Roberta Leigh’s children’s books were the starting point of her most visible period as a filmmaker, starting in the late 1950’s.
Her first book “Twizzle” was published by the British Printing Corporation and this first spin-off was bought for the ITV network.
Two of her subsequent publications – “Sara and Hoppity“, and “Torchy the Battery Boy” – both lead to TV serialization. Her experience and success with these multi-episode TV films were to be the precursors of her highly successful series “Space Patrol” (39 half-hour B&W episodes) and following that various other projects including “Picture the Word” (52 animations for a Fun to Learn series), “Mr Dithers” (13 episodes on Road Safety), “Wonder Boy and Tiger” (13 colour films sponsored by Esso), as well as various pilots for TV (including “Paul Starr” – a now cult pilot, and “Mr Hero” a six minute animation made by George Dunning, the creator of the Beatles’ cartoon ‘The Yellow Submarine’, among others.) In 1996 Virgin bought the video rights for “Space Patrol” which were also released on DVD.
During the active film period, she acquired National Interest Pictures, (N.I.P) and a second film studio in Harlesden. It was here that she created, scripted and produced most of the puppet films for children.
Roberta Leigh partnered and collaborated with many well-known names including Gerry Anderson (later to produce ‘Thunderbirds’) and Arthur Provis.
The Television Series List with external sources and YouTube video examples:
There are several other Twizzle and related clips on YouTube.
There are several other Torchy and related clips on YouTube.
There are several other Space Patrol and related clips on YouTube.
Animated by George Dunning, who was later to direct “The Yellow Submarine” for the Beatles.
Comic Oddities: Wonder – the Esso Comic
BFI Database: Listing as “13 Part children’s puppet series”
Current media/film/tv projects include:
- Doh, Ray and AND-ME (A magic and music adventure series for 4-7 year olds)
- Rimsky, the Disco Tec (Live action juvenile detective series where the music helps Rimsky solve his cases; ages 8 – 14)
- The Adventures of Mr Hero (Humorous live-action/animation series; multiple episodes developed)
- Prince Boris (a very royal dog whose lineage goes back to Princess Nerina, who lived with the Russian Royal Family; 6 episodes developed)