Butterflies (1978)

Concept and creative process

‘Butterflies’ was a six-part family sitcom written by Carla Lane. Designer Sid Sutton’s concept for the title sequence was a butterfly case in the shape of a house, a visual metaphor for the claustrophobia of suburban life felt by the comedy's characters, played by the leading actors Wendy Craig and Geoffrey Palmer. The butterfly case was an actual model made by Sid Sutton from balsa wood and wood effect Fablon plastic film. The butterflies were all real preserved insects sourced from a local lepidopterist. Sid laid everything out in the case, together with the butterfly name plates, and photographed it with a plate camera. He made a large colour print from the negative and this became the background for the animating cut-out pictures of the actors positioned on animation cel overlays. These were filmed frame by frame on a rostrum camera and combined with the butterfly house background.