Postgate Poll: Ivor surges ahead!

While I am delighted that personal fave Ivor the Engine is doing so well, I have to admit to being surprised. When you hear obituaries about Oliver Postgate, they typically focus on Bagpuss and The Clangers. I love all three enormously, but Ivor has a sublime, nostalgic and – dare I say it? – adult quality that the others lack.

Thanks to Jonathan Calder for the recommendation.


  1. I think that is why I started my whole tribute to Oliver on the way into the station.

    Not only was it easier to offload the other characters from Ivor’s carriages, but although I did go home that day to get a yawn from my bedside Bagpuss, it was Ivor that seemed to have the biggest impact on me to for some reason.

  2. I’m astonished at Ivor’s supremacy – the poor man’s Thomas the Tank Engine IMHO – railway yard politics and over-simplistic moral parables about hard work, effort and reward and community tensions. Bagpuss on the other hand was rich in the kind of whimsy, original ideas and fertile symbolism that characterise the greatest fiction. No finer preparation for the open-minded, imagination-led life.

    Pretentious, moi?

    “A friend of mine,
    A porcupine,
    Went up in a balloon.
    He sailed it here,
    He sailed it there,
    He sailed it almost everywhere,
    Except, perhaps, the moon.”

  3. I will, however, make an exception for Idris the Dragon, and Dai’s embodiment of all bureaucracy, thus:

    “Livestock must be conveyed in the appropriate container.”

  4. I can’t believe I’m reading such drivel from someone normally so sensible. A ‘poor man’s Thomas the Tank Engine’?! Thomas is almost exactly as you describe; Ivor is about as far from it as a children’s animation about steam trains can possibly be.

    Thomas would never have joined the village choir, for one thing. Thomas was all about adventures while Ivor was all about relationships, but with a magic realist twist.

    By contrast, I hate to say it, the whimsy in Bagpuss could at times be quite laboured. And Bagpuss was such an inveterate liar. A pink paper tiger, if you will.

  5. I am likewise disbelieving. That we should come to such a schism! Ivor’s being about “relationships” was half the problem – a pedestrian soap opera to Bagpuss’ rich gallimaufrey of myth, song, history and story-telling. I never thought I’d hear such a thing from the Blogger of the Year*.

    *I see how this could backfire.

  6. Much as I hate to disagree with the Award Winning Alix Mortimer, I’m with the gravelly-voiced sex-pot on this one. Ivor is awesome. Look at his subversiveness when faced with a load of fox-hunting toffs! No illiberal and impractical banning from Ivor; he rescues the fox and lets the toffs get on with being toffy…

  7. Furthermore I worry about the extent to which TtTE teaches the importance of deference to the Fat Controller; the enforcement of sex and class stereotypes: that coaches are all female and need to be cosseted and trucks are all working class and need to be treated harshly. The racist epithets may have been edited out of more recent editions, but the conservative idyll remains.

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