Sunday, 9 October 2016

Theme Time: Benni Lees and Soulyard - Pigeon Street

Here's a lovely dose of nostalgia; a real favourite of mine as an infant in the 1980s, it's the classic cartoon series Pigeon Street

Pigeon Street was an animated series devised and written by Michael Cole and animated by Alan Rogers and Peter Lang of the Cut Out Animation Co. It was transmitted on the BBC1 in 1981 as part of its See-Saw strand for pre-school children. There was just thirteen episodes of Pigeon Street, composed of an initial series of eight episodes, and a second of five. The series has been repeated a number of times, giving lie to its short run.

The show itself concerned the everyday antics of a group of residents who lived on the eponymous Pigeon Street; an area of flats and terraced housing in an unnamed British city (Real-life Pigeon Streets can be found in Manchester and Wisbech) Residents included Clara, the long distance lorry driver, Hugo the chef, Mr Baskerville the detective, Mr Macadoo who owned the pet shop and his twins Molly and Polly, and Mr Jupiter the astronomer. Pigeon Street was also, somewhat inevitably, home to a number of pigeons. The voices were provided by sitcom legend George Layton and John Telfer, who went on to play DC Willy Pettit in Bergerac from 1988 until its final series in 1991 and can be heard as Alan Franks, the resident vicar in Radio 4's perennial soap opera The Archers

Each episode of the show ran for around ten to fifteen minutes and included many musical numbers often used to introduce the characters, the most famously and fondly remembered of them being this one for Clara...

The theme music to the series itself was composed by classically trained musician Benni Lees, real name Marion Lees, and her band Soulyard in which she played bass. You can read more about Benni and her previous band, the all-girl feminist rock band The Stepney Sisters (1974-'76, and a 2011 revival) on the excellent Women's Liberation Music Archive website

For further information about the show and those behind it, including Benni Lees and Soulyard, pay a visit to the website dedicated to the programme; Pigeon And why not, here's just one episode from a selection to enjoy on YouTube...

Brings back good memories, doesn't it?

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