|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2009)|
|Created by||Michael Jupp|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||52|
|Running time||22 minutes per episode|
|Original channel||ITV Network (CITV)|
|Original release||25 September 1990 – 28 March 1995|
The Dreamstone is a British animated television series that ran for 4 series of 13 episodes each between 1990 and 1995. The original concept and artwork were created by Michael Jupp and the series was written by Sue Radley and Martin Gates, the same team behind another cartoon series Bimble's Bucket (with original concept and artwork by Michael Jupp). The series was produced by Martin Gates Productions (MGP) for a wholly owned subsidiary of Central (a part of Independent Television) and FilmFair. (MGP famous for producing, after The Dreamstone, Bimble's Bucket, and others. Subsequently, MGP appointed Monster Entertainment of Dublin to act as worldwide distributor of these rights.
The Dreamstone is set in an alternative world called 'The Land of Dreams,' and concerns itself principally with the struggle between good (personified by The Dream Maker, a Merlin-esque white magician), and evil (personified by Zordrak, Lord of Nightmares).
The Land of Dreams
The Land of Dreams is peopled by Noops and Wuts (the defenders of the land, who fly around on leaves and ward off Zordrak's evil forces with staffs that have orbs of light attached to them, through which they communicate).
- The Dream Maker (voiced by John Franklyn-Robbins): Wise, kind and very old. He always wears blue gloves. We don't often see his feet because he floats six inches off the ground instead of walking. He carries the responsibility of creating and sending dreams to the whole world. In early episodes, the Dream Maker was something of a more frail and befuddled eccentric (with his guard dogfish Albert usually showing the greater clarity of the two), though his personality alters into a more strait-laced and dignified authority figure later on.
- Albert (voiced by Richard Tate): The Dream Maker's pet dogfish. The story goes that the Dream Maker saw Albert in a dream, and liked him so much he decided to make him real. Albert swims in air rather than water (having a strong dislike for swimming in it) and his personality is that of a loyal dog. Albert later became the mascot/logo for Martin Gates' production company.
- Rufus (voiced by Stuart Lock): A Noop who enjoys dreaming so much that he has vivid daydreams, which means he has trouble holding a job. After being fired from the waxworks in the first episode, Amberley suggests Rufus applies to be the Dream Maker's assistant, as he is perfectly qualified for it because of his constant daydreaming. Though Rufus lets his mind wander sometimes, and has a tendency to play around with things he shouldn't, he has a hidden creative mindset inside his spacey demeanor. Rufus is the main protagonist of the series, and more often than not saves the day, via bravery, resourcefulness or sheer dumb luck. Rufus' ("red haired" in Latin) was named after the red whiskers on his conceptual design, though this has not been confirmed by Mike himself.
- Amberley (voiced by Nancy Hendry): Rufus's best friend, Amberley is practical and resourceful and generally more lucid and responsible than Rufus. She is good at climbing drain pipes, jumping out of windows and is an ace leaf-flier. Her level headedness is sometimes clouded by her short temper however, which sometimes leads to her rushing into situations and getting captured (as much as the Urpneys wish she hadn't). She was named after Amberlay, West Sussex, a village creator Mike Jupp used to visit regularly.
- Pildit (voiced by Derek Wright): The leader of the Wuts and The Dream Maker's most trusted ally, he is often called upon to defend the Land of Dreams from Zordrak's forces. He and the Dream Maker are old friends and often help support each other. It is Pildit that teaches Rufus and Amberley how to use the special leaves the Wuts use to fly. Pildit is rather mellow and deadpan in terms of personality, a stark contrast to his grandmother.
- Wildit (voiced by Jacqueline Clarke): Pildit's grandmother. Hearty, fearless - the leader of The Wut Flying Squadron, she is as handy in a fight as her grandson. She has something of a crush on the Dream Maker. She is quite an eccentric character and tends to act younger than her years. Though when trouble comes she is just as good at planning as she is at having fun. She also goes in for aerobatics.
- Spildit (voiced by Ellie Beaven): Pildit's niece. A hyperactive and very talkative little female Wut who is prone to getting herself in trouble. She has something of a more friendly rivalry with the Urpneys, often taking pity on them during their less antagonistic moments or even obliviously assisting with their schemes.
- Mr. Blossom (voiced by Anthony Jackson): The Dream Maker's gardener, is an elderly Wut for whom the garden takes precedence over everything, including the Dreamstone being stolen and the end of the world. He works hard and complains constantly, often due to acting as collateral damage to the ongoing feud. He has a very squeaky wheelbarrow.
