At the foot of every garden near the roots of every tree
There are villages which you or I will never get to see
And one of them I’d like to tell you all about today
If you could hear, I’m sure that they would say…
Welcome to Gribblum, Gribblum, a place that nobody knows
Welcome to Gribblum, Gribblum, it’s right underneath your nose
Now one day, without warning, in a moment quite unplanned
The King and Queen went off leaving their son to rule the land
So come with me and see the Gribblum Tales as they unfold
With a leader who’s just twelve years old…
So begins each episode of GRIBBLUM TALES - a concept for TV written by Peter Gallagher and beautifully illustrated by Robert Yeal.
It is a collection of 15 minute tales regarding a twelve year old boy in charge by default and the adventures he presides over while discovering what power and responsibility are all about. The ‘power’ we are talking about though, is the power that every child would want. Not for him the trappings of megalomania - more the ability to use a microphone and turn it up really loud just because you can……..to explore places you believe to be uncharted instead of going to school……to ban things which are too much like hard work……… to make laws allowing children more freedom and fun if they’re good and, for the audience, to observe the mayhem which results when you attempt to revolve the whole of society around the younger half of the population.
The boy’s name is NORBERT and the overwhelming impression of him is that he really is a pretty cool dude. However, this boy is coolest in the most unexpected way - in the process of attempting to change everything to his own liking and discover whatever he can, he soon finds out that there are reasons for most of the things grown ups do and areas that really are best left alone. It’s an interesting, educational adventure for NORBERT….for the audience it’s a romp as he gets himself and his friends into mess after mess but always manages to get them out again at the other end.
And at the root of all this mayhem is the size of the village. It may look tiny but it’s not really if you consider that the whole of the universe as we know it could be no more than one atom in the fingernail of a giant bus conductor. Thus, we must take as we see and not worry too much about what may be. There are crisp packets, baked bean tins, books, flower pots and even creatures to be discovered just outside their realm and NORBERT intends to explore and chart all of them for future generations. But what if half of the ‘Heinz Baked Bean’ tin label is ripped off so that it now reads ‘He Ba Be’? And what if it is lying in a stream? Thus is born the mystery of the Hebabe Cave and Falls - a silver cavern slowly turning reddish brown over the years which no-one has ever been inside but legend has it contains small, round, orange creatures just sitting there, waiting for intruders. There is also a mirror-like circular skating rink which , local mythology tells, plays music if you skate fast enough. And on the underside, a ghostly, guardian face….although to you the audience, the hidden image may look a little like George Michael and the logo ‘Compact Disc’® may give it all away. The tales continue in this vein….
Episode One is the story of ‘The Great Hebusbus’ - a mythical creature of epic proportions which is rarely seen but spells doom whenever he is. Needless to say, at the end of the episode the mystery is solved (as always) for the audience as we hear a voice calling the creature in the distance….”Here Puss Puss.” Hebusbus? It all sounds the same when you’re the same size as a baby ladybird.
A modern approach to discovery, morality and adventure meet in this tiny village. With a trusted format of half illustration, half narrated live action (‘Jackanory for the 21st century’) GRIBBLUM TALES will enthral and delight children and parents alike. With books and all forms of merchandising clearly made accessible by the perfect simplicity and yet lovable nature of the illustrations, the opportunities for this concept are endless.
Even the theme tune is produced by a vital young record producer (Glenn Carter - the West End’s Jesus from the acclaimed revival of ‘Superstar’) and sung by Julie Alannah Brighten (Disney’s original ‘Belle’ in the West End’s ‘Beauty & The Beast’).
I would so like you to meet NORBERT, BILL THE BOOKMAN, MRS. OBLE THE BAKER, MR. STRUTT THE COBBLER, OLD MR. IZZUM THE TELLER, HERROBULL THE UNCERTAIN and BOLLADILL THE PROBABLE as well as all the other occupants of GRIBBLUM and I look forward to discussing it with you further soon.
Middle Earth, Schmiddle Earth. This is GRIBBLUM!
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