The original Noddy stories featured Golliwogs – black-faced woollen dolls. These dolls were popular in the UK at the time the stories were written, but have fallen out of favour and are now often considered racist. The main villains became two goblins named Sly and Gobbo in 1989.
In the two TV series and a new series of books, Noddy has been updated, with the original Golliwog characters replaced by other sorts of toys. For example, Mr. Golly who ran the Toyland garage was replaced by Mr. Sparks who in the new 2004 version of the series appears to be Scottish, and the addition by the BBC during the 1992–1994 series of Dinah Doll, described as "a black, assertive minority female."
Noddy first appeared on stage at the 2660 seat Stoll Theatre in Kingsway, London in 1954. The very large cast were all children or teenagers, mostly from the Italia Conti acting school. There was a full theatre orchestra. The finale was a scene at the “Faraway Tree”, with many of the children dressed as fairies, flying on wires. It is doubtful if this show would be possible now, because of the cost and due to legal restrictions on the working hours of children in shows. Some of the content would not be politically correct by modern standards, with the Golliwogs mugging people and Mr Plod hitting people with his truncheon at regular intervals (with sound effects from the pit). It ran for several years, but the Stoll was knocked down and replaced by an office block in the late1950s. The Peacock Theatre was built in the basement of the new building, but Noddy did not return.
In 1993, a stage production of Noddy opened at Wimbledon Theatre, followed by a long UK National Tour, including a Christmas season in London at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith and was released on VHS Video in 1994. The production was presented by Clarion Productions. The production was written and directed by David Wood with Scene & Costume Designs by Susie Calcutt. The original cast included Eric Potts as Big Ears and Karen Briffett as Noddy. The show was very well received among critics, audiences and even Enid Blyton's daughter Gillian Baverstock. David Wood adapted a successful sequel to the play entitled "Noddy and the Tootle" which opened at the Wimbledon Theatre and endured on a long UK National Tour in 1995-1996. Karen Briffett reprised her role as Noddy and Big Ears was played by Jonathan Broxholme. This production was too presented by Clarion Productions.
It returned between September 2003 and January 2004 for a new series, which was eventually named Make Way for Noddy. This was created by Chorion, on Five and the episodes were filmed from 2001–2004 externally.
In the autumn of 2004, a set of 100 new 2-minute TV interstitials were created by Chorion. These interstitials, entitled Say it With Noddy, feature Noddy learning words in a variety of foreign languages. They also introduced Noddy's new friend Whizz from Robot Village, who presses a button on his chest to play recordings of native speakers saying the new foreign words Noddy was to learn.
Make Way for Noddy is an animated series for children produced by Chorion of the United Kingdom in conjunction with SD Entertainment in the United States. Based on Enid Blyton's Noddy character, it originally aired in 12-minute segments as part of the Milkshake! programme on Britain's Five.
A new CG animated series, called "Noddy In Toyland", was made in 2009 by Chorion, produced by Brown Bag Films in Ireland. The series features much more detailed faces for Big Ears & Mr. Plod, a new wardrobe for Tessie Bear, and incorporates Whizz as a full-time character. Sly & Gobbo's cousins, Sneaky & Stealth, are introduced & usually work alongside their cousins.
In Alan Moore's series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Toyland is a real nation located in the Arctic Circle. The King and Queen of Toyland are Frankenstein's Monster and Olympia from The Tales of Hoffmann.
Through the Noddy on tv years:
- The Adventures Of Noddy (1955–1963)
- The Further Adventures Of Noddy (1963–1975)
- The Classic Adventures Of Noddy (1975–1982)
- Noddy's Toyland Adventures (1992–1994)
- Noddy in Toyland (1998–2000)
- Make Way for Noddy (2002–Present)
- Say It With Noddy (2006)
- Noddy Toyland Detective (2016–present)