- Wottles: The Wottles look very similar to Wuts, only they are much smaller and cuter and have furry chests. Their job is to look after the Dream Bottle trees from underground to make sure they are healthy. Two Wottles who often join Rufus and Amberley in their adventures are called "Hat" and "Egg".
- Planet Dreamstone: The planet itself seems to be a sentient being, able to talk to other characters. It speaks with a gentle, female voice, and is also a figure of authority in the Council of Dreammakers. Being the source of power for all Dreamstones in the universe, the planet is very powerful, and actually fights with Zordrak in "Megattack".
The Land of Nightmares
The Land of Nightmares, also known as the dark side of the planet, is populated mostly by Urpneys, who basically resemble human beings except for the large bulbous nose and tails. They live in Viltheed, a tall black mountain in which resides Zordrak. Although all the Urpneys in Viltheed are male, female Urpneys do exist, as Urpgor has both an auntie and a niece.
- Zordrak (voiced by Gary Martin): The Lord of Nightmares and the principal antagonist of the series. He resembles a large dragon, and is characterized by a deep, demonic voice. He stands at least fifty feet high, and spends much of his time sitting on his throne dispensing punishment to wayward Urpneys. Zordrak was once a Dream Maker himself. He was ejected from the council for turning dreams into nightmares, and transformed himself into a monster, vowing vengeance. His fearsome appearance is a sharp contrast with the simple cartoon-like style of his Urpney henchmen. While not physically disabled, he very rarely moves from his throne, and can transform into a mist/apparition in order to leave Viltheed in which he only did in two episodes, "The Knitted Balloon" and "Spildit". While playing a palpable role in Season One, concocting plans or even taking direct involvement, his role diminishes in later seasons in favor of the Urpneys playing the main antagonists. His initial motive for stealing the stone is so he could freely send nightmares to the Sleeping World, but in "A Day Out" he reveals his intention to use it's powers to make himself Lord of the Universe. In Mike Jupp's original draft of the story, Zordrak was known as Nasta Shelfim.
- Urpgor (voiced by Leonard Whiting (Series 1-3), Colin Marsh* (Series 4) : The chief (and, it seems only) Urpney scientist. For reasons that are never explained, he has green skin, pink mohican-style hair and orange eyebrows. He habitually wears a white lab coat and three pairs of glasses on the end of his nose. In the fine tradition of cartoon scientists he is also completely mad and is often seen insanely bounding around, having fallen in love with his latest invention. Publicly hates the other Urpneys, and secretly covets Zordrak's throne. He is prone to make weird noises and expressions as he talks. On the whole his inventions always work but are often let down by their extreme Heath Robinson complexity and reliance on Urpney muscle power to operate them. Although he starts the series with a minor role, he appears in every single episode (bar the first half of the Opening Special), with several episodes centered around the character. *The actor who played Urpgor in Series 4 was a bit of a mystery to fans, however it had been confirmed by Monster Entertainment (the current distribution rights holders of the show) who the actor is.
- Sergeant Blob (voiced by Richard Tate): Exploited, gung ho and not very bright, he is the military leader of the Urpneys, who takes over Operation Dreamstone after the former commanding officer, Captain Crigg, is executed at the start of the first episode. He usually has Nug and Frizz accompany him on missions, having appointed them his 'elite squad' in the pilot episode because they were too slow to run off with the others. It is later revealed that the two are corporals, possibly having been promoted during the first series. Blob seems to suffer from malapropism, for example, saying "sensationalise" instead of "surprise".
- Corporal Frizz (voiced by Melvyn Hayes): An Urpney whose cowardice knows no bounds. Finds himself in a position of responsibility simply because he could not run away as fast as the others. He would much rather be at home with some sandwiches than fighting deadly Noops. He was voiced by Melvyn Hayes, who played something of a similar character in the sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum. Frizz seems to be an Urpney that appreciates the arts. A recurring device in the series is that, at the end of each episode, Frizz speaks the final lines. This occurs in all but five episodes. In the first season he wears glasses, but these appear less frequently in the second season, and disappear completely by the third season. He dislikes Urpgor more than the other Urpneys, and on a few occasions tries to attack him (notably after meeting Urpgor's aunt).
- Corporal Nug (voiced by Anthony Jackson): Another of Blob's cowardly Urpney squad (if not to the same neurotic levels as Frizz). Though Nug can often come across as rather dopey and vacuous in demeanor, he sometimes shows himself to be more perceptive than the other Urpneys, sometimes suggesting good ideas, which are usually adopted by Blob and passed off as his own. He also shows himself to be rather savvy about the conditions the team go through, to sometimes grim assumptions. Speaks with a thick Brummie accent.
