Media > TV > Arnold

iArnold and the Acorns

Pilot episode for a proposed series of children’s TV programmes and books, The Doggy Tales of Arnold

Duration: 9½ minutes

Words/Music: Carey Blyton
Illustrations: Maurice Stevens 
Presented by Willie Rushton

Produced in 1995 by BTV Productions Ltd

The Doggy Tales of Arnold

Arnold and the Acorns


InArnold through the catflap the mid-1990s, Carey Blyton attempted to get a project off the ground involving children’s books, a TV series featuring Willie Rushton and a dog with a very big bark. The Doggy Tales of Arnold was projected to be a series of a dozen or so stories featuring the eponymous dog, and was intended as a collaboration between Carey (who wrote the stories and accompanying music) and the illustrator Maurice Stevens.

Carey completed ten initial stories under the collective heading of The Adventures of Arnold, though this series title had become The Doggy Tales of Arnold by the time the first (and only) TV episode was created. The stories are titled (in order) as follows:

  1. Arnold Makes a New Friend
  2. Arnold’s Bark is Useful
  3. Arnold goes Fishing
  4. Arnold and the Acorns
  5. Arnold Lays* a Trap!
  6. Arnold and the Strange Beast
  7. Arnold Does Some Gardening
  8. Arnold has a Party
  9. Arnold to the Rescue
  10. Arnold Shows a Firm Paw

(*originally Baits)

Sadly, for a variety of reasons, the project never came to fruition and nothing was actually released. However, one of the stories, Arnold and the Acorns, was indeed filmed and we are delighted to be able to present the complete programme below.

Grateful thanks are due to Maurice Stevens (see online portfolio) for providing access to all of his illustrations for Arnold and the Acorns, along with a few other resources and recollections (see below).



Maurice Stevens’ recollections

In digging out his Arnold and the Acorns material, Maurice Stevens recalled:

The book, which was never properly published, had a rather sticky beginning, rather a long time ago now—started in 1994 through 1995/1996 (I’m a bit vague about actual dates). There were some irritating political problems that I won’t bore you with. However, Carey and I finally managed to disentangle ourselves from all that. [I created some] experimental cover designs as examples of future stories, if they were to be commissioned prior to publishing. That didn’t happen and so no further work was produced.

I visited Carey and Mary at their home in Swanley, and we struck up a friendship which escalated into an exchange of correspondence. Not long after that, Carey and Mary moved house and I lost touch.

When Carey died it was a sad loss; he still had so much to offer. Carey Blyton was a delightful chap with a wicked sense of humour. When he and I met we seemed to hit it off straight away on a personal and a creative level: we were tuned in on the same wavelength about many things. I have a file of correspondence between us that I recently read, which made me chuckle quite a lot. His letters had a surreal touch not unlike Spike Milligan. He wrote saucy limericks and I responded with cartoons, including a caricature portrait of him that he likened to Boris Karloff!

Limericks and cartoons

As noted, the exchange of letters involved limericks and cartoons, a few of which are reproduced here. Silly names were also employed, with Maurice signing himself Moritz von Teddington and Carey responding in the guise of Cynthia Fishnet-Stockings (Ms) (p.p. El Khasi bin Wadi of Timbucthree):

Carey Karloff? Boris Blyton?
Carey Blyton
(or is it Boris Karloff?)
by Maurice Stevens

I will leave you with two limericks dashed off with a few days apart, as the amazing revelations revelated, viz.

  • A Bishop named Roderick Wright
  • Did a runner one fine autumn night.
  • Said Cardinal Hume:
  • “We must not assume
  • That a woman’s involved in his flight.”
  • The Bishop of Argyll & the Isles
  • Now has his face wreathed in smiles;
  • For Mrs McPhee
  • May sit on his knee
  • And go with him onto the tiles.
  • The Bishop, who now is an ex-,
  • Was brought down by far too much sex.
  • Said a very sad Pope:
  • “He hasn’t a hope
  • Of .....

The final line is proving tricky. Any ideas?

I kiss the hem of your paint-bestrewed jellaba, effendi.

Cynthia F-S

Cynthia Fishnet-Stockings (Ms)

p.p. El Khasi bin Wadi of Timbucthree

Maurice Stevens
Maurice Stevens
by Maurice Stevens

I prefer dogs to people Family and dog to support [Arnold relaxing] No more Mr Nice Guy!


Galleries

Prospective Arnold book covers

10

Arnold Makes a New Friend

20

Arnold’s Bark is Useful

30

Arnold Goes Fishing

40

Arnold and the Kite Monster

50

Arnold Does Some Gardening

60

Arnold to the Rescue

70

Arnold and the Acorns

The first Arnold illustration

10

The very first Arnold picture

Arnold and the Acorns illustrations

10

Arnold looks through the catflap in the kitchen door

20

Arnold comes out through the catflap

30

Arnold runs out into the garden

40

Arnold meets the Mouse by the shed

50

Arnold lets out a big bark

60

Arnold looks surprised

70

Arnold talks to the Mouse

80

Arnold looks at the Squirrel in the tree with its acorns

90

The Squirrel with its nuts

100

Apricot the Cat lands in the rhubarb beside Arnold

110

Arnold and Apricot look up as acorns fall around them

120

The Squirrel knocks some of its nuts down with its tail

130

Arnold looks up through the leaves as acorns rain down

140

A couple of acorns fall on Apricot’s head

150

More acorns bump down on Arnold’s head—Bop! Bop-bop!

160

Arnold emits an extremely loud bark, shaking the tree

170

The Squirrel, hanging on for dear life, looks down from the tree

180

The Squirrel on a branch

190

“The noisiest dog in the park”—Arnold’s biggest bark yet

200

Arnold and Apricot look up into the tree in anticipation of the consequences of Arnold’s barking

210

A deluge of acorns rains down from the tree onto Apricot

220

A shower of acorns

230

That’s put the cat among the… acorns

240

Apricot has been buried

250

Acorns galore

260

Apricot is scared of the Mouse

270

Apricot takes refuge on the rain barrel

280

Apricot looks down from the rain barrel

290

The Mouse

300

The End