The Wombles are fictional pointy-nosed, furry creatures created by Elisabeth Beresford and originally appearing in a series of children's novels from 1968. They live in burrows, where they aim to help the environment by collecting and recycling rubbish in creative ways. Although Wombles supposedly live in every country in the world, Beresford's stories are concerned with the lives of the inhabitants of the burrow on Wimbledon Common in London, England. The characters gained a higher national profile in the UK in the mid-1970s as a result of a BBC-commissioned children's television show which used stop-motion animation. A number of spin-off novelty songs also became hits in the British music charts. The Wombles pop group was the idea of British singer and composer Mike Batt. The Womble motto is "Make Good Use of Bad Rubbish". This environmentally-friendly message was a reflection of the growing environmental movement of the 1970s.
Links to Peel
Peel wrote about the Wombles in a review article of music played in 1974 in Sounds, published on 4th January 1975, opining:
I can't come to terms with their stuff at all. They are, I feel, the Bobby Vinton of the 70's
Peel was fond of telling the tale of the infamous Radio One Fun Day at Mallory Park in 1975, where the BBC sub-aqua team attempted to prevent crazed Bay City Rollers fans from approaching an island in a lake where the group were due to arrive by helicopter. At the same time, Tony Blackburn was being driven around the lake in speedboat piloted by a Womble.
In fact, Peel's manager and close friend Clive Selwood had been heavily involved in the early promotion of the Wombles as a chart act, during his time at CBS, having been alerted to their commercial potential by his children.
Despite not playing any Wombles tunes on his own shows, Peel did play a Christmas tune from the ensemble called Wombling Merry Christmas on a pre-recorded Christmas radio special called Only At Christmas in 1987.
- Only At Christmas: Wombling Merry Christmas (7”) CBS