Those who remember the children's animation Bod from the 13 episodes broadcast by the BBC in 1975 generally recall, with considerable precision, not stories but images. This is because the stories that constitute Bod, created by Joanne and Michael Cole, are mere wisps of narrative, in which, almost always, almost nothing happens (in "Bod and the Cake", for example, no cake arrives), serene anti-dramas which are elusive and thus hard to remember as stories. Its images, by contrast, are the heart of its minimalist charm and its unforgettable strangeness, from narrator John Le Mesurier's unvarying announcement, "Here comes Bod", to the moment the unvarying fivefold cast sashay towards the horizon at the end. Bod is small and bald, with a yellow dress and a Buddha-like imperturbability. He and his four eternal companions--Aunt Flo, Farmer Barleymow, Frank the Postman, PC Copper--are animated as sparely as a 60s cartoon from the Eastern bloc. In each episode, the five gather one by one, each arriving to their own characteristic perky jazz-folky theme, in their own characteristic gait (indeed, like a zen riddle, the walk itself is far more important than where they're walking to, or why). Some viewers consider the cartoon's mysterious pastoral stillness alarming, as if something terrible were going on that we're never told about or shown--"Waiting for Bodot", as it were--but most found its calmness both beguiling and addictive. As in the original Watch with Mother format, Bod is paired with Alberto Frog and his Amazing Animal Band (in which an all-animal orchestra plays the classics, then guesses what flavour milkshake their frog conductor will reward himself with). Who knows how tots so exposed to the over-active kids-fare of today will respond, but the grown-ups in their charge will find The Complete Bod soothing, seductive and bizarre.
|BOD||FARMER BARLEYMOW||PC COPPER||AUNT FLO||FRANK THE POSTMAN||ALBERTO FROG|