My little niece and nephew can’t get enough of their favourite children’s characters: Dora…Ben and Holly… and don’t even get me started on Elsa! In years to come when they’re much older, they’ll look back at the films, cartoons, books and other memorabilia, and it should bring back happy memories of these early years. That’s what happens whenever I see anything that reminds me of Victoria Plum. It’s more than likely that no one under the age of twenty five has ever heard of Victoria Plum – and those over twenty five barely remember her. But I have never forgotten her.
Victoria Plum started out life as the central character in a series of illustrated children’s book which were written by – and I didn’t know this til much later – Angela ‘Come Dancing’ Rippon. Of course back then, I was too young to know who was writing these books. And to be honest I don’t think I cared. But I did know who the lovely Angela Rippon was. I knew her as the very nice lady on the TV-AM sofa who I used to watch while Mum got me ready for school, and much later of course she was known as the presenter of Come Dancing. The nation may go crazy over Strictly Come Dancing, but for me it was always about the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool. And the lovely Karen and Marcus Hilton. Boy could they dance…
But enough about sequins and glitter. Children loved tales about the little woodland fairy who lived in a magical wood with all her enchanting little friends. For a while, Plum-mania was everywhere and you couldn’t move for all the VP merchandise that was on sale. I had some myself including the bag; the umbrella; the rain mac, the all important books and enough stationary for me to rival WH Smith. Sadly, I never had the doll but I suppose you can’t have everything! And what’s even more sad is that instead of hanging on to the memorabilia, it all got thrown away. I’m sure Mum got sick of tripping over all my toys and things and got rid of the lot and that included all my Victoria Plum goodies! But I am very happy to say that I have now set about trying to replace my lost items, and am now the proud owner of a VP jigsaw puzzle, some books, curtains and bedding – and I will not be parting with those in a hurry!
It’s just as well that everyone got a big slice of the Plum pie while they could because from being everywhere, Victoria Plum was suddenly… nowhere to be seen. In comparison to other children’s characters, the success of Victoria Plum at being a children’s phenomenon was extremely flash-in-the-pan, and she has the most unenviable privilege of being one of the most underrated children’s characters. It’s such a shame because there was so much that could have been done with the character. We could have had the cartoon series; the movie; the theme park. the clothing line; the cosmetic line… But now we have to make do with Bratz!
Thankfully though, Victoria Plum appears to be entrenched in the childhood memories of people other than me as testified by the 407 people who ‘like’ the Victoria Plum page on Facebook. Am I one of them? Do you have to ask!