Every generation has its era-defining show about dogs, one that captivates many and inspires some to adopt an animal, register its microchip and enjoy life together filled with love, life and adventure.
The year 2023 marks the 30th anniversary of one of the most popular children’s television shows in British history and one that has enriched the lives of children and encouraged them to Come Outside and explore the world around them.
Starring the dog Pippin alongside Open All Hours actress Lynda Baron (1939 – 2022), Come Outside was the tale of Auntie Mabel and her half-Tibetan Terrier, half-Bearded Collie dog, who would fly in a poker dot-strewn aeroplane to learn more about everyday items.
Pippin was a descendant of the American acting dog Benji and would split acting duties with her grandson Mr Higgins, the latter of which would be the face of Bakers Complete pet food.
The concept was designed by Elizabeth Bennett, who was keen to create a series that would help spark the imaginations of a particularly young audience and yet retain a sense of comfort and belonging.
To say it worked was an understatement; whilst there were only 40 episodes made across three series, it remained one of the BBC’s most successful children’s shows for a generation, being constantly repeated for 15 years until 2012 and a regular fixture of early years school lessons.
The reasons for this appeal were partly due to the charming performance of Mrs Baron, who played the role as if she knew every single child watching, as well as the novelty of visiting a brickyard or an orange grove in a plane, but primarily it is because of Pippin and their antics.
Partly due to the cost of filming on location every week alongside Lynda Baron’s growing commitments, the show was not continued after 1997.