Bertha (TV series)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2011)|
|Format||Television series (children)|
|Developed by||Eric Charles
|Starring||Roy Kinnear (voice)
Sheila Walker (voice)
|Narrated by||Roy Kinnear|
|Theme music composer||Bryan Daly|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||15 minutes|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
- Mr. Willmake – Manager 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 Shakar – Forklift 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
- Windmill-shaped money boxes
- Garden gnomes
- Beach balls
- Nuts and bolts
- 365 springs
- Inflatable Plastic bears
- Bathroom sponges
- Cuckoo clocks
- Spinning tops
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Watering cans
- Building blocks
- Electric kangaroos
- T.O.M. – a robot
- A mechanical toy soldier for a contest
Original broadcast dates
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.
List of episodes and first broadcast dates
|#||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
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|
in 2004 Rights Entertainment (distributed by Universal Pictures UK Ltd) only released one DVD with the same four episodes as the Hallmark/Carlton Home Entertainment. but for some strange reason on that DVD The Best Machine Competition was actually the episode of More Speed, Less Work.
Though unconfirmed, the BBC may have released more Bertha videos and according to the BBFC website lots more Bertha videos were released, each lasting one hour and all being classified in 1986. They're titles were: BERTHA 1, BERTHA 2 and BERTHA 3.
Also, according to a Youtube user an unknown company released all 13 episodes on one DVD; but due to an unconfirmed reason this disc has become very rare and unknown. This too, is unconfirmed. Episodes are now available on Love Film.
- 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
- "TV TOONS: Bertha (1985)". Toonhound: cartoons, animation, comic strips and puppets in the UK. Woodland Animations. 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2012.