THE UK'S favourite children's programme, featuring a saggy old cloth cat called Bagpuss, is on a national tour, thanks to his strong North-East links.

Sandra Kerr, who created the music for the 1974 series, now lectures in folk and professional music at Newcastle University.

The entertainer, of Walworth, near Darlington, linked up with North-East music producer Folkworks to put together a children's show featuring songs and music from the cult series.

The tour began last week and Peter Firmin - who created Bagpuss with Oliver Postgate - took the original puppet to an early performance.

The show is now in the North-East. An extra performance is being added at Newcastle's Playhouse after tickets for two shows sold out.

Lucy Bird, marketing director of the North Music Trust, said: "This has been a fantastic success, but it was pure coincidence that we began work on a show linked to Bagpuss before finding it was voted an all-time favourite."

Sandra and musical collaborator John Faulkner are joined on stage by Sandra's daughter, Nancy, a talented fiddler and singer, and her musical partner James Fagan, who also plays the fiddle.