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Little Gems -The Moomins by Tove Jansson

The Moomins was a spooky but wonderful little adventure series in the 1980s. I say spooky because it always seemed dark, cold and scary, at least the episodes I saw were like that. The Moomins were a family of creatures created by the exceptionally talented author Tove Jansson. Sadly Tove Jansson died on the 27th June 2001 (BBC news article of her life). The Moomins consisted of Moominpappa, Moominmamma and Moomintroll. With them were a whole variety of weird and fascinating creatures. The Moomins lived in the forests of Finland where they loved sunshine and fun but hibernated in the deep winter (Moomintroll did not sleep through one of their Winters - Moominland Midwinter). Some of the creatures were really scary especially the slow moving Groke (click here to listen to the sound it made as it approached - 625Kb Wav).

The series was first shown in 1983 (correct me please if I am wrong here) and was part of the ITV children's "Watch It." Central television had bought the rights to show the program. There cannot be too many people who do not remember the superb soundtrack (by Graeme Miller & Steve Shill) that started off each episode.

Books in the series (these are the ones I have - others exist in the series)

Finn Family Moomintroll Tales from Moominvalley Comet in Moominland Moominsummer Madness Moominland Midwinter Moominvalley in November The Exploits of Moominpappa

Comet in Moominland

Finn Family Moomintroll

Moominland Midwinter

Scans of the Moomin Valley Map and Moomin House layout from "Moominland Midwinter" and "Finn Family Moomintroll" respectively


Some of the characters are shown below - I know there were dozens more such as the The Muskrat, The Snork, The Snork Maiden etc. but at the moment I only have access to the ones shown below.

Little My
Little My

The healthy Hemulen






Orphanage governess Hemulen

Little Whomper

Salome the Little Creep

A Hedgehog

A boating Hemulen

The Invisible Mice

Moomintroll's pet dragon

Edward The Booble



Another Bird


The Niblings

The Orphans

A woodland creature

Woodland Spirits

The Dweller from behind the sink

Tree squirrels
The Mymble's daughter
The Mymble's daughter
The King
The King

The Spider
The Ghost
The Ghost
The Fuzzy - on the right
The Fuzzy (right)
Snork Maiden
The Snork Maiden
Whomper and Misabel
Whomper and Misabel
Gardening Hemulen
The Park Keeper Hemulen

Moomintroll is the son of Moominmamma and Moominpappa. He is very curious Moomin but can occasionally get bad tempered. His best friend is Snufkin. Snufkin showed how much his friendship was worth to him in the pet dragon episode in which Snufkin gave the dragon away because he did not want to hurt Moomintroll's feelings when the dragon showed no affection for him.

Moominmamma is married to Moominpappa and is Moomintroll's mum. She is a very caring Moomin and looks after most of the creatures in Moominland at some time or another. We know she is a female because she always carries her handbag around with her (opening myself up with that one).

Moominpappa is married to Moominmamma and is Moomintroll's father. He too is a very caring Moomin and likes to read the others the adventures he had when he was a very young Moomin. Moominpappa, we learn, was an orphan Moomin. I do not know what happened to his parents but he was brought up in an orphanage run by a very bossy Hemulen (see below).

Snufkin who is not a Moomin is the child of the Mymble and the Joxter. He is best friends with Moomintroll and the pair like to fish together. Snufkin knows how easily Moomintroll can be upset and so always takes great care to shield the sensitive little Moomin.

Little My is friend to Moomintroll and his family. She is very head strong and quite a capable individual. She looks a bit like Snufkin so perhaps they are related. Little My always seemed to be in a bad mood even when she was happy.

Too-Ticky is a young individual who moves around quite a lot. In Moominland in Midwinter he stays in the Moomins summer house down at the water's edge. There he lives through the Winter with the invisible mice. NOTE it states in the television series that Too-Ticky was a "HE" but in the book "Moominland Winter", Too-Ticky is referred to as a "SHE."

The Groke is a very frightening creature. It moves very slowly but never seems to stop in that it pursues relentlessly whatever prey it has set its mind on. He/she appears in several episodes during the Midwinter episodes. Whenever the creature is near, the air is chilled. Fires are quickly extinguished and everyone starts to feel their blood go cold. The Groke is actually seen pursuing a victim in (Moomintroll to the rescue). The victim turns out to none other that the Hemulen who once looked after Moominpappa at the orphanage.

