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The Woofits were a series of childrens books written in the 1980s by the British television and radio personality Michael Parkinson, best known for his TV chat shows.

The stories featured the Woofits a family of anthropomorphic dog-like creatures who lived in the fictional Yorkshire coal mining village of Grimeworth (based on the real life Cudworth where Parkinson was born and nearby village of Grimethorpe).

Books

The four original books published in 1980 were

  • The Woofits Day Out
  • The Woofits Play Cricket
  • The Woofits Play Football
  • The Daily Woofit

In addition there were Woofit Annuals for the years 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983.

In some of the annuals the setting for the stories was moved from Grimeworth to Batley in West Yorkshire where the Woofits worked at a woollen mill and were of Scottish origin.

Television

In 1981 Yorkshire Television made two series of Woofits cartoons to be shown on ITV's lunchtime slot for young children based on the original stories and new stories with Michael Parkinson narrating them.

  • Series 1: 6 episodes - 30 April 1981 - 04 June 1981
  • Series 2: 12 episodes -11 February 1982 - 29 April 1982

Characters

The main members of the Woofit family lived in 3 terraced houses along Grimeworth Street, Grimeworth these were -

Number 8

  • Grandpa Ironside and Grandma Emily, the heads of the family

Number 10

Number 12

  • John Willy Woofit, son of Ironside and coal miner and played the trombone in the brass band
  • Lavina, wife of John Willy
  • Elton, son of Lavinia and John Willy, dreamed of being a pop star.
  • Angela, sister of Elton who had ambitions to be a TV newsreader
  • Elton's pet dog Gershwin

Other characters included Baskerville Woofit (editor of the Daily Woofit), Cluff Woofit (manager of the local football team) and local policeman Sargeant Cox.


Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children

Michael Parkinson, and his wife Mary recently paid a visit to their favourite charity in Sydney, Australia, the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC)[1].

Parkinson has a great affection for Australia - and cricket - but many people may not realise his generous regard and support for the Institute. Michael began supporting the Institute during his visits to Australia in the early 1980s.

In 1983, he created a mascot for the Institute known as "Rockie Woofit", an Australian version of his successful UK characters, "The Woofits", which featured in his children's television series and books.

Rockie was an instant hit, and made numerous appearances on behalf of the Institute at public functions.

Although Rockie has now retired from public appearances, his spirit lives on at the Rockie Woofit Preschool - where Michael and Mary met children with hearing impairment, and their teachers.

Michael Parkinson has continued his relationship with the Institute over many years, and remains a very generous supporter of its services.


  1. RIDBC Media Release.

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