Mr Benn Joins Jammy Toast

Posted by Lord Davidd of Birko OBE DASc on
Category: Mr Benn's Adventures24 Comments

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Yesterday we welcomed George Bear to Jammy Toast as our new Sports Correspondent and today we would like to welcome a former star of a television series by the name of Mr Benn. Mr Benn first appeared in several books and a television series originally transmitted by the BBC in 1971 and 1972. Whether in a book, or on television, Mr Benn’s adventures take on a similar pattern. Mr Benn is always very smartly turned out in a black suit and a bowler hat. He leaves his house at 52 Festive Road and visits a fancy-dress costume shop where he is invited by the moustachioed, fez-wearing shopkeeper to try on an outfit. He leaves the shop through a magic door at the back of the changing room and enters a world appropriate to his costume, where he has an adventure. Mr Benn’s adventures always contain a moral.

His adventures always end by the shopkeeper reappearing and leading him back to the changing room, and so the story comes to an end. Mr Benn then returns to his normal life, but is left with a small souvenir of his magical adventure. Additionally, scenes before and after his adventure usually have some connection to his adventure, such as the games the children are playing in the street as he passes.

Several of Mr Benn’s adventures are available to buy in book-form: four were published originally, and further books in the 1990s were based on the television series. The original four books were: Mr Benn – Red Knight, Big Game Benn, 123456789 Benn and Big Top Benn. There were six original books planned, but the fifth and sixth were never published. The fifth was called Mr Benn Rides Again, the story of which was used to make the television episode The Cowboy. The sixth, never completed, was Superbenn, in which the superhero Mr Benn sets out on an environmental adventure.

There is one book for which no corresponding television episode has ever been made. 123456789 Benn was published in 1970 and tells the story of Mr Benn as a prison convict inspiring his jail-mates to brighten up their cells. However, the BBC felt that the story was too mature for a children’s series and was never broadcast.

In 1999, it was reported that a feature film was in development. The film was to star John Hannah as Mr Benn and Ben Kingsley as the Shopkeeper. However, the film was cancelled in 2001 and the project has remained dormant ever since.

Writer David McKee published a new story in 2001, the first Mr Benn story in thirty years, and is called Mr Benn – Gladiator. He has also hinted that he may write more Mr Benn stories in the future but nothing more has been forthcoming.

The series was voted the sixth most popular children’s television programme in the 2001 Channel 4 poll 100 Greatest Kids’ TV shows. It was also rated number 13 in the 50 Greatest Kids TV Shows which aired on Channel 5 in 2013.

Tate Publishing republished all of the original books in 2010.

Mr Benn has decided to join Jammy Toast to tell his own side of his stories rather than having everyone rely on David McKee’s versions. Stay tuned as we welcome Mr Benn to Jammy Toast next month with his first story, The Red Knight.

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About the Author

Lord Davidd of Birko OBE DASc

A sad and lonely old man who used to have a life but it has now been taken over by his dedication to the cause of saving Renault Bears, running Jammy Toast and searching eBay, car boot sales, charity shops, lofts and even under beds for his beloved bears. He has even now taken in Flat Eric to save him from homelessness – his life is no longer his own!

24 Comments on “Mr Benn Joins Jammy Toast”

  1. A great reminder of just how bizarre everyone’s childhood was! What with this and The Magic Roundabout it is a wonder any of us survived without being drugged up junkies!

  2. There is a fancy dress shop in Sheffield called Mr Benn’s. I couldn’t Believe my eyes when I first saw it. Every time I passed it was at night thought but I finally visited the shop during the day and it was great. Didn’t find the little man in a fez though, just two very nice ladies. One of whom, told me she was Mrs Benn.

  3. I was raised watching Mr Benn and now I live in the States, I have introduced him to my kids. Whenever we go on an “adventure” we always bring home what we call “a Mr Benn thing!”

    A beautiful and imaginative kid’s show, such a shame they only made a few!

  4. Okay here is my question. Why is the shopkeeper merely a shopkeeper when he has discovered the secret of time travel and how to access different dimensions? So many questions in this show!

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