The Wombles could be making a return to the silver screen to star in their own film - nearly four decades after they left our TV screens.

Created by Elisabeth Beresford in 1968, the furry pointed-nosed, litter pickers lived on Wimbledon Common and enjoyed success throughout the seventies with a TV series and later as a novelty pop act.

Musician Mike Batt, who first put the characters into the charts in the 1970s, is now planning to bring the furry critters back to life in a new feature-length film and 26-part TV series, as well as an interactive online Wombles World experience.

Mr Batt, who counts Katie Melua among artists signed to his Dramatico label, helped the Wombles score top five hits including Remember You're A Womble and The Wombling Song.

The gang later appeared in 2011 as a novelty act at Glastonbury festival.

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The plans have been made possible since Mr Batt became the major shareholder in Wombles Copyright Holdings after many years of holding a 50-50 share with the estate of Ms Beresford.

He said: "We think the Wombles characters are timeless, funny and lovable, and we can assure the Beresford estate that we shall protect and look after the quality and integrity of the characters as we always have done.

"We think there are audiences of new children and international audiences who missed the Wombles the first time around and will be thrilled to see the brilliant high-quality animations and new musical productions we shall be mounting."

Beresford published her first Wombles story in 1968 and a TV series launched in 1973.

The series was revived for a further run of episodes 16 years ago and Beresford's books were brought back into print in 2010 and 2011.