Ivor the Engine
Ivor the Engine is a Children’s TV cartoon which first began
in the 1950’s. It was written by Oliver Postgate, and
illustrated by Peter Firmin.
Oliver Postgate also lent his voice to some of the
characters, and the other characters were voiced by
Anthony Jackson and Olwen Griffiths, with the music
composed by Vernon Elliott.
Initially Ivor the Engine first hit our screens in black and
white, and was the first production of the newly created
'Smallfilms', which was produced for Associated
Initially only 6 episodes were made which told how Ivor got
his whistle. But Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin refused to make anymore, as they said they had
told Ivor’s Story.
Luckily for us, this changed as they expanded on Ivor’s world by writing further stories for the ‘TV
Land’ comic. This lead to 2 further series in black and white, each consisting of 13 episodes.
Ivor the Engine proved so popular that in 1976 ‘most’ of the stories were remade in colour with
new illustrations (how Ivor got his whistle wasn’t remade), so Ivor and friends look slightly
different. This was made possible by Associated Rediffusion giving Oliver and Peter the rights
back to the stories. These colour shows were then repeated many times over the the years.
In 2004 Ivor and Jones the Steam made a brief (new) appearance on our screens, where they
were see promoting the BBC Wales TV channel '2W'.
In 2009, Oliver's son, Dan, continued the story of Ivor and his friends by writing and publishing a
new story called 'Bluebell's Christmas Mission'. It was again illustrated by Peter Firmin and was
created especially to raise money for the charity 'Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad'.
It was thought that many of the Black and White versions of Ivor the Engine had been lost. It was
only after Oliver Postgate’s death, that the original episodes were found by his family (in 2010), in
the old pig shed that Oliver and Peter used to as a studio to created many of their classic shows.
Hopefully they will be re-released in the future for everyone to see.
Ivor is continuing to steam into the future, and even has his own app on iTunes that allows you to
control Jones the Steam and drive Ivor. May he continue to captivate a new generation.
In a sleepy part of Wales (to be precise, the top left corner of Wales),
there is a railway called 'The Merioneth and Llantisilly Rail Traction
In a shed, in a siding, lives the locomotive of 'The Merioneth and
Llantisilly Rail Traction Company Limited', which was a very long name
for a very small engine. So his friends just called him Ivor.
But Ivor is no normal engine, he was special, as this small green railway engine was alive! He
was accompanied on his travels by Jones the Steam, who was Ivor's driver, and who loved him
Everyone who Ivor met treated him as if he was a person, which Ivor liked, as he sometimes
wished he was a real person, so he could play with his friends.
Ivor communicates with others using his 3 tone whistle, but this was not always the case, as he
used to have a small quiet whistle that just peeped. It wasn't very remarkable, but Ivor didn't mind,
that was until he heard the Grumbly and District Choral Society singing whilst he was in a siding.
He thought they sounded wonderful and wanted to join the choir, but his single tone whistle just
wasn’t good enough. So Jones and Dai made it their mission to find him a new whistle. It took a
while to find one, but they eventually came across an old merry-go-round organ, which had pipes
that would take the heat from the steam Ivor produced.
Ivor was then fitted with 3 of the organ pipes and he sounded wonderful. He sounded so good,
that he was welcomed as the newest member of the Grumbly and District Choral Society, their
only steam engine member. They even said that he didn't have to pay to be a member, like the
others members, which was lucky as steam trains rarely carry money of their own.
Ivor the Engine Characters
Ivor the Engine (voiced by Oliver Postgate)
Ivor the Engine is a unique steam engine, that has a life of its own and
who Jones the Steam treats like a son. He likes Jones to think he is in
charge, but it’s Ivor who is really in control. Also Ivor is always getting in
trouble for wandering off and breaking regulations.
For an old steam train, he has a remarkably good memory and can
remember things from many years ago, which is very useful if you have
misplaced something, especially half-crowns for the dragon’s gas meter,
at Smoke Hill.
