|Format||Children's television series|
|Created by||Anne Wood|
|Developed by||Ragdoll Productions for Cole Entertainment|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom
|No. of episodes||65|
|Running time||25 Min.|
Boohbah was a children's television show. It premiered in 2003 on ITV in the United Kingdom, and on 19 January 2004 in the United States on PBS until 2 July 2006. It was created by Anne Wood with scripts by Alan Dapre and Robin Stevens (of Pob fame). Anne Wood also created the children's show Teletubbies, and Boohbah is produced by the UK's Ragdoll Ltd. and the USA's PBS Kids. The similarity between this show and Teletubbies, both of which have a "science fiction" theme, is notable. One of the show's trademarks is a child's voice pronouncing the show's name in sing-song (BOOH.....BAH).
"Boohbah" means "doll" in Hebrew, but it is not clear if this influenced the name of the show, or even if the creators are aware of this.
Characters and features
They are five furry, gumdrop-shaped creatures played by actors in full body costumes, similar to the Teletubbies. Their thick, shimmery fur sparkles with tiny lights; their Kewpie doll style heads are hairless and feature big eyes with rows of lights for eyebrows. They do not speak, but instead make noises like squeaks, squeals, and clicks. The Boohbahs can retract their heads into their furry necks. Each Boohbah is a different color. They are:
- Humbah (Yellow) - Emma Ainsley
- Zumbah (Purple) - Alex Poulter
- Zing Zing Zingbah (Orange) - Cal Jaggers
- Jumbah (Blue) - Phil Hayes
- Jingbah (Pink) - Laura Pero
The Boohbahs can fly; part of their routine is to assemble into a circle, holding hands like skydivers. Each then emits a different musical note as a flash of colored light (matching the Boohbah's color) is sent out from their heads to a central point.
The Storypeople are a diverse group of familial characters who inhabit Storyland and there participate in various innocent vignettes inspired by the presents (see below). They exist as wholesome archetypes. They are:
- Grandmamma (Linda Kerr-Scott) – An elderly yet spry woman. She has white hair and wears a dark pink housedress, white sweater, white socks, and red sneakers.
- Grandpappa (Robin Stevens) – An elderly yet spry Caucasian man. He has white hair and a white moustache; he wears a long-sleeved yellow shirt, dark gray slacks, red suspenders, and white sneakers.
- Mrs. Lady (Harvey Virdi) – A heavyset Indian woman. She has dark hair and wears a loose light blue blouse, loose bright pink pants, and pink sneakers.
- Mr. Man (Mark Ramsey) – A husky African man. He is bald and wears a short-sleeved bright pink shirt, white trousers, and black trainers.
- Brother (Manuel Bravo) & Sister (Vee Vimolmal) – Always paired, they both appear to be in their late teens. Brother: A Latino boy with short dark hair; he wears a bright blue t-shirt, bright red knee-length shorts, and white trainers with pink laces. Sister: An Asian (Thai) girl with hip-length black hair in a long ponytail; she wears a bright red t-shirt, bright blue capri pants, and white trainers with pink laces.
- Auntie (Sachi Kimura) – An Asian (Japanese) woman. She has short black hair and wears a long-sleeved lavender blouse, black trousers, lavender socks, and black shoes.
- Little Dog Fido (Dash) – A Jack Russell Terrier. He wears a scarlet collar.
The Storypeople do not speak. (When Little Dog Fido appears, he gives an "arf!") Though they sometimes exhibit frustration or confusion, the Storypeople rarely, if ever, appear upset or sad. The Storyland segments are narrated by actor Chris Langham. In each episode the Storypeople magically receive an object sent to them by a child or group of children.
One of the common features in Boohbah is the Boohball. The Boohball, a glowing white ball, is where the Boohbahs live, and it appears out of nowhere in various parts of the show. It travels from country to country when it is called by children. Inside the Boohball is a spinning recharging pod, where the Boohbahs recharge energy. It resembles five deep spoons with the handles linked, or, alternately, the hammocks resemble five fig halves. The energy is created by the laughter of the children when playing with the Boohbahs, the Boohball, and the Storypeople.
The elements of the program
Each show follows the same sequence of events in every episode. The sequence of events are:
- Opening title. The Boohball flies over at least three out of 15 different countries (Australia, China, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Jamaica, Japan, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, United States)
- Boohbah warm up dance. The children call the Boohbahs by their names ("Jumbah, Humbah, Zing Zing Zingbah -- Booh!"), and then the Boohbahs join each other one by one in a simple dance. After all have joined in, the pace increases until all the Boohbahs are out of control. As a child calls out their names, they then freeze, stand spread-eagled, and retract their heads. When all have stopped, the children yell, "Booh!" and the Boohbahs fly upward into their circle formation.
- Present giving, in which a group of children bring "a present for the Storypeople" and they blow it into the Storyworld with the power of Boohbah magic. The present given will be the theme of the segment.
|Some examples of presents|
- Storyworld and the Storypeople, which is based on the present given in the last segment. During the segment, one or more of the Storypeople will find the present and interact with it. Often the Storypeople will encounter a problem, inspiring the unseen but observing children to say the magic word, which is "Boohbah!" This freezes the story and allows the children to blow another gift to the Storypeople, which enables the story to continue and lead to the problem's solution. These segments are filmed in Spain, unless the segments involve snow, in which case, the respective segment is filmed in Pinewood, England.
- Boohbah dance, where the Boohbahs perform a dance somewhat related to the "Storyworld and the Storypeople" segment. This dance is slightly more complex than the "warm up" dances.
- Look What I (or We) Can Do, shown in the American version in which actual children perform dances of their own. Three different dances are featured per show, and are simple so the home audience can follow along.
There are 104 twenty-five minute programs. The show has been removed from PBS Kids.
- Official Boohbah UK website
- The Boohbah Zone
- [wayback.archive.org/http://pbskids.org/boohbah/ WAYBACK MACHINE: Official Site]
- Boohbah at the Internet Movie Database
- Will Boohbah be next 'Teletubbies'? (MSNBC)