|Ivor the Engine is a children's animation by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin's Smallfilms company. It is a
children's television series relating the adventures of a small green locomotive
who lived in the "top left-hand corner of Wales" and worked for the Merioneth and Llantisilly Railway
Traction Company Limited. His friends included Jones the Steam, Evans the Song
and Dai Station, among many other characters.
Ivor the Engine was Smallfilms' first production, and drew inspiration
from Postgate's World War 2 encounter with Welshman Denzyl Ellis, a former railway locomotive fireman with the Royal Scot train, who
described how steam
engines came to life when you spent time steaming them up in the morning.
Postgate decided to relocate the story to Wales, as it was more inspirational than the flat terrain
of the English
Midlands, and the
story lines drew heavily on, and were influenced by, the works of Dylan Thomas.
The locomotive of the Merioneth and Llantisilly Rail Traction Company
Limited. Unlike most steam locomotives, Ivor had a mind of his own.
He could drive himself and, using his whistle, could speak. His fondest dream
was to sing with the Grumbley and District Choral Society, a dream that was
realised when his whistle was replaced with three pipes from an old Fairground Organ. He
became first bass of the choir, as well as providing them with a means of
getting from place to place.
Ivor enjoys doing all sorts of things that people do. As well as singing in
the choir, he likes visiting the seaside, making tea from his boiler and
spending time with his friends. He is fond of animals, and has several of them
among his friends. He can be wilful and disobedient at times, and it is not
unknown for him to go and do his own thing when he should be working. He
dislikes shunting and timetables.
- Jones the Steam
Edwin Jones is Ivor's driver. He is a cheerful and kind-hearted man who
perhaps sympathises more than most railway staff with Ivor's idiosyncrasies.
Postgate and Firmin describe him as "an ordinary engine driver who is there to
cope with whatever needs to be coped with". People who are new to the area find
him rather eccentric for talking to his engine.
When not driving Ivor or helping the engine with his latest flight of fancy,
he enjoys fishing and day-dreaming.
- Dai Station
Station master at Llaniog. He is a stickler for the regulations of the
railway, but sometimes bends the rules to help his friends. His life is made a
little difficult by the fact that Ivor really doesn't care much for regulations
at all. Although he is often gloomy, he is a good person at heart.
- Owen the Signal
Owen the Signal inhabits a signal box near Ivor's shed and makes an
occasional cameo appearance in the episodes.
- Evans the Song
Evan Evans is the portly choirmaster of the Grumbley and District Choral
Society, and Jones the Steam's brother-in-law.
- Mrs Porty
A rich eccentric who enjoys the occasional glass of port and has new hats
sent from London every week. She is also
technically the owner of the railway, having bought it when the line was
threatened with nationalisation. However, she does not bother much with the
day-to-day running, and things remained much the same after she bought it.
- Mr Dinwiddy
A very odd, possibly insane miner who lives in the hills and digs for gold.
He enjoys explosions and mining. In fact, his mountain is full of gold, but as
soon as he digs it up, he puts it back again. He often has need of new
He is something of an amateur scientist. He describes himself as "educated"
and knows "something about rock". He has constructed a few odd devices,
including a donkey carriage and a bubble-blowing machine.
- Bani Moukerjee
An elephant keeper from India, who works for Charlie Banger's Circus.
He is in charge of the elephants Alice, George, Margaret and Clarence, who all
obey him without question.
- Idris the Dragon
A small, red heraldic dragon who also sang in the choir for a
time. He lived with his wife Olwen, and their twins Gaian and Blodwyn in the
extinct volcano, Smoke Hill, and was
hatched from an egg in Ivor's fire. As well as singing, he once proved useful by
cooking fish and chips
for the choir using his fiery breath.
Unfortunately, he ran into trouble when Smoke Hill went cold - he needed to
be kept hot in order to survive. The gas board provided a temporary furnace, but
when that became too expensive (and decimalisation rendered the slot machine
inoperable), the only other option for the dragons was a heated cage. Luckily,
Mr Dinwiddy was able to provide a solution, and they now live in a
geothermally-heated cave under the ground.
- Alice the Elephant
A circus elephant with Charlie Banger's Circus. She is normally placid, but
does not like taking medicine. When Ivor met her, she had escaped and was asleep
on the track. Since then they have become friends. She and her elephant friends
were able to help Ivor when he got stuck in the snow.
- Bluebell the Donkey
A donkey who lives at Mrs Porty's house. She cannot talk, but she and
Ivor just enjoy sitting around together. As the Merioneth and Llantisilly
Rail Traction Company Limited has only one locomotive (apart from the short
service of Juggernaut), Bluebell is sometimes called upon to provide
motive power. Examples include the towing by chain of the broken down locomotive
Juggernaut and also the pulling of Mrs Porty's donkey cart when this was
temporarily set on the railway tracks to pursue 'robbers' when Ivor had
been 'stolen' in the episode The Lost Engine; in this latter case, like a
locomotive, Bluebell strictly observed the railway signals, halting the chase
until Owen the Signal had raised the signal arm.
- Morgan the Roundabout
Mr Morgan is the fairground owner. He gave Ivor some pipes from the steam
organ on his roundabout, so that Ivor could sing in the choir. He only appeared
in the very first black and white series.
Juggernaut was a diesel railway engine made out of bits and bots, resembling
a road lorry on flanged wheels. Juggernaut fell into the lake soon after
starting service, nearly killing Idris.
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- The Railway
- The Egg
- The Proper Container
- The Alarm
- The Retreat
- The Hat
- Old Nell
- Mr Brangwyn's Pigeons
- The Visitor
- The Invalid
- The Boot
- Banger's Circus
- Unidentified Objects
- Mrs Porty's Foxes
- Dai and the Donkey
- Mrs Porty
- The Endowment
- Cold Sheep
- The Fire Engine
- The Rescue
- The Water Tower
- Mrs Bird
- The Cuckoo-clock
- The Trumpet
- Time Off
- The Seaside
- The Lost Engine
- The Outing
- Sheep Herding
- The Bird House
- St. George