Rex the Runt
|Rex the Runt|
The main characters.
(Left to right) Vince, Wendy, Bad Bob and Rex
|Created by||Richard Goleszowski|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Running time||10 minutes (approx.)|
|Original channel||BBC Two|
|Original run||21 December 1998 – 16 December 2001|
Rex the Runt is an animated claymation franchise, primarily consisting of a television show produced by Aardman Animations for BBC Bristol in association with EVA Entertainment and Egmont Imagination. Its main characters are four plasticine dogs: Rex, Wendy, Bad Bob and Vince.
The series began with a short, Ident, in 1989 directed by Richard Goleszowski. After a long gestation period this developed into two unaired shorts and then thirteen ten-minute episodes that first aired over two weeks on BBC2 from December 1998. A second thirteen episode series aired from September 2001 on the same channel. As well as the core cast guest voices included Paul Merton, Morwenna Banks, Judith Chalmers, Antoine de Caunes, Bob Holness, Bob Monkhouse, Jonathan Ross, Graham Norton, Arthur Smith, June Whitfield, Kathy Burke, Pam Ayres and Eddie Izzard.
The animation is unusual in that the models are almost two-dimensional and are animated to exaggerate this - they are flattened in appearance and animated on a sheet of glass with the backgrounds behind the sheet.
Rex, the protagonist — a timid, irritable runt. He is quick-witted and usually comes up with plans to get out of the scrapes the gang finds themselves in. However, he can also annoy the others by being a smart aleck. His favourite superhero is Rocket Raymond.
Bad Bob is a "big, fat slob", interested in food and TV. His friends, and occasionally even himself, describe him as a "Big, fat, jelly-wobbly, fat bast-", usually getting cut off towards the end. He is distinguishable by his eye patch, which changes from eye to eye, and often carries around a revolver almost the size of himself. However grumpy he might be, he is intelligent and loyal.
Wendy is the only female housemate, distinguishable by her eyelashes, pink colour, noticeably hemispheric breasts, and wears a pink bow on her head. She is cynical, sarcastic, and fiercely independent. Wendy provides solutions to problems albeit in a distant or non-caring way.
Vince is the pet of the household, although all four are dogs. He is distinguished by his prominent buckteeth and mismatched eyes. He speaks in single words or short disjointed phrases, his favourites being "Spaghetti", "Tuesday", "Jam", and "Trousers". Vince suffers from "Random Pavarotti Disease", causing him to randomly blurt out snatches of opera. While he appears to be unintelligent, he occasionally shows great ingenuity, for example by building an elaborate Heath Robinson machine designed to kill a mouse.
Doctor Dogg is a medical doctor who does not live in the same house as the others. Moustachioed, complacent and greedy, he's an opportunistic money-grabber, whose habitual charge for any treatment is "ten quid" - regardless of whether the cure works or does more harm than good. He isn't above using the main characters in medical research.
Arthur Dustcart, another semi-regular character, who first makes an appearance in the last episode of the first series, but appears quite frequently in the second. He is an ugly but experienced dustman, sporting sleepy mismatched eyes, a neckerchief, a pair of dirty underpants and a large nose with prominent nasal hair. Despite his grotesque appearance and smell, he and Wendy get on rather well, much to the annoyance of Rex. He becomes a friend of the household when he helps find Rex after he was turned into spaghetti.
Many one-off characters in Rex The Runt are voiced by various well-known UK celebrities. These include:
Mrs. Bloomers Head of Kumfy Kennels and treats dogs with care, until she put Vince in the kennel and he ate a chihuahua.
Judith Poodle Hostess of a holiday program and usually ends her sentences with "Ruff!".
Mr. Formal The Runts' bank manager, until Bad Bob brought his gun and made him think they were bank robbers.
Melting Blob Alien A 3-year-old, but very smart alien who warned the Runts about the black hole.
Kylie Mandlebrotska Rex's old math teacher, until she fell into the black hole.
Easter Island Aliens Three space aliens from the planet Thribb where the people look like the Moai statues from Easter Island.
Mr Chittock Angry neighbour to Rex, after the gang went into his house and drank his beer. Voiced by veteran alternative comedian Stephen Frost.
Johnny Saveloy A teenage sausage who was really very old but was kept in a state of artificial youth due to the Church of Chemicology.
The Happy Rabbits A band who may sing beautifully but are really cranky and will let anybody stand in their way.
References to other Aardman productions
Several episodes of Rex the Runt contain inside references to other television programmes created by Aardman Animations:
- In the episode "Adventures on Telly Part I", Wallace (from the Wallace and Gromit series) is washing the windows on Rex's house, until Bad Bob pushes his ladder over (in the film A Close Shave, Wallace operates a window washing business).
