Mortimer and Arabel

Mortimer and Arabel is a BBC puppet comedy-drama series based on the book series of the same name by Joan Aiken (1924-2004) that was aired on BBC One as part of the Children's BBC strand (as it was known before October 4, 1997) from November 15, 1993 to December 21, 1994. Some of the original books, which were illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake, had also first been seen as a part of the BBC's Jackanory programmes. The stories are about a four-year-old girl named Arabel Jones who adopts an injured raven that her Dad, a cab driver named Ebenezer Jones, brings home after finding him injured in the road and christens "Mortimer", but his only communication is to squawk "Nevermore!" when upset. The Jones family live at 6 Rainwater Crescent in Rumbury Town, London NW3½ where most of their neighbours, including Mr. Coughtrack, Mr. and Mrs. Hamstring and especially grumpy old Mr. Leggitt, cannot stand Mortimer due to all the chaos he causes, and it is always up to Arabel to keep Mortimer out of trouble, although he frequently causes chaotic upsets with his mischievous behaviour. A total of thirty-six fifteen-minute episodes were produced over four serials of varying length in two series.

Mortimer and Arabel
GenrePuppet comedy-drama
Based onArabel's Raven by Joan Aiken
Written byJoan Aiken
Lizza Aiken
Directed byRoger Singleton-Turner
Vivienne Cozens
StarringMichael Bayliss
Martin Bridle
Richard Coombs
Peter Forbes
Barnaby Harrison
Ronnie Le Drew
Christopher Leith
Rebecca Nagan
Angie Passmore
Marie Phillips
Paul Rainbow
Rachel Riggs
Gillie Robic
Tim Rose
Heather Tobias
Mark Alexander Todd
Victoria Willing
Francis Wright
ComposerPaul Reade
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes36
ProducerAngela Beeching
Running time15 minutes
Original networkBBC One
Picture format4:3
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseNovember 15, 1993 (1993-11-15) –
December 21, 1994 (1994-12-21)

Other characters include Arabel's Mum Martha Jones, Mr. Leggitt's accomplices Bill and Joe, Mayor Saddlejoy and his wife, the Town Hall's secretary Doreen, Sergeant (later Mayor, after Saddlejoy retired from his position at the end of the first series) Cutlink, P.C. Barnoff, Arabel's babysitter Chris Cross (who was the only one of the Joneses' neighbours to also have a fondness for Mortimer), Mr. Leggitt's pet pigeon Pianono, a Scottish odd-job woman named Flo (known as "Have-A-Go Flo" and "In-The-Know Flo" by Mr. Leggitt's accomplices and "Odd-Job Flo" by Ebenezer), an Indian singer named Seleena, a Greek Professor from the island of Pollyargos, an American millionaire named Mr. Bonny, the Duchess of Skew, a farmer named Mr. Westropp, a herd of Jersey cows named Daisy, Lazy and Maisie, Ebenezer's Mum Granny Jones, Granny Jones's pet cat Augustus, Ebenezer's evil cousin Perce Jones, and a ghost named Sir Humphrey Burbage who haunted Mallards' Bank (a parody of Lloyds Bank, which was managed by a man named Mr. Sterrett and his assistant Miss Gracie, and cleaned by a woman named Mrs. Catchpenny) every night at Christmas until Mortimer and Arabel returned his gold, which he had hidden behind a loose brick with an "H" on in the Tower of London (where he was a prisoner during the day) while he was alive, but he died owing Mallards' Bank a considerable debt.

Series 1: Mortimer's Pocket (1993)Edit

The first series was originally shown on BBC One on Mondays at 4:15 pm and Wednesdays at 4:20 pm between November 15 and December 22, 1993. This series was also released on VHS (BBCV 5249) under the same name as the show itself on April 5, 1994, but it is now out of print. However, both series were rereleased for download on the BBC Store in 2016 (with the second divided into its three respective parts).