- Captain Crigg: The original commander of the Urpneys, a weak leader and cowardly excuse-maker. Crigg questioned Zordrak's leadership and frequently fell behind schedule, and so an enraged Zordrak dropped him into the Pit of No Return, where he was eaten by the Fraznats. Blob was then promoted into Crigg's place.
- Argorribles: Ghostly purple clouds that Zordrak sends out each night to deliver nightmares to the sleeping world. The power of the Dreamstone is often far too much for them and so only occasionally do they slip through. However, with the power of the Nightmare stone the Argorribles are powered up and are more likely to bypass the Dreamstone's defenses. Though usually thwarted from making a full scale attack on the Land Of Dreams, the Argorribles have a handful of large victories throughout the show's run. They are incorporeal, although one is briefly made solid in the episode "Horrible Argorrible".
- Zarag (voiced by Jacqueline Clarke): Zordrak's sister, who was shut up in a bottle for five hundred years until accidentally being released by Nug. It is suggested in Zarag that she was once romantically involved with the Dream Maker, who claims she is incredibly clever, though also very vain. She also wants the Dreamstone, but to wear in her hair rather than to unleash nightmares on the unsuspecting world. She also tried gaining servants through 'Obedience Drops' in Zarag Rules. Her last appearance was The Substitute where, in an arrangement with the Urpneys, posed as a Dream Maker before the Noops, corrupting their dream bottles with Argoribbles and attempting to steal the stone. She appears to be more humanoid then her brother, though shares his ambitions and foul temper.
- Fraznats: Creatures that live in the Pit of No Return and feed on Urpneys, but one time ate sweets and chocolates as seen in "The Invisible Blob". They resemble a cross between a shark, a serpent and a Venus Flytrap, with lobster-like pincers.
- Urpgor's Auntie (voiced by Sheila Steafal): Urpgor's Auntie (her real name is not mentioned on the show) lives on the planet Tempus Fugit, where she has placed traps for unexpected visitors should they dare to go there. She is just as (if not more) psychotic, obnoxious and conniving as her nephew, Urpgor. She shares several of Urpgor's distinguishing features (green skin, pink hair and glasses). She later gains a similar sense of ambition, attempting to steal the Dreamstone for herself in a team up with her nephew.
- Urpip (voiced by Scarlet Strallen): Urpgor's troublesome niece, although it is unknown which brother or sister of Urpgor she is the daughter of. She is as intelligent and obnoxious as her uncle, and likes to use big words. She causes trouble, although this is a result of childish curiosity. She looks like a younger version of Urpgor, with several of his distinguishing features, and is a rarity among Urpneys due to idolizing her insane uncle tremendously.
- Blooge, Boff, Erk and Sniff: A team of Urpneys chosen to sabotage dreams in the Dream Beam Invasion'.' They are also frequent background characters in several other episodes.
- Jailer: A fat purple Urpney who wears an executioner's hood. In The Nightmare Stone, Urpgor fried him with the Nightmare Stone. However he somehow came back in The Return of The Nightmare Stone, when arresting Urpgor.
- Other Urpneys: Aside from the three main Urpney characters (four counting Urpgor), there were also a number of other Urpneys who occasionally had lines of dialogue, and a few of them were given names.
The Dreamstone aired between 1990 and 1995 with a total of 52 episodes. Each episode has basically the same plot - Zordrak instructs his henchmen to steal the Dreamstone, which he plans to destroy, so that nightmares will plague the sleeping world. The plan usually involves Urpgor, his right-hand man and scientist inventing some means with which the Urpneys - led by Sergeant Blob, an archetypal Sergeant Major type - crosses the Mist of Limbo (a vast Purple Mist) to get to the Land of Dreams. The plan invariably fails, the main problem being the cowardice and incompetence of the Urpneys, who often want no more than to 'go home' and get some sandwiches.
In the hour-long special of The Dreamstone (A combination of The Dreamstone and Into Viltheed. or The Dreamstone: Parts 1 and 2) or 'The Opening Special', there were three scenes that were not seen in the normal episode of 'The Dreamstone.'
