Noddy and Mr. Plod in Noddy's car, as depicted in the 2000s TV production Make Way for Noddy.
|First appearance||Noddy Goes to Toyland|
|Created by||Enid Blyton|
|Voiced by||Susan Sheridan (1992-2000; Noddy's Toyland Adventures) |
Catherine Disher (1998-2000)
Edward Chun (2002-2003; UK version)
David A. Kaye (2005-2007; US version)
Teresa Gallagher (2009)
Louis Ashbourne Serkis (2016-2020; UK version)
Valin Shinyei (2016-2020; US version)
Noddy is a fictional character created by English children's author Enid Blyton, originally published between 1949 and 1963. Noddy was illustrated by the Dutch artist Eelco Martinus ten Harmsen van der Beek from 1949 until his death in 1953, after which the work was continued by Peter Wienk. Television shows based on the character have run on British television since 1955.
The first book explains Noddy's origins. He is made by a woodcarver in a toy store but runs away after the man begins to make a wooden lion, which scares Noddy. As he wanders through the woods naked, penniless, and homeless, he meets Big Ears, a friendly gnome. Big Ears decides that Noddy is a toy and takes him to live in Toyland. He generously provides Noddy with a set of clothing and a house. While Noddy is quite happy to be a toy, the citizens of Toyland are not sure that he actually is one. They put Noddy on trial and examine whether he is a toy or an ornament. Eventually, Noddy is declared a toy, but still has to convince the court that he is a good toy. The judge accepts that Noddy is good after a doll tells the court that he saved her little girl from a lion, and he is allowed to stay in Toyland. Noddy gets his car in the second book. It is given to him after he helps solve a local mystery.
The other toys can hear him coming by the distinctive "Parp Parp" sound of his car's horn and the jingle of the bell on his blue hat. Often he uses his car to visit all of the places in Toyland. When his taxi business is not doing so well, or when he needs help, Noddy turns to Big Ears. Big Ears will often lend him what he needs. On occasion, Noddy will allow people to make his head nod. in exchange for small items such as his morning milk.
Noddy is kind and honest, but he often gets in trouble, either through his own misunderstandings, or because someone, usually one of the naughty goblins Sly or Gobbo, has played a trick on him. He is very childlike in his understanding of the world and often becomes confused as a result. For example, in the first Noddy book, Noddy and Big Ears are building Noddy's house for one. Noddy suggests that they build the roof first, in case it rains. With no understanding of gravity or of the need for roof supports, this is perfectly logical to him. As the series continues, Noddy becomes wiser but without losing his charm and lovable naivety.
Noddy's best friends are Big Ears, Tessie Bear, Bumpy Dog, and the Tubby Bears. Big Ears, who brought Noddy to Toyland, is the most important figure in his life. Whenever he faces serious peril, it tends to be Big Ears who comes to the rescue, one way or another, and it is invariably Big Ears to whom Noddy turns for support and reassurance. Big Ears is not so much a parental figure, but more like a guardian, or perhaps Noddy's attorney. While kind to Noddy, Big Ears has an intimidating presence and voice that makes him feared by goblins. He is capable of facing down wizards with his own spells, and is able to plead Noddy's case to Mr. Plod, the local policeman, when Noddy finds himself in legal peril. On rare occasions, however, Big Ears finds himself in trouble, in which case Noddy comes to his aid. Big Ears and Noddy have rarely quarreled seriously. Examples of such quarrels are when Big Ears harshly scolded the very sensitive Tessie Bear for failing to control her dog and when Noddy ran his car into Big Ears's clothes post and then drove away, dragging Big Ears's clean washing behind him.
Tessie is a gentle-hearted, gold bear who often wears a bonnet with flowers and a skirt. She is very kind and very loving towards all of her friends and neighbours. Bumpy Dog is Tessie's pet. He loves to run up and "bump" people over. Noddy frequently gets annoyed with Bumpy but still likes him. Whenever Noddy threatens Bumpy, Tessie gets upset, and sometimes even begins to cry. The Tubby Bears live next door to Noddy. They are gold and chubby teddy bears. Mr. and Mrs. Tubby Bear frequently help Noddy. It is clear that Mr. and Mrs. Tubby Bear are the superiors of Noddy, as if he were a child. Their first names are never mentioned and Noddy always refers to them as Mr. and Mrs. They have one son, also named Tubby, who is occasionally referred to as Master Tubby. Tubby is naughty and is usually in trouble for breaking rules, being rude, or doing something wrong. Noddy often attempts to scold or punish Tubby, with little result. On one occasion, Tubby gets tired of always being bossed around and being punished and decides to run away to sea. Noddy and Bumpy accidentally join with him. By the end of the journey, Tubby misses his parents and brings them back presents from his trip, as an apology.
Noddy has many runs with Mr. Plod. Some are caused by Noddy's lack of understanding of how Toyland works. Other times it is because of a case of mistaken identity, Mr. Plod is generally long-suffering towards Noddy and Noddy likes Mr. Plod and frequently goes out of his way to help him. Mr. Plod often catches the mischief makers on his police bicycle, by blowing his whistle and shouting "Halt in the name of Plod!!" before locking the culprits up in his jail.
It is said that Enid Blyton took inspiration for Noddy from the village of Studland in Dorset where she would holiday virtually every summer. A small copse near Studland was said to be Noddy's Wood. PC Ray Rone who Blyton met while he was on the beat came to be immortalised as PC Plod in the Noddy books, and the national archetype of a flatfooted copper. 
Noddy Goes to Toyland
Hurrah for Little Noddy
Noddy and His Car
Here Comes Noddy Again!
Well Done Noddy!
