Shropshire Star

Mike Batt: No regrets over The Wombles’ musical legacy

The musician behind the novelty group’s hit songs said he still feels affection for the furry characters.

Orinoco of The Wombles performs on the Avalon Stage at the Glastonbury Festival in 2011

The musician behind the songs of The Wombles has said he “couldn’t possibly” regret creating hits such as Remember You’re A Womble.

Marking 50 years of the novelty group, singer-songwriter Mike Batt, who also wrote the Art Garfunkel hit Bright Eyes, said he still looks back fondly on the heyday of the eco-conscious furry residents of Wimbledon Common in the 1970s.

He told ITV’s This Morning: “When people ask me in interviews, do you ever regret The Wombles, because you wrote Bright Eyes and all this serious stuff, I say no, I couldn’t possibly.

“My mum made the costumes, the amount of joy that we got.

SHOWBIZ Wombles/Parade file 2
Mike Batt with The Wombles (PA)

“It was just such a lot of fun and we had three records in the chart at the same time, which happened exactly 50 years ago.

“We knew at the time it was special because it was the first time since The Beatles had done it.”

The novelty pop group featured musicians including Batt dressed as the characters from the TV show The Wombles, which was based on the children’s books by Elisabeth Beresford.

They had hit albums including Wombling Songs, Remember You’re A Womble, and Keep On Wombling, which all went gold in the UK album charts.

Glastonbury Festival 2011 – Sunday
The Wombles performing on the Avalon Stage at the Glastonbury Festival in 2011 (Yui Mok/PA)

Recalling how it came about, he said: “I got a job to write music for The Wombles (the TV series), which was puppets, and I said ‘Why don’t I write a song for you?’ and they said that is a good idea, but I couldn’t get the attention of my record company, who thought it was a side project, so I rang up my mum and said ‘Could you make me a Womble costume?’

“That is how it all started and suddenly I had a hit as a Womble.”

Explaining why he negotiated to keep the rights to perform as the Wombles, rather than take a fee, he said: “I could have done with that £200 but I said give me the character rights for musical purposes, not everything, not the books or underlying character rights, just the rights for entertainment.

“That is how we had the hit and the pop group. My mum made some more costumes and that is how it went.”

The Wombles reunited to perform at the Glastonbury Festival in 2011.

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