of the Nogs and the People of the Northlands." These opening lines were accompanied by Vernon Elliott's bassoon score.
A new series was rumoured in the late 1990s, but nothing came of it.
The complete series was released on DVD in 2005, in a package that also included DVD versions of the short story books.
The Sagas of Noggin The Nog is now available to watch on-demand in the UK on the KidsCast App.
1 The Saga of Noggin the Nog (a.k.a. The King of the Nogs) (6 episodes) (b/w)
2 The Ice Dragon (6 episodes) (b/w)
3 The Flying Machine (3 episodes) (b/w)
4 The Omruds (3 episodes) (b/w)
5 The Firecake (3 episodes) (b/w)
6 Noggin and the Ice Dragon (4 episodes) (colour) (remake of 2nd saga)
7 Noggin and the Pie (2 episodes) (colour) (based on the book published in 1971)
Narrated by Oliver Postgate.
Character voices by Oliver Postgate and Ronnie Stevens.
Stories by Oliver Postgate, Pictures by Peter Firmin.
Music by Vernon Elliott.
Various Noggin short stories were also published, and a visitor in one of them, Noggin and the Moon Mouse, provided the basis for the characters in the popular Clangers TV series. All the books were written by Oliver Postgate, illustrated in full colour by Peter Firmin, and published by Kaye & Ward.
Edmund Ward Starting to Read books:
There was also a standard book series published in the 1960s and 1970s consisting of 12 illustrated hardback books:
A large book about Nog's life, illustrated in black and white, was also published:
Two omnibus books were published to tie in with the colour TV series:
In 1992 a fully illustrated 96-page colour book, The Sagas of Noggin the Nog, was published by HarperCollins. This volume contains four tales: King of the Nogs, The Ice Dragon, The Flying Machine, and The Omruds.
Between 8 May 1990 and 5 August 1991. Two Noggin the Nog videos were released by the BBC.
Two episodes: "Noggin and the Ice Dragon" (colour), Noggin and The Flying Machine (black & white).
Two episodes: "Noggin and the Omruds" (black & white), "Noggin and the Firecake" (black & white).
Noggin has received an accolade achieved by very few Norse characters – he appeared with the Ice Dragon reading him a note from Nogbad, on a British commemorative postage stamp (SG1804) in January 1994. The art work for the stamp was drawn by Peter Firmin, who also produced a series of illustrations for the advertising campaign to publicize the new stamps. The stamp was one of a set of ten on the theme of "messages", featuring characters from British children's literature. All the characters were pictured holding a letter, note or message. Noggin's note reads: "I, Nogbad 'the Bad' do hereby promise to be 'the Good'."