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VINE VOICEon 26 June 2009
Childhood has a funny habit of playing tricks on the adult mind. Mars Bars and Wagon Wheels were always bigger, it never rained in the summer holidays and the TV was so much better. As one gets older of course, the realisation dawns that summers were not constantly bathed in sun (except maybe 1976) and that the sweets weren't as big as you recalled (and even smaller now).

Some things don't change, however, and this is one of them. The DVD contains the 24 colour episodes that Oliver Postgate's Smallfilms made in the 1970's and were shown on the BBC, usually around 5.30 just before the news in the spot The Magic Roundabout had on occasion. There aren't any extras, or the original black and white episodes. To be honest there is no need for them.

The animation is simple (some might even say rather primitive and simplistic) and others yet may blanch at the rather stereotypical view of the Welsh, but they shouldn't because each character is imbued with warmth and real fondness (even the slightly pompous Dai Station is shown to have softer side from time to time) and each story is a beautifully drawn and affectionate little vignette looking back to a time that has long past and perhaps never really existed at all. The stories are accompanied mostly by the sound of Postgate's own melifluous narration, though other voices do creep in on occasion. The episodes range in length from the more usual 5 minutes to around 20 for some of the longer ones.

Step back a little though, and beneath the cuddly exterior is a faint hint of gentle subversion. The subtext is always about the value of community and friends, and supporting the underdog against authority. Some examples of these ideas include the episode where the railway is to be sold, or when Idris the dragon arrives in Llaniog. Best of all is the brief pen portrait of Jones allowing a fox to escape some noticeably chinless hunters. Postgate introduces this idea of standing up for the underdog and of maintaining a type of kind decency all through his work and Ivor the Engine does it very well.

The other little trick childhood plays is that you always think there are more than the 24 episodes collected here. Postgate made a habit of this too. But no matter, the episodes are delightful little pieces of art and it's nice to have them collected in one place. The fact that they are priced so low makes this an utter steal of a purchase.
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on 6 September 2015
I never really watched Ivor as a child, it was on but I never paid much attention to it, so looked forward to re-watching it again, as I have previously watched Postgate and Firmin's Bagpuss, which got much of its success from its nostalgia. Ivor the Engine plays also on this nostalgia, this time for an old little used railway line in the top-left corner of Wales, where things are a little unusual, there are dragons, and a little steam engine who communicates with Jones the Steam, his driver, by puffing his whistle.

This is definitely classic children's fare, the nostalgia works still very well, the quirkiness and directness of the stories, and the diverting Welsh accents of the characters, as well as the music, charm and delight in equal measure. Most of the episodes are either 5 mins or 9 minutes, though one is 22 minutes. Take them as they come to you, there is much to enjoy in these short journeys on a branch line...
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on 18 July 2017
This was recommended to me by my male colleagues (two men in their forties) and I had not heard of Ivor before but my son loves trains.

Ivor is excellent. Very slow paced and mellow with basic storylines and just charming in a way a lot of kids tv nowadays isn't. My son is 3.5 and loves Ivor, to the point of permenantly naming one of his Brio engines after him. Ivor has dragons living in his fires and is in the choir. What more could you want?!
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on 22 January 2018
A sheer delight which takes me back to my childhood. The pre CGI, stop-frame animation is its real charm, straight forward, heart warming tales of Ivor and his friends. You can't argue about the price either. I remember Ivor the first time around and I'm not ashamed to say that this was a purchase for myself and I'm 58! A charming DVD which harks back to a more innocent time.
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on 14 April 2011
For me, this is probably my most treasured memory of television as a child. There is something magical about Ivor and his adventures. The voice of Oliver Postgate is charm personified and is the vocal equivalent of a 'duvet day'.

Ivor works on so many levels that it could take me all day to describe it, but if your interested you possibly already know.

Unlike other 'cartoons' with their line drawings and in-your face large areas of bold colours Ivor differs considerably, there doesn't seem to be the need to rush things, the animation is much simpler but that never detracts from the story or your interest. The colours are more muted but they are the most wonderful watercolour images that match the words being said by the narrator, they merely server to ignite your own imagination and many parallels can be drawn to books.

That is what I feel Ivor is, it is a moving, illustrated book reading and that is what seems to give it so much more depth, it doesn't lay it all out there on a plate, your imagination needs to be involved.

Ask any child that has watched this and they can describe what is in the next valley or the next town with total ease, they are part of the story, their imagination has been engaged and that is such a hard thing to do.

Worth every last penny.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 March 2014
You really can't beat the classic kids TV from the past. Does not even come close to the computer stuff these days. You get 3 hours worth of Ivor in this DVD and can't fault it at all. Below is a full list of what is on the disk.

The Railway
Mrs Porty's Foxes
BlueBell
Unidentified Objects
The Dragon
Chickens
Old Nell
The Lost Engine
The Outing
Time Off
The Cuckoo Clock
Buying Things
The Water Tower
Central Heating
The Visitor
The Trumpet
The Sheepdog
Juggernaut
Half-crowns
Snowdrifts
The Fire Engine
Sledging
The Hat
Retirement
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on 18 November 2013
The graphics might not be the latest in CGI technology like Chuggington, but the hand drawn illustrations and cut out figures of Oliver Postgate's Ivor the Engine do have a charm of their own. But perhaps the most charming aspect of Ivor is the excellent storyline which spans across several episodes and the lost world it evokes. This is a glimpse of another world, a warm, friendly world peopled with kind souls like Jones the Steam and a simple life that seems to centre around choirs, hymns and fish and chips.

And steam engine with a deep personality!! A truly great TV show and one that will be nostalgic for anyone over 40.
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on 2 December 2016
Classic timeless. Remember watching these with my father when I was very young. The animation is not that good, but the stories are very good, and more than make up for the animation. They have never looked so good. The picture quality on the DVD upscaled on my Panasonic 42", looks so clean and fresh. Go for them. Good value for money.
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on 23 May 2017
I loved this series as a child.
A very gentle and enjoyable DVD with all the colour episodes ever made.
Every bit as much fun as when I first saw it.
A little steam engine with a mind of its own living in the 'Top North West of Wales' with his driver having lots of adventures around the town and Hills of wales along with eccentric characters and Welsh dragons!
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on 4 May 2014
Ivor was one of the programmes that used to be on before the news, and it was always a favourite.
Watching these brings back all those memories, and the quality is excellent.
The animation is simple, but it's all hand drawn - not a computer in sight, and it's better for it.
Good stories, great narration, and at under £6 I couldn't leave it.
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