Hooves of Fire

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"Hooves of Fire"
Robbie the Reindeer episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 1
Directed by Richard Goleszowski
Written by Andy Riley, Kevin Cecil and Richard Curtis
Production code BBC
Original air date 25 December 1999 [1]

Hooves of Fire is one of three animated BBC Christmas comedy television specials, filmed using stop motion techniques, and presented in aid of Comic Relief.

Story[edit]

The story begins when Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer's slacker son, Robbie, arrives at the town of Coldchester in the North Pole in August to be the navigator for the sleigh team.

Robbie has a nose that's like a GPS and can detect anything. Donner, a female reindeer, has taken an interest in Robbie and vies for his affections, but alas, he's fallen for Vixen, who doesn't return his affections.

However, Robbie has an enemy in the sleigh team's captain Blitzen, who was his father's arch-rival. He encourages Robbie to carry his lazy ways, and even hands him a pipe, a newspaper and a cheeseburger with large fries. Blinded by Blitzen's kindness, Robbie is unaware that in fact, Blitzen wants to rid Robbie from the team.

A very hip and fashion-conscious Santa Claus (nicknamed Weirdy Beardy, by the reindeer), throws a party - complete with singing by Seal (an actual seal) - to show off his new sleigh equipped with a talking ash tray and new navigation system. Fearing his place on the team gone, Santa assures Robbie that he still has a place, granted he is fit and in shape. Realizing that he isn't, Robbie sadly leaves the team, after Blitzen tells him that they'd blame his father for a possible late Christmas.

Robbie, outside, is later picked up by a group of elves who discover him after he's been frozen in an icecube. He begs to stay with them, and is hired as an assemblyman, where after failing to paint lipstick on a doll, ends up stuffed inside a box, prompting the head elf to demote him to sweeping.

Robbie's lack of concentration gets him demoted to being a forklift, after they discover him using spare toy parts to make new toys: Sebastian Muscle whale and OctoMonkey. Donner arrives at the elves' factory and discovers Robbie and reveals Blitzen's true intentions and convinces him, that if he wants his place on the team, he can compete in the Reindeer Games. After looking for "Wise Old Coaches Who Can Save The Day" in the phone book, Robbie and Donner visit to Old Jingle, a mad old coach, who lives in a teetering house on the top of Pointy Mountain. He decides to take Robbie on as a pupil. In his celebratory happiness, his house slides down the hill. Old Jingle convinces Robbie that if he wants to pull the sleigh, he must win one key event: the Steeple Chase.

Robbie begins his training with Donner, close by. Old Jingle teaches him the Nose Jump. After his training, the day before, Old Jingle realizes his house is perfect at the bottom of the hill, but hours later, being "raving mad", he decides to move it back. When he lets go, Old Jingle's house slides back down the hill, trapping Old Jingle underneath it. The elves are unable to get him out.

The day of the games, Blitzen takes drugs to enhance his performance and Robbie shows off his speed by saving Mrs. Claus' baby from being squashed by one of the Three Ten Tonners (a trio of singing walruses who parody the Three Tenors), after he falls from the stage. Blitzen is alarmed, and Vixen decides to use Robbie's crush to prevent him from running against Blitzen. However, he refuses, and has now fallen for Donner.

As the race is about to begin, Robbie abandons the race to rescue Old Jingle (using Sebastian and OctoMonkey). Nevertheless, he manages to join the race late, and catches up thanks to his heavy training and using the Nose Jump. A photo finish is taken between himself and Blitzen - and he sees to his horror that Blitzen has won. He is then stampeded by the other competitors. However, he is given a kiss from Donner, and in his happiness promptly beats every single record for every single event.

Happily, watching the event on television, mad Old Jingle proposes to head elf, who accepts.

As Blitzen is arrested for taking drugs, Robbie is given the sleigh by Santa and takes Donner to the moon and enjoy a romantic day together. It then shows Blitzen painting Robbie dolls in prison, Vixen hitchhiking out of the North Pole, Prancer playing air guitar with a tennis racket, and Santa washing his underwear.

Voices[edit]

This UK animation has been aired in both America and Britain. Each had its own dubbing

British[edit]

In the original British production, Robbie was voiced by Ardal O'Hanlon. Other voices were provided by Jane Horrocks (Donner), Steve Coogan (Blitzen), Caroline Quentin (Vixen), Ricky Tomlinson (Santa), Paul Whitehouse (Prancer), Harry Enfield (Old Jingle), Jeff Goldblum, David Attenborough (a cameo as himself), Seal as a singing seal performing Crazy, and impressionist Alistair McGowan taking off Alan Hansen (portrayed as a snowman), Tony Anscombe as Elf 3 and Des Lynam (as a yeti).

American[edit]

The program was first shown in the United States on Fox Family with the original British voices until 2001. CBS then acquired the rights and began airing the special in 2002. However, the program was redubbed with American accents. Ben Stiller voiced Robbie, while other voices included Britney Spears (Donner), Leah Remini (Vixen), Hugh Grant (Blitzen), Dick Enberg (in a cameo) (Allen Snowan), Brad Garrett (Prancer), and Stiller's father Jerry (Jingle and a talking garbage bag).

Japanese[edit]

Awards[edit]

Hooves of Fire won the 2000 BAFTA for Best Entertainment (Programme or Series).[1] It was also honored at the 3rd International Festival of Animated Feature Films and TV Specials where it won the prize for Best TV Special.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bafta TV awards: The winners 15 May 2000, BBC News. Retrieved 15 November 2007
  2. ^ KAFF 2002 - Díjak (English: "KAFF 2002 - Award"). Kecskeméti Animáció Film Fesztivál. 2002.