I’ve named my squirrel

I didn’t imagine I’d get nearly 100 comments when I asked readers to name my baby squirrel.  There were many good suggestions, and I’ve picked a name.

Or rather, I’ve given him two names. Reader Craig Gallagher suggested “Tufty”, after the squirrel in the videos below, while the linguistically inclined Diana MacPherson suggested “Jerry Eichcoynechen” (in Germany, the word for “squirrel” is “Eichhörnchen”).  After due consideration, I’ve decided to give him both names: Tufty Eichcoynechen, or “Tufty E.” for short.

Tufty was not a gray squirrel, but a British red squirrel who featured in television lessons on traffic safety in the 1970s. All five Tufty episodes are on YouTube, and you can see the entire series by clicking on the screenshot below.

Don’t miss episode 2, in which Willie the Weasel doesn’t take his Mummy with him to the ice cream van, and suffers the dire consequences of his disobedience.

God bless the Brits!

Screen shot 2014-06-02 at 8.47.12 AM


  1. Posted June 2, 2014 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of a television show from childhood: Tales of the Riverbank . The music takes me right back.

    • moleatthecounter
      Posted June 2, 2014 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      GP and Hammy!

      Yes, so much to be proud of in British television…


      • Posted June 2, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        There is! Attenborough, A Man and his Dog, lots of good nature shows, Monty Python, and, of course, Tufty!

        • noncarborundum
          Posted June 2, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          Red Dwarf, Blackadder.

        • lanceleuven
          Posted June 2, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

          Umm…Jerry just said A Man and His D*g was one of his favourite shows…and no one has picked up on it?? This is a shocking revelation people! 🙂

          • GrahamH
            Posted June 2, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

            It just shows d*gs chasing round after sheep while someone whistles at them,something cats are far too intelligent to do. It reinforces cats inate superiority.

      • Draken
        Posted June 2, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        Morse, Taggart, Midsomer murders, Waking the dead, A touch of Frost, Bergerac, …oh well you guessed what I’m a sucker for.

        I even know the British caution by heart now.

        • Posted June 2, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          same here… Foyle’s War, Call the Midwife, Heartbeat, Downton Abbey etc, all kinds of BBC nature and science shows and history tv … I’m so glad we get a lot of them here in Canada.

    • Posted June 2, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      In jeeps and hot air balloons! Puts today’s special effects to shame.

  2. freddies_dead
    Posted June 2, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    If you like Tufty you should check out the “Charley Says” information films. It was quite weird growing up in England in the 70s

    • Chris
      Posted June 2, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Ah yes, as a child of the early 70s I can attest to the bizarreness of kid’s TV at the time.

      • Posted June 2, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        Willo the Wisp!!!!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 2, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        Simon and the chalk drawings – we got that one in Canada too.

    • Draken
      Posted June 2, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      I noticed from other 70s Public Interest videos on Youtube a certain obsession with warning kids crossing the road or just playing in the street. The incentive to do something about the car problem, or warning drivers to be careful, hadn’t been born yet.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted June 2, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        A lot of those PI films sprang allegedly from the Heath government buying up significant blocks of ITV advertising time in anticipation of major propaganda battles with the miners. Having made a block purchase, they had to fill the slots with stuff – cheap and uncontroversial – if there wasn’t a ready political crisis to propagandise about.

        • GrahamH
          Posted June 2, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          Sorry, that’s wrong. Public Information films were shown in unsold advertising slots completely at the discretion of the TV company. There was a strict demarcation between government purchased advertising and PI films. The PI films were also shown on the BBC, something that could not happen with paid for advertising.

          I used to work for the government department that made them and for a while one of my jobs was ordering the film prints to be sent to the TV companies.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted June 4, 2014 at 4:00 am | Permalink

            Hmm, well that’s the story that was going around at the time. And in PR, the story is the reality, even if it’s not true.
            You do see the same effect in satellite TV : the more adverts you see for $new service$ from your satellite provider, the more certain you are that they can’t sell all their advertising slots. (not that I watch the adverts anyway – that’s what the fast-forward is for).

  3. Posted June 2, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Missed the post yesterday. Tufty would have been my suggestion. I (like many others) was a member of the Tufty Club as a child. I might even have the badge somewhere … 


  4. quivered
    Posted June 2, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Fun fact – Tufty, and The Tufty Club, was created by Pierre Picton, who also owned the original car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 2, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I am glad my last name suggestion was useful & Tufty E sounds very cool.

    • Posted June 2, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      “Tufty E” sounds like a rap artist.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 2, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        I almost typed rapper. Yes it does.

  6. Diane G.
    Posted June 2, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Poor Willy Weasel!

  7. Craig Gallagher
    Posted June 2, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Good ol’ Tufty. Between him and The Green Cross Man (David Prowse of Darth Vader fame) – well, I’ve never been run over once.

    Good luck to Tufty E. May his tail be bushy and his eyes bright for years to come.

  8. Posted June 2, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Call him Edward Tufte – for those who aren’t Information Design nerds, he’s the father of that discipline. (See ‘The Visual Display of Quantitative Information’ book)

  9. Posted June 2, 2014 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    ‘Tis a good name. May he bear it well for many years.


  10. SA Gould
    Posted June 2, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Then, do we get to vote on what little cute outfits he will be wearing?

  11. Posted June 2, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Not THAT OT, as we seem to have drifted on to Brit TV : http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/secret-life-cats-5-reasons-3637508

    I watched this tonight and it explained a few things that puzzled me. (IE cats are longsighted, so they won’t see a treat if you put it in front of them). Plus the amazing story of a cat who fell from a 19th storey flat – without a single broken bone! Gerry, I think you might like this :). I know I did.

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