- Pib and Pog, two of Aardman's lesser known creations, are present in the spectator gallery during the courtroom scene from "The Trials of Wendy" and are also present in the audience watching Rex's band in "Stinky's Search for a Star"
- In the episode "Johnny Saveloy's Undoing", two of the jars containing the chemical essences of various stars are labelled "Wallace" and "Gromit". Another jar on the top shelf reads "Nick Park".
- The exorcist called upon in "Patio" is actually Morph, a character from an Aardman children's show, wearing a trench coat, hat, and large moustache.
- There are two references in the episode "Wayne the Zebra": A Chicken Run-style chicken is rejected during the auditions (with Bad Bob making a comment regarding the recent popularity of chickens, referring to the film's success), and Bad Bob consults the Aardman book Cracking Animation (ISBN 0-500-28168-8, published in the US as Creating 3-D Animation).
- The episode entitled "A Crap Day Out" may be a pun on the Wallace and Gromit short film A Grand Day Out.
- Whereas Wallace and Gromit live on "West Wallaby Street", it can be seen from the various post that arrives for the household that Rex and company live at "7, Marsupial Way, Rexford"
Series 1 (1998 - 1999)
|1||Holiday in Vince||The Runts try to cure Vince of his Random Pavarotti Disease (a Tourette syndrome-like singing of phrases of opera) by miniaturising a submarine to go on a journey though Vince's brain.||21 December 1998|
|2||Adventures on Telly, Part I||Bad Bob accidentally robs a bank.||21 December 1998|
|3||Adventures on Telly, Part II||The family is short of money again, and lend themselves to Dr. Dogg's animal experiments. NOTE: This episode is an expanded version of the pilot "North by North Pole".||22 December 1998|
|4||Adventures on Telly, Part III||After accidentally destroying the Earth, the Runts head towards a black hole.||22 December 1998|
|5||Bob's International Hiccup Centre||Bob loses his comic timing, so he turns to medicine.||23 December 1998|
|6||Easter Island||The Runts' helicopter lands on Easter Island, where they meet visiting aliens who resemble the local statues.||23 December 1998|
|7||Too Many Dogs||After Rex's house is stolen, the Runts go back in time to recover it, and meet parallel versions of themselves.||24 December 1998|
|8||The Trials of Wendy||Wendy is arrested after shooting Vince.||25 December 1998|
|9||Stinky's Search for a Star||The Runts enter a talent contest hoping to win enough money to pay the gas bill.||27 December 1998|
|10||Under the Duvet||The Runts visit the University of Love under their bed, while Vince falls in love with a vacuum cleaner.||30 December 1998|
|11||Johnny Saveloy's Undoing||Wendy joins Johnny Saveloy's following.||31 December 1998|
|12||The City Shrinkers||The Runts win Birmingham in the lottery. After shrinking it with their shrinking gun, Bad Bob and Wendy go on a city-shrinking craze.||31 December 1998|
|13||Carbonara||Rex is accidentally run through a sausage mincer, and must avoid the attentions of a hungry Vince.||1 January 1999|
Series 2 (2001)
|1||Mouse in Me Kitchen||Upon returning home, Rex finds that his kitchen has been occupied by a mouse.||23 September 2001|
|2||Wendy's Hot Date||Wendy gets a date with a handsome dog, who is also called Rex.||30 September 2001|
|3||Patio||The garden ants object when the Runts lay down a patio.||7 October 2001|
|4||A Crap Day Out||A new garden centre is opening, and Bad Bob needs a new shed.||14 October 2001|
|5||Slim Bob||Bad Bob consults Dr. Dogg about weight loss.||21 October 2001|
|6||Private Wendy||Vince, Wendy, Rex and Bob join the army.||28 October 2001|
|7||Rocket Raymond||The inhabitants of a distant planet believe that Rex is their hero, Rocket Raymond.||4 November 2001|
|8||The Plasticene Gene||Dr. Dogg cons Rex out of his ear, and later clones Vince.||11 November 2001|
|9||Wendy's New Hairdo||Wendy gets a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for her truth drug.||18 November 2001|
|10||Wayne the Zebra||With Rex on holiday, Bob is left in charge of a production involving "The Beast of Granite Moor", but can his choice for the star character, Wayne the Zebra, fulfil expectations?||25 November 2001|