You always know when Ivor is approaching as he makes a distinct chuffing noise as he goes
along. He communicates with others by using his whistle, which shows whether he is pleased or
not. Plus he uses it when singing in the choir, as he has joined the local choir, as 1st Base.
Once, he took the choir to a choral festival, where they won first prize. On the way back they
stopped at the seaside, where they all had fun in the sea, while Ivor looked on.
Poor Ivor wanted nothing more in the world than to be like everyone else and play with his friends
in the sea. After he returned the choir back to Llaniog, Ivor went off on his own back to the seaside
to look out over the empty beach, where he got upset and cried.
As usual, Dai Station was upset with him for not following regulations, but Jones was more
sympathetic and guessed what the trouble was. So next time the choir went on a trip to the
seaside, they had a surprise for Ivor. They had laid some tracks into the sea for him.
Ivor was overjoyed and he had so much fun splashing in the water with everyone else that he
accidentally put his fire out with the water, and they had to push him out of the sea. It was one of
the best days Ivor had ever had.
There is one thing that Ivor values more than anything, and that is friends. He has many, and one
of his best friends is Bluebell the Donkey. If Ivor ever goes missing, then he is usually with
Another of his friends is Idris the Dragon, who he tried to protect from the antiquarian society, who
they thought would try to capture Idris. He pretended he was a normal train that could not speak,
to give the impression that Jones was quite mad when he tried to prove dragons existed and Ivor
could talk. The ploy worked, and Idris was safe.
He also likes to look after his friends, such as the local birds. He asked for Jones to arrange for
the ventilator tower from the old chapel to be installed next to his shed. You see Ivor wanted to
use it as a bird house, so that he could make his friends happy, which gave him so much
Ivor likes the cold weather and even allows the chickens to warm themselves on him in the winter.
He was especially excited when they fitted a snow plough to him to clear the line and get
provisions through to the village. He really enjoyed charging through the snow drifts. But he was
happier that he rescued the 12 sheep they had come across freezing in the snow.
He loves to play with the children of the village and was happy to winch them to the top of the hill
on their sledges, before watching them race down the snowy hill. The trouble was that he pulled
too many children up the hill at once and was pulled off his rails and subsequently slid down the
Secretly Ivor loved sliding down the hill like the children, but it caused too much trouble getting
him back on the track.
But poor Ivor was so upset when Jones told him that the railway was being sold and that he would
no longer work there and would probably do shunting work at Pontypool Roads and not see all his
friends anymore. It’s no wonder he started to cry.
Luckily for Ivor, Mrs Porty stepped in and bought the railway, allowing for everything to stay the same, and Ivor to continue working with his friends.
Jones the Steam (voiced by Oliver Postgate)
Edwin Jones is Ivor's driver and friend. In the morning, he lights Ivor’s fire, fills up his coal box and checks his water, before
making a pot of tea to ease himself into the day.
He looks after Ivor and talks to him as if he is his son and ensures he is happy, topped up with water and is clean. He can
sense when Ivor is upset and does everything in his power to understand why and rectify the issue.
Jones the steam is very kind and even hid a fox in Mrs Porty's hat box, so that the local hunt didn’t catch her. But he also
likes to have fun and was more than happy to use Ivor’s steam to power Mr Dinwiddy's bubble machine.
On thing to know, Jones isn’t very 's good at lying, so he doesn't even try to. So if you ask him a question, he’ll always give you a straight answer,
even if it gets himself into trouble, like the time he tried to convince Mrs Williams from the antiquarian society that Ivor could speak and that dragons
existed (she didn’t believe him).
Jones gets upset when Ivor makes emergency stops, as he hurts his nose, but Ivor only does this if there is something that he can see, but Jones
cannot. Like the birds nest on the line, or the goldfish in the water tower.