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
11"Part One"November 15, 1993 (1993-11-15)[1]
Arabel prepares a tea party for Mortimer and her father takes them to the playground.
22"Part Two"November 17, 1993 (1993-11-17)[2]
After Mrs. Jones makes jam and leaves Mortimer unattended, he causes mayhem in the kitchen.
33"Part Three"November 22, 1993 (1993-11-22)[3]
Bill and Joe hide the computer tapes.
44"Part Four"November 24, 1993 (1993-11-24)[4]
Mrs. Jones faints, and while Arabel makes her tea, Mortimer burns his feathers on the hob. Mrs. Jones is worried about her husband's whereabouts, thinking he has been kidnapped.
55"Part Five"November 29, 1993 (1993-11-29)[5]
Mortimer struggles with a burglar, and eats Mr. Jones's watch. Bill and Joe find a use for pogo sticks.
66"Part Six"December 1, 1993 (1993-12-01)[6]
The Joneses' neighbours are up in arms about the damage done to their gardens. Mr. Leggitt suggests that Mortimer may be to blame.
77"Part Seven"December 6, 1993 (1993-12-06)[7]
The Joneses decide what to do about the pirate at their door.
88"Part Eight"December 8, 1993 (1993-12-08)[8]
Mortimer is taken to the Town Hall for questioning after releasing some dogs and swallowing a tape. Arabel hears on the radio that Mortimer is at the police station.
99"Part Nine"December 13, 1993 (1993-12-13)[9]
Mortimer needs an X-ray, but manages to give Arabel the slip.
1010"Part Ten"December 15, 1993 (1993-12-15)[10]
A sulking Mortimer heads into action to investigate the tapes.
1111"Part Eleven"December 20, 1993 (1993-12-20)[11]
Sergeant Cutlink still thinks Mortimer has eaten the computer tape.
1212"Part Twelve"December 22, 1993 (1993-12-22)[12]
Arabel has lost her voice. Mrs. Jones wins the garden decorating competition by hanging tea cosies on bushes. Mortimer finds the master tape and the Joneses get the reward.

Series 2 Part 1: Mortimer's Mine (October–November 1994)Edit

The first part of the second series was originally shown on both Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:20 pm between October 3 and November 9, 1994.

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
131"Part One"October 3, 1994 (1994-10-03)[13]
The Joneses have problems. Mr. Jones is poorly and the garden has a huge hole in it.
142"Part Two"October 5, 1994 (1994-10-05)[14]
Mayor Cutlink receives news of a gift from Pollyargos. Meanwhile, Mortimer finds some dough for the hole.
153"Part Three"October 10, 1994 (1994-10-10)[15]
Mortimer meets Seleena, a singer from India, and disposes of a telephone box, whilst Mrs. Jones gets a job at the Town Hall.
164"Part Four"October 12, 1994 (1994-10-12)[16]
Mortimer finds some carpet and meets the Professor from Pollyargos, and Mayor Cutlink meets Mr. Bonny, a millionaire.
175"Part Five"October 17, 1994 (1994-10-17)[17]
The present from Pollyargos is a problem to parents in the park, and Mrs. Jones has problems with cacti.
186"Part Six"October 19, 1994 (1994-10-19)[18]
A large crack has developed in the Joneses' fireplace because the hole in the garden is growing, in spite of Mortimer's efforts.
197"Part Seven"October 24, 1994 (1994-10-24)[19]
Bill and Joe audition for the song contest, and Mr. Leggitt gives them and Mortimer a surprise.
208"Part Eight"October 26, 1994 (1994-10-26)[20]
Mr. Bonny decides to buy Tower Heights, in spite of the bats. Mortimer is keen to practise hitting the Professor's sculpture.
219"Part Nine"October 31, 1994 (1994-10-31)[21]
Mrs. Jones has a bad day; Mortimer ruins her hat, then she finds out that Mr. Leggitt has escaped.
2210"Part Ten"November 2, 1994 (1994-11-02)[22]
Mortimer has a ride in Mr. Bonny's van and goes to the top of Tower Heights.
2311"Part Eleven"November 7, 1994 (1994-11-07)[23]
Preparations for the song contest and Mr. Bonny's stunt with Tower Heights are underway. Arabel is convinced that Mortimer knows what has happened to Mr. Jones's taxi.
2412"Part Twelve"November 9, 1994 (1994-11-09)[24]
It is the big day for Mortimer and Arabel, but unexpected things happen when Seleena hits the high notes and Mortimer hits Pianono, Mr. Leggitt's pigeon.

Series 2 Part 2: May Day in Rumbury (November 1994)Edit

The second series' second third was originally shown on Mondays at 4:00 pm and Wednesdays at 3:55 pm from November 14 to November 30, 1994.

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
2513"May Day in Rumbury: Part One"November 14, 1994 (1994-11-14)[25]
Mayor Cutlink asks the Duchess of Skew how to arrange a traditional May Day Show.
2614"May Day in Rumbury: Part Two"November 16, 1994 (1994-11-16)[26]
Mr. Jones takes a herd of cows through the house and is found tidying up when Granny Jones makes a visit. Meanwhile, Mortimer builds a nest with his umbrella collection.
2715"May Day in Rumbury: Part Three"November 21, 1994 (1994-11-21)[27]
Granny Jones arrives early in Rumbury. Mayor Cutlink takes her to the Town Hall and tells her she is to be May Queen.
2816"May Day in Rumbury: Part Four"November 23, 1994 (1994-11-23)[28]
Granny Jones is having dreams and searches the books for a remedy.
2917"May Day in Rumbury: Part Five"November 28, 1994 (1994-11-28)[29]
May Day celebrations continue in Rumbury.
3018"May Day in Rumbury: Part Six"November 30, 1994 (1994-11-30)[30]
It is May Day in Rumbury, and the Duchess of Skew's Queen Anne brooch is missing.