|11||The Art of Cooking||Bad Bob steals Rex's food creations and enters them in an art exhibition.||2 December 2001|
|12||Bob Joins a Gang||Bad Bob joins a not-so-bad gang.||9 December 2001|
|13||Hole in the Garden||Bad Bob's lawn mower crashes through the garden and lands in Australia.||16 December 2001|
- Andrew Franks as Rex (series 1)
- Colin Rote as Rex (series 2)
- Kevin Wrench as Bad Bob (series 1)
- Andy Jeffers as Bad Bob (series 2)
- Elisabeth Hadley as Wendy
- Steve Box as Vince
- Paul Merton as Doctor Dogg
- Arthur Smith as Arthur Dustcart
- Morwenna Banks as Mrs Bloomers ("A Holiday in Vince")
- Judith Chalmers as Judith Poodle ("A Holiday in Vince", "The Trials of Wendy")
- Bob Holness as Mr Formal ("Adventures on Telly, Part I")
- Eddie Izzard as Melting Blob Man ("Adventures on Telly, Part III"), and Easter Island Head Aliens ("Easter Island")
- Kathy Burke as Kylie Mandelbrotska ("Adventures on Telly, Part III", "Rocket Raymond", "Wendy's New Hair Do")
- Antoine de Caunes as Stinky Basil ("Too Many Dogs", "Stinky's Search for a Star", "Bob's International Hiccup Centre"), and French Delegate ("Bob's International Hiccup Centre")
- June Whitfield as Judge Pikelet ("The Trials of Wendy")
- Simon Day as Constable Funnyname ("The Trials of Wendy", "Stinky's Search for a Star", "Bob Joins a Gang")
- Pam Ayres as Aunty Brenda ("Under the Duvet", "Slim Bob")
- Stanley Unwin as Mr Wangle, Accountant to the Stars ("Johnny Saveloy's Undoing")
- Bob Monkhouse as Johnny Saveloy ("Johnny Saveloy's Undoing", "The City Shrinkers")
- Tommy Cannon as Tiddles the Destroyer ("Mouse in Me Kitchen")
- Graham Norton as Osvaldo Halitosis ("Patio") and the Plants ("A Crap Day Out")
- Bobby Ball as Wayne ("Wayne the Zebra")
- Phill Jupitus as Morris the One-Gloved Mouse ("Mouse in Me Kitchen"), The Ants ("Patio") and Sergeant Major ("Private Wendy")
- Jonathan Ross as Handsome Rex ("Wendy's Hot Date") and Awards Announcer ("Wendy's New Hairdo")
- Loyd Grossman as himself ("The Art of Cooking")
- Writers: Richard Goleszowski, David Max Freedman, Alan Gilbey, Kevin Wrench & Andrew Franks
- Music & Theme Tune: Stuart Gordon
- Songs Composed by: Kevin Wrench & Andrew Franks
- Executive Producers: Mikael Shields, Steve Walsh (EVA Entertainment), Ulla Brockenhuus-Schack, Poul Kofod (Egmont Imagination)
- Series Producer: Michael Rose
- Producer: Jacqueline White
- Devised & Directed by: Richard Goleszowski
- Executive Producers for Aardman: Peter Lord, David Sproxton
- Executive Producer for BBC Bristol: Colin Rose
- An Aardman Animations Production for BBC Bristol in association with EVA Entertainment & Egmont Imagination
- Written by: Ben Caudell, Peter Holmes, Andrew Viner
- Original Music: Stuart Gordon, Ben Jones
- Executive Producer for BBC: Colin Rose
- Executive Producers for Egmont Imagination: Paul Kofod & Tom Van Waveren
- Executive Producers for Aardman: Peter Lord & David Sproxton, Michael Rose
- Producer: Jacqueline White
- Directed by: Richard Goleszowski, Dan Capozzi, Chris Sadler, Sam Fell, Peter Peake
- An Aardman Animations Production for BBC Bristol in association with Egmont Imagination
- Rex The Runt: The Complete First Season (VHS) (B00005NB24)
- Rex The Runt: The Complete Collection (DVD) (Region 0) (B000068QOF)
- Rex The Runt: Rainy Day Companion (Book written by Andrew Franks and Kevin Wrench, a.k.a. the voices of Rex and Bad Bob) (ISBN 0-340-74862-1)
- Aardman's Darkside (a compilation DVD featuring episodes of Rex The Runt, released on 18 October 2006) (DVD) (B000FS9SDM)
- Rex The Runt plush toys of the four main characters were available via Aardman at one point, as well as a handbag of Vince's head, though this is particularly rare.
- Sweets shaped like the main characters were available in the early 2000s
Underdog is an advertising character, first appearing in 2010, animated by Aardman Animations, in the same style as the Rex the Runt figures, but wearing bandages, promoting the personal injury claims company National Accident Helpline.
- Official website
- Aardman Animation at Atom
- Rex the Runt at the British Comedy Guide
- Rex the Runt at the Internet Movie Database
- Rex the Runt at TV.com