Ivor joined the circus for a number of weeks and Jones was very sad to see him go. He arranged for a replacement, which was made by Bynon Smith,
but it constantly broke down and Jones kept talking to it like it was alive, like Ivor, the silly man.
When Ivor returned from the circus, he was overjoyed. Even Ivor was happy to be back, he had missed Jones and his friends.
Now Jones knows that he should stick to the railway’s regulations, but he does seem to go out of his way to break them. He allows Ivor to pull Bluebell
the donkey in her own cart, has dragons in Ivor’s boiler and has even left all the goods Ivor was carrying in the snow, so that he could rescue some
sheep who were freezing to death.
So as you can see, he cares about everything. But this can lead to problems, especially when the whole town is waiting for provisions during the
snow. They didn’t look too happy when Jones arrived with only sheep aboard. They did understand when he explained the situation.
At the end of each day, Jones clears out Ivor’s fire, and settles him down for the night in his own little shed.
Dai Station (voiced by Anthony Jackson)
He is the rather grumpy station master of Llaniog Station. He is a stickler for rules and regulations, and can been seen
checking his rule book regularly. But he can take them too far.
Such as the time when he told Jones the Steam that Idris (the dragon) was classed as livestock and would have to travel in
the poper container, a wooden box, on the railway. Of course the box caught fire and so Dai Station tried to throw water over
Idris, which could kill a fiery dragon.
But his gruff exterior cracked when he became emotionally attached to a lamb that had been abandoned by its mother. He
looked after it, fed it, but it grew into a large ram that kept butting things at the station. So, tearfully, he had to let it go back into the flock with the other
sheep. He even gave Bluebell a lifetime ticket to ride for helping him once, which is quite out of character for him.
One thing that really upsets Dai is when Ivor goes off on his own. He gets rather animated quoting regulations and saying that engines aren’t
supposed to do what they want and instead should be working. Normally Jones calms him down and points out that Ivor didn’t have anything to do
and probably has gone to see one of his friends. Which makes him grumble a little bit more.
In his spare time he likes to fish and relax by the river. Even Jones will join him, not for fishing, but relaxing.
When Mr Dinwiddy put forward the idea of buying the railway with his gold, it was Dai that cautioned against it, as he could see others arriving to find
gold in the hills, starting a gold rush and spoiling the landscape. They all agreed that this wasn’t the way to save the railway.
Mrs Porty (voiced by Olwen Griffiths)
Mrs Porty is a very rich lady, who would be classed as an English eccentric. She has a vivid imagination, especially when
Ivor goes missing (Engine kidnappers etc). She even describes herself as very rich and very silly.
She lives in a huge house beside the railway line (must be noisy at night) and to get around she has Bluebell, her donkey,
pull her around in a cart.
She loves wearing strange huge hats, which are sent from London. But she wasn't pleased when she saw Jones the Steam
wearing her latest hat he was delivering. She was more understanding when Jones explained that he had used the hat box
to hide Mrs Fox in it, from the Fox Hunt, so had to wear the hat.
At one stage, Mrs Porty even wore a telescope cover on her head thinking it was her new hat from London. This was a due to her picking up the
wrong parcel at the station during the evening. Professor Longfellow wasn’t amused at the new use of it.
Once, Ivor wouldn't fill up with water at the water tower, which upset Jones and Dai. The reason for this was because Mrs Porty had put her goldfish in
there while she had her lilly pond cleaned. Both men were quite speechless.
When the railway was threatened and Ivor and Bluebell were told that they would no longer be travelling together on the railway, they both got really
upset. It was only then that Mrs Porty had the idea of using her vast wealth to buy the railway and ensure it would keep running exactly as it was and
continue to service the local community.
Once Mrs Porty has idea, she is determined to follow it through, so off she marched to see Mr Williams, the owner of the Railway. She quite forcefully
told him she was going to buy the whole of the railway, lock stock and barrel. She produced her cheque book and wrote out a cheque for a
considerable amount of money and bought it there and then. The railway was preserved and everyone was happy, especially Ivor and Bluebell.
