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De Bereboot (The Bear Boat) is a Dutch children's programme from the 1970s written by Lo Hartog van Banda. The first season was broadcast by NOS from October 2, 1976 to April 29, 1977. After a transfer to AVRO the second season ran from October 1, 1977 to September 30, 1978. No less than 407 episodes were made.
De Bereboot is kept afloat by a three-piece line-up; the white-moustachioed captain Brom (Grouch), a young panda called Maatje (Buddy) and a technician by the name of Brilbeer (Speccy Bear).
- Neel; landlady of resident pub Het Zeemanshuis (The Sailor's Home). This hippopotumus has a one-sided crush on the captain and loves to give him cuddle names.
- Kokki; the pub's Italian chef. Whenever something goes wrong he says "Santa Hoopla".
- Jimmy Bril (Jimmy Specs); a pop singer.
- Professor Knobbel (Dr. Knob); a mad genius who invents ill-working gadgets.
- Fred de Kei (Fred Rock); business-pig who fails to see beyond the dollar-signs in his eyes.
- Teun; a farmer whose eggs are transported by the bears.
- Guus Hap (Gus Bite); an ostrich who eats anything within eyesight to return it as a real surprise-egg.
- Alida; a snake who lives underwater. She insists on being referred to as a lady.
- Lorrelies; this mermaid is the only one for whom the captain shows his sensitive side.
- Juf (Miss); a strict school-teacher. She moved to Stupid Toddler's Island (Dutch; Dommedreumesseneiland) to supply the well-needed education.
The three bears enter the pub and start a conversation with Neel; halfway subject switches to one of their adventures. Because of the five-minute slot these were serialised over the course of two to five episodes, and oftens took place at the silliest of theme-isles. A few examples are the above mentioned Stupid Toddler's Island that served as a boobytrap for a robber who took great delight in claiming kids' pocket-money; Cake Island, where two bakers are constantly feeding this greedy geezer with pastries; Hat Island, where one's status can be judged by the size of his hat. The bears had even the (mis)fortune of meeting the permanently water-eyed inhabitants of Cryland (who referred to the captain as being fat when he told them to stop crying).
During their AVRO days the bears also hosted the Wednesday afternoon show Berebios (Bear's Flicks) at the local cinema with Fred selling the tickets. Apart from their own adventures they also aired Dutch-dubbed cartoons (from Hanna-Barbera, The Adventures of Tintin, and their Scandinavian peer Rasmus Klump). After cancellation of De Bereboot, the Wednesday slot changed its name into Kinderbios (Kid's Flicks) and remained for about a decade.
Merchandise & popularity resurgence
The images of Brom, Maatje and Brilbeer appeared on merchandise ranging from erasers to balloons; the latter even guesting in one of the episodes. A six tune sampler was available at a now defunct supermarket-chain as a taster of the album-formats.
In 1991, nine year after re-runs of the first season, De Bereboot was introduced to the new generation; this time on TROS. The original theme-tune was replaced with the one used for the AVRO-season and the episodes were slotted together as one. Later children's channel Kindernet (now Nickelodeon) took over with more success; by 2000 new merchandise was available including double VHS-tapes. These have yet to be converted onto DVD.