Sniff is a friend of the Moomins and lives with them in their house. Sniff is the son of Fuzzy and Muddler and is the very first character to appear in the Moomintroll books, showing up at the very beginning of chapter one page 7 of Comet in Moominland. In that tale Moomintroll and Sniff follow a mysterious trail down to the sea.

Fillyjonk appears in the book Moominland Midwinter and appears to be a friend of the Moomins and especially Moominmamma. Fillyjonk appears to be a very timid type creature and she appears to have the ability to foretell disaster. Her house is soon destroyed in one episode by a tornado. Fillyjonk often has tea with Gaffsie.

Gaffsie is a friend of Fillyjonk and brings presents when she comes round for tea. She tends to think that the Fillyjonk is a bit of a panicker and can be quite snappy with her friend. She totally dismisses the idea that disaster is imminent when the Fillyjonk tells her that something terrible is about to happen.

Sorry-Oo is a very useful and friendly dog. He first appears in Moominland Winter when he arrives at the Moomin residence looking for food. For some reason he believed that he had a destiny with his brothers the wolves. Each night they would howl into the darkness as they got ever closer. In the end, Sorry-Oo was nearly taken by them as a meal. Only the arrival of the healthy Hemulen saved Sorry-Oo.

Jockster appears in one of the stories that Moominpappa was telling the family as he lay in bed rather ill. Jockster appears to be a lazy character often found sleeping and considered to be of not much use. He travels with Moominpappa and Hodgkins and Muddler on the boat they have recently launched with the aid of Edward the Booble.

Hodgkins appears in one of Moominpappa's tales after he escaped from the orphanage. Hodgkins is an inventor and a very clever man. He appears to be the guardian of the Muddler who travels with him.

The healthy Hemulen makes his first appearance in Moominland Midwinter. He arrives at the Moomins house much to the annoyance of Moomintroll. He is a very nice Hemulen though, he was responsible for saving Sorry Oo from the wolves. He taught Little My how to ski and even tried to show Moomintroll. Salome the little Creep wanted to be his friend.

Muddler first appears during the telling of the tales of Moominpappa. He is obsessed with buttons and other objects which he collects. His mother and father were lost during a Spring clean.

Orphanage governess Hemulen appears in the accounts of Moominpappa when he was a very young Moomin. She is a very strict Hemulen often very fussy and pedantic. It is probably because of her that Moominpappa is forced to leave the orphanage. This Hemulen is seen again later in the stories as she is being pursued by a Groke.

The Invisible Mice live in the Moomin's summer house down near the water. You only know they are present by the presence of two eyes. They are very helpful though around the place.

Moomintroll's pet dragon is caught by Moomintroll who puts him in a jar and tries to keep it a secret. The dragon does not seem to like Moomintroll but takes a shine to Snufkin. The dragon likes to eat flies

The Niblings appear in an episode when they take away the lady Hemulen. Not sure what their true role is or what became of the lady Hemulen for that matter.

Woodland Spirits appear in a couple of episodes and live in the trees within Moominvalley. they like to play jokes on passers by but are fun loving and harmless.

Edward The Booble appears in an episode when he is needed for his vast size and weight. He is a large dragon like creature who refers to Moomins and the others as sand fleas. He likes to bathe in the sea and does not like sharp rocks.

The Fuzzy is married to The Muddler and is Sniff's mother. She appeared to be a sensible individual and liked to recieve presents

The Snork Maiden is the sister of Snork. She is rather a smaller version of Moominmamma and occasionally not the nicest of individuals as she can act a bit spoilt and appears to be eaily bored even though Moomintroll worshops the ground she walks on.

Emma was called "the old stage rat" by the Moomins. She was married to Mr.Fillyjonk who had something to do with managing the stage. She is also the aunt of the Fillyjonk who appeared in disaster. Emma appeared, sweeping the old theatre in Moominsummer Madness.

The Moomins - Main Page

The Winter Bonfire

Return of the Sun


Healthy Hemulen

Sorry Oo

Sorry Oo and the Wolves

The Great Thaw

The Fillyjonk


Moomintroll & the Dragon

Moomintroll's Pet


The Orphan

Hodgkins & the Soldier

Edward the Booble

Moomintroll to the rescue


The Moomins - From Original Stories and Illustrations by Tove Jansson
Narrated by Richard Murdoch
Animation by Lucjan Dembinski, Krystuna Kulczcka, Dariusz Zawilski & Jadwiga Kudrzycka
Sound by Bob Jackson
Music by Graeme Miller & Steve Shill
Adapted by Anne Wood
Edited by Andi Sloss
English Film Version by FilmFair for Central Independent Television
© Film Polski Jupiter Films