Bluebell is Mrs Porty’s donkey and is one of Ivor's best friends. In Ivor’s spare time, they can be seen together just hanging
out with each other, enjoying each other’s company.
You have to be careful what you ask Bluebell to do, as she will follow it to the letter. Such as the time Jones told Bluebell to
hold a bucket for him while cleaning Ivor. The trouble was that Jones and Ivor were called away on business, but Bluebell
was still holding the bucket and chased after them for miles and miles.
When she caught up with them, she was totally exhausted, plus Jones felt guilty for asking her to hold the bucket. There
was no way Bluebell would make it back, so Mr Dinwiddy found an old freight carriage, which they put some straw on for Bluebell to lie on, to make
into a donkey carriage. Ivor loved to pull his friend around the railway in her own carriage, but as you can imagine, Dai was not pleased, as it is not an
appropriate use of railway resources.
But Jones upset Bluebell when he said that she looked wise, but wasn't really useful for anything. Even the Major said something similar. So when
Ivor got stuck and the crane trying to pull him out toppled over, followed by the fire engine getting stuck, then Bluebell was off like a shot. Jones and
the Major had to eat their words when she brought back Bani and his elephants to help get everything back to normal.
Dai was so grateful for the help Bluebell had been, that he said that she would always have a ticket to ride on the railway, and so had no problem with
Ivor pulling her around on her donkey carriage. Bluebell has consistently helped out whenever anyone has been in trouble and no one calls her
Idris the Dragon (voiced by Olwen Griffiths)
Idris was discovered by Jones the Steam in the dormant volcano (Smoke Hill), as an egg. He didn't know what it was initially
and used some tongs to remove it and put it in Ivor's fire box.
Only later, while the choral society was singing did anyone notice Idris. A voice came from within Ivor’s boiler, that sang
along with the song, and out of his funnel popped a very small flaming hot Heraldic Welsh Dragon. Idris loves to sing and
his favourite song is ‘Land of my fathers’.
As you can imagine, being a hot dragon, he doesn't like the cold, so when he’s not at Smoke Hill, he likes to travel around in
Ivor's boiler or visit the oven at the local Bakers. But he ensures he stays away from water, as it is certain death for dragons (it’s too cold for them).
Idris didn't hang about and teamed up with a female Dragon called Olwen, who then became the proud parent of the twins Gaian and Blodwen. They
are quite private creatures, so when Idris found out that the Antiquarian Society were looking for proof of dragons, he ran away back to smoke hill and
hid. He didn’t like the idea of being discovered and put in a Zoo.
But disaster struck when the Smoke Hill volcano started to go out. Luckily Jones was able to prove that the dragons existed to the Antiquarian Society
and they arranged for a gas meter to be installed to keep Smoke Hill hot for the dragons. It was lovely and hot, but after a while an new issue arose.
The gas meter only took half crowns, which were coins that had been taken out of general circulation. With the help from Ivor, the last half crowns in
the village were found to power the meter.
But in the meantime the Antiquarian Society seem to have changed their priorities and were reluctant to help the dragons, as they were trying to cut
costs. But when the dragons attacked a statue of Saint George (as it was depicting him killing a dragon), the Antiquarian Society branded them as a
menace that should be caged and sent to the local Zoo.
Luckily for Idris and his family, Mr Dinwiddy found a hot underground cave where they could live. It was lovely and hot for them and only a few people
knew where they had gone, so giving the Antiquarian Society the slip. The only down side was that Idris and his family were rarely seen above ground
Mr Dinwiddy (voiced by Anthony Jackson)
Mr Dinwiddy is an old prospector who has struck it rich, when mining for Gold. You thought he'd be happy because of this,
but all he sees is that he digs the gold out of the ground, then puts it underground in a bank.
