Bertha (TV series)

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Bertha
Format Television series (children)
Developed by Eric Charles
Stephen Flewers
Starring Roy Kinnear (voice)
Sheila Walker (voice)
Narrated by Roy Kinnear
Theme music composer Bryan Daly
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 13
Production
Producer(s) Ivor Wood
Running time 15 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC 1/BBC 2
Original run 1 April 1985 – 18 June 1986

Bertha is a British stop motion-animated children's television series about a factory machine of that name, comprising 13 episodes that aired from 1985 to 1986. Other major characters in the series were Mr Willmake (factory owner), Mr Sprott (Bertha's chief designer) and Tracy (Mr Sprott's young assistant). All the characters were designed by Ivor Wood, and the series was produced by his company, Woodland Animations. It was broadcast on BBC Television.[1]

A series of six storybooks based on Bertha was published by André Deutsch at the same time as the series was broadcast. They were adapted by Eric Charles and illustrated by Steve Augarde, who was also responsible for the artwork and music in the children's series Bump.[1]

Story[edit]

The series is set in an industrial estate occupied by the "Spottiswood Factory", a small manufacturing plant producing a wide range of goods ranging from cuckoo clocks to windmill money boxes. Each episode focuses on a machine called Bertha that can produce any item requested of her. In each episode the factory experiences a crisis affecting its daily production schedule, which Bertha invariably solves with the help of her factory worker friends.

Production[edit]

Bertha was created by Woodland Animations, who also produced the shows Postman Pat, Charlie Chalk and Gran for the BBC. Episodes were written by Eric Charles and Stephen Flewers, and designed, produced and directed by Ivor Wood, co-founder of the Woodland company. Roy Kinnear and Sheila Walker voiced the characters, and Kinnear narrated. The main title music featured the singing of Guy Fletcher.

Main characters[edit]

  • Mr. WillmakeManager of the factory
  • Miss McClackerty – Mr. Willmake's secretary
  • Mr. Sprott – Chief designer
  • Tracy James – Assistant designer
  • Mr. Duncan – Foreman
  • Ted Turner – Chief machine operator (who shows a number of influences of Bruce Forsyth).
  • Roy Willing – Assistant machine operator
  • Mrs. Tupp – The tea lady
  • Panjid ShakarForklift truck operator
  • Nell and Flo – Packer and Stacker
  • T.O.M. – Talk Operated Machine, a robot designed by Tracy and built by Bertha to perform odd jobs around the factory

Goods manufactured by Bertha throughout the series[edit]

Original broadcast dates[edit]

Bertha premiered on BBC1 on 1 April 1985 at 3:55 pm. The next six episodes were shown over the following weeks, omitting the Easter and May Day holidays, and episodes 8–11 were first broadcast at the end of an autumn rerun. The BBC did not comply with an ordered schedule for the airing of the program, and the last two episodes premiered in 1986 during a third run.[1]

List of episodes and first broadcast dates[edit]

# Title Broadcast Date Product Produced Summary
1 The Great Painting Job 1 April 1985 Jigsaw Puzzles Tracy designs a robot called T.O.M. (Talk Operated Machine) to help at the factory.
2 The Windmills 15 April 1985 Musical Windmill Money Boxes Mr.Sprott's money boxes are working well, but how do you get the coin out?
3 Mouse in the Works 22 April 1985 Jack-In-The-Boxes Panjid and the rest of the factory try to stop a mouse from nibbling their boxes.
4 The Best Machine Competition 29 April 1985 Spinning Tops When Mr Willmake wants Mr Sprott to design the best toy for a competition, Mr Duncan wants it to be made by a new machine, but everyone else wants it to be made by Bertha
5 Tom Gets Lost 13 May 1985 Building Blocks A magnet fries T.O.M.'s brain, so he scares the rest of the Spottiswood factory by disappearing.
6 The Flying Bear 20 May 1985 Inflatable Bears On a very hot day, Bertha is making plastic bears. Why do they keep growing?
7 The Tea Nurse 3 June 1985 Watering Cans Bertha is working slowly, and Mrs.Tupp comes to the rescue.
8 More Speed, Less Work 5 November 1985 Garden Gnomes While Mr. Willmake is at a meeting, Mr. Duncan closes down Bertha, who was making garden gnomes.
9 The Big Order 12 November 1985 Springs Bertha has to make 365 springs but Tom and Roy have trouble with the twinging[clarification needed] steel.
10 The Burglars 19 November 1985 Jumping Kangaroos Burglars break into the factory and steal money.
11 Bertha's Birthday Party 26 November 1985 Cuckoo Clocks On Bertha's 50th anniversary, Roy wonders why the hands on a clock are called hands.
12 The Big Sneeze 16 April 1986 Beach Balls Bertha gets cold and sneezes so strongly that she causes havoc in the factory.
13 Tom's New Friend 18 June 1986 Sponges Mrs. Tupp is cross about a new vending machine, but Tom soon fixes it.

UK VHS and DVD Releases[edit]

In 1987, after the episodes were shown on TV, the BBC released one video of the show.

VHS video title Year of release Episodes
Bertha- The Flying Bear (BBCV 4075) 1987 A Mouse in the Works, TOM Gets Lost, The Flying Bear, The Burglars

Hallmark and Carlton Home Entertainment released the first four episodes on a single video in 1994.

VHS video title Year of release Episodes
Bertha (3007340123) 1994 The Great Painting Job, The Windmills, Mouse in the Works, The Best Machine Competition

Credits[edit]

  • Written by: Eric Charles
  • Narration by: Roy Kinnear
  • Voices By: Roy Kinnear and Sheila Walker
  • Music and Lyrics by: Bryan Daly
  • Director Of Animation: Derek Mogford
  • Series Designed and Directed by: Ivor Wood
  • Film Editor: Martin Bohan
  • Song Vocals: Guy Fletcher,
  • Recorded at: Havoc House Studios
  • Sound by: Clive Pendry
  • Produced by: Woodland Animations Ltd
  • © Woodland Animations Ltd MCMLXXXV

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "TV TOONS: Bertha (1985)". Toonhound: cartoons, animation, comic strips and puppets in the UK. Woodland Animations. 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 

External links[edit]