Professor Popper’s Problems (1974)

6 part serial
35mm film, Eastmancolor
mono, English

A British fantasy film serial directed by Gerry O'Hara.

Plot Summary

Professor Popper accidentally shrinks himself and a group of children.


Directed by: Gerry O'Hara
Children's Film Foundation, Mersey Film Productions
Produced by: Roy Simpson
Production Supervisor: Roy Parkinson
Written by: Leo Maguire
Story: Richard Loncraine
First Assistant Director: David Bracknell
Second Assistant Director: Terry Pearce
Continuity: Renee Glynne
Director of Photography: Ken Hodges
Camera Operator: Brian Elvin
Sound Camera Operator: Pat Lee
Editor: James Needs
Music: Kenneth V. Jones
Sound Recordist: Laurie Clarkson
Boom Operator: Sam Morris
Wardrobe: Rita Wakely
Special Photographic Effects: Tommy Howard
Title Designer: Tony Hart
Art Director: George Provis
Production Accountant: Duncan Stewart
Production Secretary: Joy Bayley
Studios: EMI Elstree, London, England, UK

Charlie Drake (Professor Popper)
Adam Richens (Simon)
Debra Collins (Liz)
Philip DaCosta|Philip da Costa (Terry)
Todd Carty (Angus)
Karen Saunders (Carol)
Eric Holloway (Peter)
Milo O'Shea (Professor Crabbit)
Sydney Bromley (Crickle)
Richard Caldicot (headmaster)
Alan Curtis (Grainger)
Leo Maguire (Rollins)
Keith Smith (P.C. Whitby)
Ruth Kettlewell (meter maid)


1. Into the Unknown
2. Descent to Danger
3. The Monster
4. Pursued
5. Follow that Skate
6. The Magic Powder

Alternative Titles

La Formule magique du professeur Popper – France (television)
Professor Popper's Pills – shooting title

Extracts included in
Clapperboard: Professor Popper's Problems (1974)
Screen Test: 14 July 1975
Screen Test: 1 September 1975


CinemaTV Today no.10116 (11 January 1975) p.12
The special photographic effects (by Tommy Howard) give this serial its special appeal. The story and dialogue are simplified to learning to read level and the spoken comedy is too babyish for older children. But all can delight in identifying with the minute heroes surrounded by familiar objects that look enormous. – from a review by Marjorie Bilbow

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.42 no.493 (February 1975) p.37
Professor Popper's efforts to solve his two main problems […] are presented in an inventive and amusing series of episodes. Charlie Drake as the resourceful Popper gives a breezy, swashbuckling performance which contributes greatly to the fun of the proceedings. Amazingly he even manages to make lines like “We'll have a ride on doggy-back” sound funny. There is plenty of excitement too: the minute figures of Popper and Simon, armed only with a hairpin, have a truly scary fight with a spider; the attempted overhand swing on a piece of cotton has some heart-stopping moments, and their progress on the hurtling rollerskate is breathtaking. That all these sequences have the power to suspend disbelief is a tribute to fine technical effects – hardly a join shows. This is good children's entertainment and a worthy successor to another good series from the same production team, Paganini Strikes Again. – from a review by Margaret Ford



Cinema TV Today no.10082 (11 May 1974) p.22 – credits
CinemaTV Today no.10083 (18 May 1974) p.10 – credits (In production: Six films at the studios)
CinemaTV Today no.10116 (11 January 1975) p.12 – credits, review (The new films by Marjorie Bilbow)
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.42 no.493 (February 1975) p.37 – credits, synopsis, review (by Margaret Ford)
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.42 no.503 (December 1975) p.273 – note


Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.314

Other Sources

British National Film Catalogue vol.13 (1975) – credits