The Family-Ness

Infobox Television
show_name = The Family-Ness

caption =
format = Animated series
camera =
picture_format =
runtime = 5 mins
creator = Peter Maddocks
developer =
executive_producer = Maddocks Animation
starring = Peter Hawkins
Susan Sheridan
narrated =
opentheme =
endtheme =
country = United Kingdom
network = BBC One
first_aired = 5 October 1984
last_aired = 28 March 1985
num_episodes = 25
related =
*"Jimbo and the Jet Set"
*"Penny Crayon"
website =
imdb_id = 0435956
tv_com_id =

"The Family-Ness" is a British cartoon series produced in 1983. It was first broadcast on BBC One from 5 October 1984 to 28 March 1985, and it was created by Peter Maddocks of Maddocks Cartoon Productions. Maddocks later went on to produce "Penny Crayon" and "Jimbo and the Jet Set" in a similar style. Family-Ness was about the adventures of a family of Loch Ness Monsters and the MacTout family, particularly siblings Elspeth and Angus. The 'Nessies' could be called from the loch by the two children by means of their "thistle whistles". The series was followed with a large collection of merchandising including annuals, story books, character models and even a record. The single "You'll Never Find a Nessie in the Zoo" was written by Roger and Gavin Greenaway, but never made it into the Top 40.


;Mr. MacTout: Apparently the single parent to Angus and Elspeth (their mother is never seen or mentioned). A stereotypical Scotsman, he has ginger hair with a bushy beard, a Tam o' Shanter on his head, a tartan kilt with the accompanying stockings and he plays the bagpipes. He is the keeper of the loch, but never sees a Loch Ness Monster, and when anyone mentions seeing one, he says it is "stuff and nonsense".;Angus MacTout: Seemingly older than his sister, Angus is adventurous, clever and quick and is usually successful in getting his father or one or several of the Nessies out of trouble when he needs to, though he sometimes underestimates the initiative of his sister, who often helps him. ;Elspeth MacTout: A friendly young girl who assists her brother in most of his adventures.;Sergeant MacFuzz: The person most frequently approached when a Loch Ness Monster is seen. However, he seldom believes it - in the first episode because it was April Fool's Day, on another occasion because a monster was reported to be water skiing (which was in fact the truth) and other occasions simply because he arrives too late to see anything himself. He has a bully-like son, Willie MacFuzz, who also once saw a Loch Ness Monster, but he didn't believe him either.;Mrs McToffee: The keeper of the local sweet shop who is nevertheless careful not to sell too many sweets to young buyers in case they ruin their teeth.;Mayor and Mayoress: Possibly the least intelligent of all the characters here, human or non-human. Obsessed with their own importance and their love for one another, they are oblivious to the Nessies, even when one of them is actually in front of them, standing in for a Loch Ness Monster's lookalike competition.;Professor Dumkopf: A slightly mad scientist and hot air balloon pilot with a German-sounding accent who is set on proving the Loch Ness Monster's existence. He often does see one, but is always thwarted in proving it to anyone else either by the MacTout children or by the Nessies themselves (or both). He has tried every bizarre method imaginable to succeed in his aim from lowering a telescopic camera into the loch to catch the monster on film (but ended up having the telescope twisted by the Nessies so that all he shot was a seagull in the air) to pumping sherbet into the loch to try and bring out a monster in a bubble (but ended up falling into his machine and being carried away in one himself). The name Dumkopf means "stupid head" in German, with "kopf" meaning head (compare Schapkopf "sheep's head").The name was later used in an episode of Inspector Gadget for an unrelated character who was also, coincidentally, a mad scientist.