So he gets his fun via unusual means, such as the challenge of creating the perfect bubble. Underground he built a machine
that manually creates bubbles and then releases them into the air.
Dai Station thought they had been invaded by little flying aliens, but on further inspection found Mr Dinwiddy and his
machine. Jones the steam connected the machine to Ivor's boiler, who then powered the machine to create loads of
bubbles. Mr Dinwiddy really enjoyed himself.
Every year he bakes Ivor a Birthday Cake. It's not a normal cake, but instead its one that is put in Ivor's boiler, which then shoots fireworks out of his
funnel. Everyone comes to see this lovely show.
Evans the Song (voiced by Anthony Jackson)
Evan Evans is the Choir Master of The Grumbley and District Choral Society. He was very happy that Ivor and Idris joined
their ranks, as there are not many Choirs who have a steam engine or a dragon as members.
He encourages his Choir to develop and shows off their talents via competitions. When they won one of them, Evans
ensured Ivor wore the prize, a Silver Wreath, which he put around his funnel.
Evans also arranges days out for the choir, such as a trip to the seaside. Ivor takes them, who stands there wishing he
could play in the sea with them. Which is why Jones and Evans put their heads together to arrange for Ivor to come and
play in the sea with them next time. As you can imagine, Ivor was one happy engine.
When the Antiquarian Society were investigating reports of dragons, Evans asked everyone to deny all knowledge of them, as he suspected they
might want to take them away for further study. Everyone, including Ivor, followed his instructions, apart from Jones, who cannot tell a lie. Luckily for
them, the Antiquarian Society didn’t believe a word Jones said to them.
Evans can also be quite nosey at times and when investigating what Ivor was carrying, accidentally let the Pigeons out of the basket. He eventually
tracked them down, but could not get them off Miss Price's roof. Luckily for Evans, Ivor is very good with pigeons, who tooted his whistle and got them
Mrs Griffiths (voiced by Olwen Griffiths)
She is the chairman of the Antiquarian Society, who came to investigate the reports of a flying Dragon. Idris wasn't happy
about being 'discovered' and hid away. But when she talked to Jones the Steam about Dragons, he told her everything
about Idris and asked Ivor to confirm what he'd said.
Ivor didn't respond, after repeated tries, so Mrs Griffiths thought Jones the Steam was quite mad, and that his stories of
dragons was a figment of his imagination. Therefore she left quite quickly to get away from him.
Later, when the Smoke Hill started to go cold and endanger the lives of the dragons, Jones sought her help. She wasn’t too
pleased to see him, as she still thought he was quite mad. Luckily he had Idris with him and Ivor at last talked.
When she saw Idris, she was overcome with joy as she has waited to meet a dragon all her life. Jones explained the predicament about Smoke Hill
going cold, so she leaped into action and arranged for the Antiquarian Society to install a coin operated gas meter. It piped gas into Smoke Hill, which
kept it nice and warm for the dragons.
But Mrs Griffiths can be a bit narrow minded and her priorities change. So when Jones told her that the gas meter for the volcano was not accepting
legal tender, she told him that their was an effort by everyone to save fuel and that the Antiquarian Society would debate whether the maintenance of
a volcano, powered by gas, was an economic use of natural resources.
But when she saw the dragons attack a statue of St George (as they thought it was killing a dragon), she shrieked at the top of her voice how horrible
they were, and that they were a risk to life and property. Immediately she made the decision that they would no longer maintain the gas meter for
these dangerous creatures, who would now be caged and housed at the national museum in Rhonda.
Even when Mrs Griffith was told that no real damage had been made to the statue, she followed up her threat to capture the dragons. Luckily the
dragons had fled Smoke Hill and moved to a secret location. So a word of warning, be careful not to upset Mrs Griffiths, otherwise you could be in
Mr Hughes (voiced by Anthony Jackson)
Mr Hughes works at the Grumbly Gas Works and is an animal lover who likes to keeps budgies. With this in mind, Jones the
Steam took an injured baby elephant (Alice) straight to him for help.