Noddy Goes to School
Noddy at the Seaside
Noddy Gets into Trouble
Noddy and the Magic Rubber
You Funny Little Noddy
Noddy Meets Father Christmas
Noddy and Tessie Bear
Be Brave, Little Noddy!
Noddy and the Bumpy-Dog
Do Look Out, Noddy
You're a Good Friend, Noddy
Noddy Has an Adventure
Noddy Goes to Sea
Noddy and the Bunkey
Cheer Up, Little Noddy!
Noddy Goes to the Fair
Mr. Plod and Little Noddy
Noddy and the Tootles
Noddy and the Aeroplane
|No. of books||24|
Early Noddy books have become collectibles, along with other Blytons. The total number is hard to count: the Noddy Library (Sampson Low) of two dozen titles, which became the New Noddy Library when revised, was just part of a big production in the 1950s, with Big Noddy Books of larger format, and strip books. There were numerous spin-offs, also. Widely differing estimates can be found.
The 24 original Noddy books by Enid Blyton were published between 1949 and 1963. Harmsen Van der Beek illustrated the first 7 Noddy books. After Beek's death in 1953 the original style was maintained by illustrators Robert Tyndall, Peter Wienk, Mary Brooks and Robert Lee.
Sales of Noddy books are large, with an estimated 600,000 annual sales in France alone, and growing popularity in India, a large market for Blyton books. The Noddy character was formerly owned by Chorion, who sold the rights on to DreamWorks Classics (a part of DreamWorks Animation which now a subsidiary of NBCUniversal) in 2012.
(Only 24 in the set)
Separate Book: Noddy and Big-Ears (1952)
On 17 November 2008, it was announced that Enid Blyton's granddaughter, Sophie Smallwood, was to write a new Noddy book to celebrate the character's 60th birthday. Noddy and the Farmyard Muddle (2009) was illustrated by Robert Tyndall, who has drawn the characters in the Noddy books since 1953, ever since the death of the original illustrator, Harmsen van der Beek.
In the 1990s and early 2000s TV series adaptation, as well as a new series of books, Noddy has been updated, with the original Golliwog characters replaced by other sorts of toys. For example, Mr. Golly who ran the Toyland garage was replaced by Frenchman Monsieur Polly in the 1975 series, and later on Mr. Sparks who in the new 2002 version of the series appears to be Scottish, and Dinah Doll, described as "a black, assertive minority female",[by whom?] was added to the franchise by the BBC during the 1992-1999 series.
Noddy first appeared on stage at the 2660-seat Stoll Theatre in Kingsway, London, in 1954. The very large cast were all children or teenagers, mostly from the Italia Conti acting school. There was a full theatre orchestra. The finale was a scene at the "Faraway Tree", with many of the children dressed as fairies, flying on wires. It ran for several years, but the Stoll was knocked down and replaced by an office block in the late 1950s. The Peacock Theatre was built in the basement of the new building, but Noddy did not return.
In 1993, a stage production of Noddy opened at Wimbledon Theatre, followed by a long UK national tour, including a Christmas season in London at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, and was released on home video in 1994. The production was presented by Clarion Productions. The production was written and directed by David Wood with scene and costume designs by Susie Calcutt. The original cast included Eric Potts as Big Ears and Karen Briffett as Noddy. The show was very well received among critics, audiences and even Enid Blyton's daughter Gillian Baverstock. David Wood adapted a successful sequel to the play entitled "Noddy and the Tootle" which opened at the Wimbledon Theatre and endured on a long UK National Tour in 1995-1996. Karen Briffett reprised her role as Noddy and Big Ears was played by Jonathan Broxholme. This production was too presented by Clarion Productions.
The characters returned between September 2002 and January 2004 for a computer-animated series, which was eventually named Make Way for Noddy. This was created by Chorion, in association with SD Entertainment and the 100 episodes were produced in 2001 externally. It originally aired in 12-minute segments as part of the Milkshake! programme on Britain's Channel 5.
In the autumn of 2004, a set of 100 new two-minute TV interstitials were created by Chorion. These interstitials, entitled Say it With Noddy, feature Noddy learning words in a variety of foreign languages. They also introduced Noddy's new friend Whizz from Robot Village, who presses a button on his chest to play recordings of native speakers saying the new foreign words Noddy was to learn. The interstitials were featured on commercial breaks on Five and featured as segments for the American release of the show on PBS.
A CG animated series, called Noddy in Toyland, was made in 2009 by Chorion, produced by Brown Bag Films in Ireland. The series features much more detailed faces for Big Ears and Mr. Plod, a new wardrobe for Tessie Bear, and incorporates Whizz as a full-time character. Sly and Gobbo's cousins, Sneaky and Stealth, are introduced and usually work alongside them. The full series is available digitally on iTunes.
In 2012, Chorion sold the Noddy character to ClassicMedia, which in turn was bought out by DreamWorks Animation, leading to another CG animated series, named Noddy, Toyland Detective was produced by French producer/distributor Gaumont Animation, in association with DreamWorks Animation Television, and in partnership with France Télévisions. It premiered on Channel Five's preschool block Milkshake! on 18 April 2016.
In Alan Moore's series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Toyland is a real nation located in the Arctic Circle. The King and Queen of Toyland are Frankenstein's Monster and Olympia, the automaton from The Tales of Hoffmann.
In an episode of Last of the Summer Wine, all of the characters dressed up as fairy tale characters for a parade. Smiler is dressed as Noddy complete with a smaller version of his car in order to tow a bouncy castle with the rest of the characters on it. But it deflated while they were taking part.
Noddy being associated with small children's reading has led to "Noddy" being sometimes used as an adjective meaning "petty or trivial" (compare with "Mickey Mouse"), for example, in computer programming: "This simultaneous linear equation subroutine crashes out on the Noddy case when n = 1, but otherwise it works." or "Remember to check all the Noddy cases."