The Nessies are all named after their main trait, like the Mr. Men. The Nessies bear little likeness to the stereotypical plesiosaurus/serpent appearance (which indeed comes up in one episode); instead, they appear as very fat, yellow dinosaurs with bulbous noses. ;Ferocious Ness: The first Loch Ness Monster (and most often seen) to interact with the MacTout children, and subsequently the most frequent to appear in the series. A large crocodile/dragon-like creature who likes frightening tourists and passers-by, he is otherwise generally friendly. He is able to change colour to blend in with his background when on land (only seen in one episode) and can, when this happens, get stuck in whatever colour he chooses, but can be made to change back if confronted with something more frightening than himself, creepy-crawlies being his greatest fear. He once - courtesy of the Mayor and Mayoress - came third in a Loch Ness Monster look-alike competition.;Her High Ness: The Queen of the Nessies, she originally made the rule that humans must not have dealings with Loch Ness Monsters, but later gave the children their secret thistle-whistles in the first episode when she realised how helpful and polite they were. She was seen to breathe fire in just one episode, which she learned to do from "a cousin in China" (presumably a dragon), and on another occasion she stowed away in a ship to visit that cousin. She bears little physical similarities with the other Nessies, taking on a more thinner and more plesiosaurus like appearance. ;Baby Ness: The youngest Nessie with a dummy and nappy. He has a surprisingly "sweet tooth" for one who has not yet started teething, as demonstrated once when Forgetful Ness lost him, resulting in his crawling into the back door of Mrs McToffee's sweet shop to steal candy, and on another occasion when he had the measles and Angus and Elspeth bought him a whole jar of sticky sweets to cheer him up.;Careful Ness: An excessively cautious Nessie.;Clever Ness: The most intelligent of the Nessies, who sports a fine pair of spectacles. Slightly old and doddering, but if called upon to assist the MacTout children in any way is usually successful in doing so.;Eager Ness: A slightly hyperactive Nessie who can get carried away, but is useful if the children want something done swiftly.;Forgetful Ness: A tie-wearing Nessie who, when he does call the children, sometimes even forgets that it was him who called. Having lost and then retrieved Baby Ness with the help of Angus and Elspeth, he remembered to express his gratitude but forgot what the baby's name was. ;Eyewit Ness: Monster with a patch over one eye, who looks like a pirate. He has a tendency to place his telescope over the wrong eye.;Grumpy Ness: An old grumbling Nessie who is the least grateful to hear and react to Angus and Elspeth's thistle-whistles, and perhaps for that reason is one of the least often seen.;Sad Ness: Extremely depressed monster; plays board games against himself. ;Heavy Ness: Strong monster, who wears circus "strong man" outfits. Teams up with Mighty Ness to pull Silly Ness free when he gets stuck.;Lovely Ness: Credited in the theme tune as "the kissing kind". A friendly Nessie, but often too dainty to help physically in a great deal of the adventures.;Mighty Ness: Another strong monster dressed in Circus Strongman clothes.;Naughty Ness: A trouble causing monster.;Silly Ness: Dim monster that's always getting into trouble. Often gets stuck in small holes and caves and was the first Nessie the children saw- albeit with his backside up in the air.;Speedy Ness: After Eager Ness, generally the quickest to action, he is distinguished by his red crash helmet.;Sporty Ness: Appears in the opening credits, but seldom reacts to the MacTout children's thistle-whistles. When he does appear he tends to show off, he is shown wearing a red and white striped t-shirt.


; Written and Created by : Peter Maddocks; Voices by : Peter Hawkins, Sue Sheridan; Music by : Roger and Gavin Greenaway; Animation by : The Animation People; Head of Backgrounds : Kevin Smith; Layout : Ted Pettengel and David Elvin; Production by : Peter Maddocks, Nick Roberts, Gus Angus; Series Director : Jack Stokes; Dubbing by : MagMasters

Episode listing

*Elspeth and Angus Meet the Loch Ness Monster
*Professor Dumpkopf's Underwater Telescope
*Elspeth and Angus Buy a Puppy
*Ferocious-ness Changes His Colour
*Ferocious-ness and the Look-alike Contest
*Clever-ness Helps With the Homework
*Speedy-Ness Saves the Day
*Ferocious-Ness Loses His Roar
*Baby-Ness Gets the Measles
*Silly-Ness and the Bubble Machine
*Ferocious-Ness and the Sound Machine
*Clever-Ness and the Curling Championship
*The Maze of Urquhart Castle
*Professor Dumkopf Makes a Monster Film
*Professor Dumkopf and his Amazing Cannonball
*Sporty-Ness and the Highland Games
*Hungry-Ness and the Diving Bell
*Professor Dumkopf and the Hungry Monster
*Clumsy-Ness Upsets Captain Standfast
*Angus and the Monster Kite
*Captain Standfast and the Golden Key
*Thirsty-Ness and the Part-Time Witch
*Baby-Ness and the Mayor's statue
*Captain Standfast and the Stowaway
*You'll Never Find a Nessie in a Zoo

External links

* [ The Family-Ness] Fansite
*imdb title|id=0435956|title=The Family-Ness

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