Bringing Legacy to Life 2021 – Smallfilms Expanded: Beyond the fingerprints of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin

Chris Pallant

Chris Pallant is a Reader in Creative Arts and Industries at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK. His publications include  Demystifying Disney: A History of Disney Feature Animation (2011),  Storyboarding: A Critical History (2015),Animated Landscapes: History, Form and Function  (2015) and Animation: Critical and Primary Sources  (2021). Chris also serves as President of the Society for Animation Studies. He is currently finishing work on his latest monograph, Beyond Bagpuss: A History of Smallfilms, which will be published by the BFI in 2022. This paper represents an early opportunity to share some of the research findings from this book project. 


Understandably, the names of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin are indelibly entwined with the name of the studio that they co-founded and ran for almost three decades: Smallfilms. Their creative hunger, inventiveness, and durability, which resulted in numerous iconic television series, such as Bagpuss, Clangers, and Ivor the Engine, to name but a few, has guaranteed a lasting legacy within the British Isles. Beyond the work of Postgate and Firmin, a number of other individuals, such as Joan Firmin, Charlotte Firmin, Linda Birch, Sandra Kerr, amongst others, made significant contributions to the success of Smallfilms, yet their names exist, at best, as footnotes within established Smallfilms history. This paper seeks to expand the historical record and thereby better define some contributions of these hitherto marginalised collaborators.

Chris will present as part of Panel Two, 14:00-15:30 Thursday 29th April.

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