- One was when Rufus was told off by Mr Wacks for being late again, in which took place right after Rufus spoke to Amberley. Rufus was ordered to fill a basket with candles, he did so, but as he put the candles in, he started to daydream about being a performing clown, juggling the candles that then turned into objects and animals. Rufus was then interrupted by Amberley, in which then caused him to drop and break the candles. Amberley picked up the candles and walked away saying 'Daydreaming again!' The original soundtrack has the juggling music in, right between the musketeer and the beginning music for the Wacks Wicks Works track. You may also find when Rufus was going to cut the candles from the rack, that some broken candles were still seen on the floor from the deleted scene.
- The Whirlyped Launch scene has the music muted until the Whirlyped is airborne.
- When Rufus shows Amberley the laughter box, and took out some of the laughter bubbles, alternate sounds of laughter can be heard from them.
- After Rufus saw the whirlyped fly away with The Dreamstone and Amberley, as Rufus tried to tell The Dreammaker on what'd happened, he then asked Rufus on what was he doing in the tower? Rufus told the Dreammaker that he was showing off as he tried to impress Amberley, but after seeing that the Urpneys had taken her away and have The Dreamstone, the Dreammaker then said "Oh this is disastrous, you've failed me Rufus." before saying the lines that was in the normal episode. In the remix Dreamdance, you could actually hear The Dreammaker saying that line that was cut off from the normal episode.
- When Rufus said that he will sneak The Dreamstone out of Zordrak's nose, he then said that he is small and no one will notice him, but was then interrupted by the Dreammaker who then said "Rufus, that'll be an extremely difficult and a dangerous undertaking!" Rufus then asked please on letting him have a try, that then led up to the final lines to what The Dreammaker had to say, which is also on the normal episode.
- In early repeats of the opening special, Rufus' dream sequence set to 'Better Than A Dream' was edited out, due to the limited amount of time on the TV for standard length episodes. This would also explain the edits for the later versions of The Dreamstone opening special.
The deleted scenes were included in the TV movie 'Opening Special' and is only available on video from the Video Collection in the UK, a release in Australia and possibly the only US Dreamstone video from Fisher-Price. The recently released UK DVD contains the dream sequence, but the other scenes are still deleted.
The show was notable for its musical score, which is practically unique among cartoons in that it was performed by a full-size professional orchestra, namely the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The score, by Mike Batt, was heavily characterised by the use of leitmotifs and thematic variations, particularly on the two main songs used in the series, Better than a Dream (characterising the good characters) and War Song of the Urpneys (characterising the evil characters).
Ozzy Osbourne, Frank Bruno, and Billy Connolly provided lead vocals on The War Song of the Urpneys single and album track, although the version heard in the series was largely sung by composer Mike Batt. Other artists who sang for The Dreamstone soundtrack included Bonnie Tyler, who recorded a duet with Mike entitled Into The Sunset. This song was supposed to be used as the show's official love song (especially towards Rufus and Amberley) but it was never used. Plus Joe Brown performed The Vile Brothers Mountain Band, which was used on the show, during the episode Albert Is Fishnapped.
The TV version of Better Than A Dream contained some different lyrics to the version included on the soundtrack. The TV version mostily reflected Rufus' personality, with the lyrics 'I always dream myself to somewhere else each night' and 'I know I dream much more than other people do'. The soundtrack version contained 'I used to dream myself to someone else each night' and 'Until I chanced upon this road that led to you', among a few other changes that were made to the song. Mike Batt also re-recorded the chorus, used in the ending credits from the latter part of Series 1 onwards till Series 4 in which was then shortened. In 2012, Katie Melua released a version of 'Better Than A Dream'. Mike Batt, is her current manager.
The soundtrack was re-released as part of the Mike Batt Music Cube released in December 2009 by Dramatico Records. However instead of the TV soundtrack, the CD features 5 newily recorded orchestral overtures, as well as Better Than A Dream, The War Song of the Urpneys and Into the Sunset and a shorter version of The Dreamdance which also omits the vocal clips from the show. The Vile Brothers Mountain Band was also omitted from the soundtrack.
