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 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 Angela ‘Come dancing’ Rippon ( I so did not know that back in the day. Back then, Angela was just the lovely lady on the TV-AM sofa who I used to watch while Mum got me ready for school.) Children (mainly girls) 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 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 sadder still, until recently, I didn’t have any Victoria Plum memorabilia left. I’m sure Mum got sick of tripping over all my stuff and got rid of it! But I am now the proud owner of a VP jigsaw puzzle – and I will not be parting with that 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. Her success at being a children’s phenomenon was extremely flash-in-the-pan, and she has the most unenviable privilege of being the most short lived and most underrated children’s character. While childhood icons such as He-Man and Thundercats have somehow endured, Victoria Plum, for the most part, faded into obscurity. 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!