The Wombles

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The Wombles make a public appearance

The Wombles were fictional television characters created by Elizabeth Beresford and were a popular 1980s children's television series based on a series of novels published from 1968 to 1976. The series was set on Wimbledon Common and featured the Wombles cleaning up and reusing the litter left behind by people.

The Wombles reflect the emerging goals of the environmentalist movement during the 80's. The wombles reside in a self-sufficient, hidden commune dug beneath Wimbledon Common. Their chief interest is in recycling - with the group motto of 'Making good use of bad rubbish,' the Wombles scavenge the discards of human society to be adopted and reused by themselves. Food is prepared only from plants - though not explicitly identified as vegans, the wombles are never shown consuming any form of animal product, and demonstrate a level of vegetarian cookery that can go so far as to produce 'grass jelly.'

The novels describe other Womble settlements as far away as Scotland, but these are not visited in the television series.

The Wombles went on to score a chart success with "The Wombling Song", perhaps the first but not the last instance of fictional characters recording and releasing a popular song. All music for the series was composed by Mike Batt, perhaps best known for his work on Watership Down and with the folk group Steeleye Span.