TV soundtrack album listing (original release):
- Better Than A Dream - Mike Batt (3:04)
- The War Song Of The Urpneys - Billy Connolly, Ozzy Osbourne and Frank Bruno (4:44)
- Dreamdance (Theme From The Dreamstone) (10:07)
- Into The Sunset - Mike Batt and Bonnie Tyler (3:28)
- The Vile Bros Mountain Band - Joe Brown (4:19)
- The Dreamstone (Main Title) (2:10)
- Wack's Wicks Works (2:15)
- The Dream Maker (6:11)
- Whirlyped Launch (5:21)
- The Dreamstone Is Stolen (6:20)
- The Argorribles And The Egg Of Death (6:48)
- Rufus Succeeds (5:20)
TV soundtrack album listing (Music Cube re-release):
- Better Than A Dream - Mike Batt (3:08)
- The War Song of the Urpneys - Billy Connolly, Ozzy Osbourne and Frank Bruno (4:47)
- Dreamdance (Edited Version) (4:53)
- Into The Sunset - Mike Batt and Bonnie Tyler (3:32)
- Dreamstone Overture no.1 (6:57)
- Dreamstone Overture no.2 (4:48)
- Dreamstone Overture no.3 (5:31)
- Dreamstone Overture no.4 (4:49)
- Dreamstone Overture no.5 (4:03)
- This is not the only track to be called Dreamstone Overture no.5. On the 'Better Than A Dream' 7 inch vinyl and CD single versions, there's another track entitled 'Dreamstone Overture no.5', this version is different from the Music Cube re-release, in which it's actually an orchestral version of 'Into The Sunset' while the Dreamstone Overtures on the Music Cube re-release are small selections of orchestral tracks from the original TV series, half used in a few episodes in Season 3 and 4. The 'Dreamstone Overture no.5' that was present on the single ran for 6:48.
The Dreamstone soundtrack is currently out of print as of 2015.
Home media releases and worldwide airings
In the United Kingdom there were a few video releases from the Video Collection (VCI International, now known as 2 Entertain) covering all of Series 1 (including the unedited opening special) bar the episode Megattack; plus several releases of most episodes (but not all of them) from Series 1 from Tring International. Also in the UK BMG Video only released one video featuring 4 episodes of Series 2.
The first two episodes were originally combined to form the Opening Special which contained extra footage that was edited out from the 22 minute TV broadcast versions of the Opening Special. The first six episodes of this season have been released on DVD in the UK by Abbey Home Media. At the present time there are no plans to release more episodes on DVD, due to poor promotion and distribution of Filmfair's catalog by Abbey.
The videos can still be found on sites like Amazon and eBay's UK sites from time to time, as well as the DVD releases.
There were 6 videos from released by an Australian company called Reel Entertainment featuring the first 12 episodes of Series 3 released in 1997 only in Australia. There was also another video release, presumably of the first 3 episodes of Series 1 from Video Distributors International in 1992. In Australia, the episode title "Wottles" was actually spelled "Woitles" on Real's Volume 5 VHS release.
The show was aired in the commonwealth countries of Canada (on Showcase) and Australia (on ABC and Nickelodeon), it was also aired in Germany (on RTL II, KiKa (Kinderkanal)), Austria (on ORF 1) as 'Der Traumstein', and as 'Pedra Dos Sonhos' in Spain and Portugal. It also aired in most of South America such as Brazil and Argentina, but only Series 1 and 2 were aired there.
The episodes for Series 1 and 2 were available via Cookie Jar's video streaming site; Jaroo from 2010-2013, when the site closed down, due to new ownership of Cookie Jar itself.
The series is currently owned by Monster Entertainment, who is planning a home media release in the UK. However as of January 2015, it's unknown when the release will take place. On the Dreamstone Facebook page, there is a poll for fans to vote on which format(s) they wish for the show to be distributed on. The choices are DVD's by season, a complete DVD box set, a Blu-ray release and digital downloads. Monster will consider their options after an undisclosed period of time has passed.
- Showcase (1990–1995)
- Australia and New Zealand
- United States
- ORF 1 (1990–1995)
- Sri Lanka
Although the show is made in the United Kingdom, the cartoon itself was drawn in the Philippines. As with American produced cartoons, Martin Gates Productions used foreign studios for the overall animation work. Fil-Cartoons, owned by Hanna-Barbera, was utilized for series 1, while Moving Images International animated for series 2-4. (MII also animated most of Martin Gates' other productions throughout the 1990s, as well as other FilmFair productions such as Brown Bear's Wedding, White Bear's Secret, and much of series 1 of The Legends of Treasure Island. Fil-Cartoons who animated the first series of The Dreamstone would later be used to animate series 2 of The Legends of Treasure Island.)
In 1985, Mike Jupp and Martin Gates produced a pilot for the series entitled The Dream Thief. It was animated by the studio Mill Valley Animation in Novato in the US state of California when Mike was working in America. In this short pilot there were a few alterations to the TV series, most of which came from Jupp's original manuscript for the idea. The short also starred a 12-year-old Christian Bale as the voice of Rufus.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: The Dreamstone|
- TheDreamstone.org (formally The Ultimate Dreamstone Guide)
- Nyanko's Dreamstone site
- The Dreamstone at the Internet Movie Database