Residing at 52 Festive Road, somewhere in Middle England (but allegedly based on 52 Festing Rd, Putney where creator David McKee resided), the suited and bowler-hatted Mr Benn first hit British TV screens in 1971.
In each episode, Mr Benn would leave his house and walk past children playing in the street, which often held a clue as to what was about to unfold, until he arrived at a fancy dress shop. And not just any fancy dress shop. At this fancy dress shop, a shopkeeper would appear; as if by magic.
Created by David McKee, Mr Benn was in no way extraordinary. The animation was basic, cardboard cut-out style drawings, with a camera zooming in and out over drawn backgrounds. Yet the storytelling was imaginative and generally featured a moral dilemma for Mr Benn. It gave the impression of being read a story from a book which is, in effect, exactly what was.
Mr Benn would try on a costume and then pass through a door that would lead to an adventure. The costume would be linked to the adventure and, after having saved the day, the shopkeeper would reappear and Mr Benn would be ushered back to the changing room of the shop.
Before leaving, Mr Benn would always discover that he had procured an item from his adventure which the shopkeeper allowed him to keep as a souvenir. On his journey back along Festive Road, Mr Benn would notice the children playing or some other event occurring that would remind him of his experience still further.
Mr Benn was narrated by Ray Brooks and filmed at Zephyr Film Studios. The company went on to create and produce King Rollo.