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28th November 2021

Postman Pat: from Greendale to Greater Manchester

To mark 40 years of Postman Pat, some of the original sets and props are set to go on display for the first time in Greater Manchester
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Postman Pat: from Greendale to Greater Manchester
Photo: Jonathan Garvey.

Can you believe it’s been 40 years since everybody’s favourite animated Postman and his black and white cat first aired on national television?

I don’t know why I just asked that as if I was around then but the point stands – how incredible that a children’s show four decades old is still so relevant?

To mark this momentous occasion, some of the original sets and props from the Postman Pat television series are to go on display for the very first time in Greater Manchester.

The Welcome to Greendale exhibition opened at Waterside in Sale, Trafford – home to Cosgrove Hall Films Archive – on the 20th of November.

Thanks to the kind support of Dreamworks, NBC Universal and the acclaimed Altrincham-based animation studio, Mackinnon & Saunders – three of the major companies behind the creation and development of Pat, Jess, Mrs Goggins and all of Greendale’s much loved inhabitants over the years – Waterside has been asked to display and archive all of the remaining original and handmade sets.

Pat’s cottage, the school, the lighthouse, and the Pencaster Square, complete with original props, will be exhibited at the venue’s Lauriston Gallery to showcase and preserve the skill, beauty and craft behind this much-loved TV show and its equally loved characters.

Joint CEO of Mackinnon and Saunders, Peter Saunders himself explains:

It is 40 years since Postman Pat appeared on the BBC. Originally created and produced by Ivor Wood, the two most recent TV series were produced by Mackinnon & Saunders in their Altrincham studios. After production was completed, the beautiful miniature sets and props were carefully packed and moved to a storage facility in Stalybridge, but the iconic village of Greendale was served notice this year – no longer required for filming, all the models were to be destroyed unless a new home could be found for them.

When Mackinnon & Saunders became aware of the perilous situation, I contacted the Cosgrove Hall Films Archive at Waterside to ask whether their animation archive could come to Greendale’s rescue. The teams at Waterside and Trafford Council immediately offered to help and, thanks to their hard work and dedication, many of the models featured in this uniquely British piece of popular culture have been saved for future generations to enjoy.”

Postman Pat, set in the heart of the Lake District, was first commissioned by the BBC in 1979.

The stop motion series was written by John Cuncliffe and voiced by Ken Barrie.

In 2003, Entertainment Rights and Cosgrove Hall Films team up to develop Postman Pat: Special Delivery. This stop motion series, based on Ivor Wood’s original series, reused parts of his sets but also expanded on Pat’s world to include the town of Pencaster – thus preserving the timeless quality of the show but introducing subtle changes in design to make it feel more contemporary.

Cosgrove Hall Films introduced the lip-synch dialogue, seasons and an abundance of vehicles for Pat to drive back and forth from the sorting office, Greendale and Pencaster.

Postman Pat: Welcome to Greendale runs at Waterside until Saturday the 8th of January 2022.

Jay Darcy

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Email: [email protected].

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