Initially Mr Hughes was reluctant to help, as he knew nothing about elephants, but on seeing Alice she melted his heart and
he made her feel very welcome.
So while Jones was trying to find out where she had come from, Mr Hughes was making Alice comfortable, making her a
bed from old sacks, putting up a canvas screen to keep the weather off her and fetching stale loaves from the baker for her
to eat. He even set up a gas fire to keep her warm and used an old sheet to bandage her foot (isn’t he nice).
Bani Moukerjee (voiced by Oliver Postgate)
Bani Moukerjee is the elephant trainer at Charlie Banger’s Circus and who looks after the elephants called Horace, Mary,
George, Margaret, Clarance, and the youngest Alice. He can be quite strict with the elephants, but he loves them dearly and
to relax, he likes to play is pipe.
But he certainly didn’t relax when Alice, wandered off. He looked everywhere for her and was getting worried that something
bad could have happened. Luckily he saw Jones the Steam and Ivor zoom past with a boot that was big enough for Alice,
so he flagged then down and found out that Alice had injured her foot.
When he was reunited with Alice, he was very angry with her for running away and he couldn’t believe that she had been resisting efforts of the others
to help her. So he ordered her to take her pills and allow them to bathe her foot.
Alice (voiced by Oliver Postgate)
Alice is a baby elephant, that certainly has a mind of her own. She likes to wander off from Charlie Banger's Circus, much
to the dismay of her keeper Bani Moukerjee.
Once, she was found by Jones the Steam and Ivor in quite some distress. It seems that she had hurt her foot and was
getting in a state but wouldn’t show them her foot. Luckily they found Bani (her keeper), who instructed her to show her foot
to them, and it was bathed and dressed and a boot fitted to protect it.
Alice has even entered a Sheep Dog Trial (there was nothing in the rules to stop her). But Bani didn’t think it was dignified
for an elephant to enter a sheep dog trial.
Initially she scared the sheep over the hill, but eventually she got around them and hearded them back and though all the gates. It was amazing, and
the judges thought so too, and awarded her 1st prize. What a clever elephant she is.
Ivor the Engine Images
(click to enlarge)
Ivor the Engine
Ivor the Engine Video Intro
Ivor the Engine Episodes
Series 1 (1959) Black & White
1. Episode 1
2. Episode 2
3. Episode 3
4. Episode 4
5. Episode 5
6. Episode 6
Series 2 (1962) Black & White
1. Episode 1
2. Episode 2
3. Episode 3
4. Episode 4
5. Episode 5
6. Episode 6
7. Episode 7
8. Episode 8
9. Episode 9
10. Episode 10
11. Episode 11
12. Episode 12
13. Episode 13
Series 3 (1963) Black & White
1. Episode 1
2. Episode 2
3. Episode 3
4. Episode 4
5. Episode 5
6. Episode 6
7. Episode 7
8. Episode 8
9. Episode 9
10. Episode 10
11. Episode 11
12. Episode 12
13. Episode 13
Series 4 (1976) Colour
1. The Railway
2. The Egg
3. The Proper Container
4. The Alarm
5. The Retreat
6. The Hat
7. Old Nell
8. Mr Brangwyn's Pigeons
9. The Visitor
10. The Invalid
11. The Boot
12. Banger's Circus
13. Unidentified Objects
14. Mrs Porty's Foxes
16. Dai and the Donkey
18. Mrs Porty
20. The Endowment
Series 5 (1982) Colour
2. Cold Sheep
3. The Fire Engine
5. The Rescue
6. The Water Tower
7. Mrs Bird
8. The Cuckoo-clock
9. The Trumpet
10. Time Off
11. The Seaside
12. The Lost Engine
13. The Outing
15. Sheep Herding
17. The Bird House
19. St. George
Ivor the Engine DVDs
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