Series 2 Part 3: The Bank Ghost (December 1994)Edit

The second series' final third was, again, shown on Mondays at 4:00 pm and Wednesdays at 3:55 pm, between December 5 and December 21, 1994.

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
3119"The Bank Ghost: Part One"December 5, 1994 (1994-12-05)[31]
Mortimer is tired because he has been up all night guarding the Duke of Rumbury's ring and has shut Augustus, Granny Jones's cat, in a cupboard.
3220"The Bank Ghost: Part Two"December 7, 1994 (1994-12-07)[32]
Granny Jones does some Christmas baking, and Arabel and Mortimer make Christmas decorations for Mallards' Bank.
3321"The Bank Ghost: Part Three"December 12, 1994 (1994-12-12)[33]
The Duke of Rumbury's ring mysteriously disappears from Mallards' Bank.
3422"The Bank Ghost: Part Four"December 14, 1994 (1994-12-14)[34]
Mortimer is on night watch, trying to spot the ghost of Sir Humphrey Burbage.
3523"The Bank Ghost: Part Five"December 19, 1994 (1994-12-19)[35]
Mortimer and Arabel find Sir Humphrey Burbage's gold at the Tower of London.
3624"The Bank Ghost: Part Six"December 21, 1994 (1994-12-21)[36]
Mortimer chases Mr. Leggitt and Cousin Perce Jones from Mallards' Bank. The ghost of Sir Humphrey Burbage leaves a farewell present for Mortimer and Arabel in the bank.


  1. ^ BBC One London - 15 November 1993 - BBC Genome
  2. ^ BBC One London - 17 November 1993 - BBC Genome
  3. ^ BBC One London - 22 November 1993 - BBC Genome
  4. ^ BBC One London - 24 November 1993 - BBC Genome
  5. ^ BBC One London - 29 November 1993 - BBC Genome
  6. ^ BBC One London - 1 December 1993 - BBC Genome
  7. ^ BBC One London - 6 December 1993 - BBC Genome
  8. ^ BBC One London - 8 December 1993 - BBC Genome
  9. ^ BBC One London - 13 December 1993 - BBC Genome
  10. ^ BBC One London - 15 December 1993 - BBC Genome
  11. ^ BBC One London - 20 December 1993 - BBC Genome
  12. ^ BBC One London - 22 December 1993 - BBC Genome
  13. ^ BBC One London - 3 October 1994 - BBC Genome
  14. ^ BBC One London - 5 October 1994 - BBC Genome
  15. ^ BBC One London - 10 October 1994 - BBC Genome
  16. ^ BBC One London - 12 October 1994 - BBC Genome
  17. ^ BBC One London - 17 October 1994 - BBC Genome
  18. ^ BBC One London - 19 October 1994 - BBC Genome
  19. ^ BBC One London - 24 October 1994 - BBC Genome
  20. ^ BBC One London - 26 October 1994 - BBC Genome
  21. ^ BBC One London - 31 October 1994 - BBC Genome
  22. ^ BBC One London - 2 November 1994 - BBC Genome
  23. ^ BBC One London - 7 November 1994 - BBC Genome
  24. ^ BBC One London - 9 November 1994 - BBC Genome
  25. ^ BBC One London - 14 November 1994 - BBC Genome
  26. ^ BBC One London - 16 November 1994 - BBC Genome
  27. ^ BBC One London - 21 November 1994 - BBC Genome
  28. ^ BBC One London - 23 November 1994 - BBC Genome
  29. ^ BBC One London - 28 November 1994 - BBC Genome
  30. ^ BBC One London - 30 November 1994 - BBC Genome
  31. ^ BBC One London - 5 December 1994 - BBC Genome
  32. ^ BBC One London - 7 December 1994 - BBC Genome
  33. ^ BBC One London - 12 December 1994 - BBC Genome
  34. ^ BBC One London - 14 December 1994 - BBC Genome
  35. ^ BBC One London - 19 December 1994 - BBC Genome
  36. ^ BBC One London - 21 December 1994 - BBC Genome

External linksEdit