The Raggy Dolls

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Raggy Dolls
Raggydolls.jpg
Title card
Format Animated series
Created by Melvyn Jacobson
Written by Neil Innes
Starring Neil Innes
Narrated by Neil Innes
Theme music composer Neil Innes
Opening theme Raggy Dolls, Dolls like you and me
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 9
No. of episodes 112
Production
Executive producer(s) John Marsden
Producer(s) Jo Kemp / Neil Molyneux / Joy Whitby
Running time 10 minutes
Production company(s) Yorkshire Television (1986–1994)
Orchid Productions (1987–1994)
Distributor ITV Studios
Broadcast
Original channel ITV Network / CITV
Picture format 4:3
Original run 3 April 1986 – 20 December 1994

The Raggy Dolls is a 1980s British cartoon series for children, following the adventures of a motley collection of rejects from a toy factory, who live in a reject bin in a toy factory.

Plot[edit]

The series is set in Mr. Grimes' Toy Factory where, unless the doll is perfect, it is thrown into the Reject Bin. While unobserved by human eyes, the dolls come to life and climb out of the Reject Bin to have adventures. The series was designed to encourage children to think positively about physical handicaps, as well as teaching kindness, tolerance and humility towards others.

Production[edit]

The series was produced for Yorkshire Television from 3 April 1986 to 20 December 1994. It was created by Melvyn Jacobson, with scripts, narration and music by Neil Innes. Yorkshire Television produced the first two series of The Raggy Dolls before awarding the commission to Orchid Productions Limited in 1987. This was the first programme Yorkshire Television commissioned from an independent production company, and Orchid Productions went on to produce over 100 more episodes of the series. The initial animator for Yorkshire TV was Roy Evans, and consequently after the move to Orchid Productions Mark Mason took over the role, animating and storyboarding 26 episodes, and storyboarding and directing other animators on a further 26 episodes before moving onto work on other children's shows and being replaced by Peter Hale from the 7th series onwards.

The Raggy Dolls holds the record for the longest running children's series of its genre.[citation needed]

Characters[edit]

The Raggy Dolls[edit]

  • Sad Sack - A sample of a design that was deemed too expensive to mass-produce; his appearance is somewhat different from that of the others. He is the oldest of the seven Raggy Dolls in the Reject Bin. As his name suggests, he is very gloomy and cynical, but he still values his friendship with the other dolls.
  • Dotty - Takes a preference to leadership of the group, often acting in a bossy manner. She accidentally had paint spilt on her hair and clothing. Dotty's main catchphrase is: "Good thinking!"
  • Hi-Fi - Converses with stammer due to him being dropped during testing. It was also stated in episode "The Trouble with Claude" that he was wired incorrectly, hence the stammer. He always wears headphones.
  • Lucy - Holds limbs inadequately attached with nylon thread. She tends to act in a shy manner and is easily frightened, but is very kind-hearted and always loyal to her friends. Her bravery was first seen in the episode "Ghosts". She speaks with a Northern accent.
  • Back-To-Front - A handyman doll with a backward-facing head (as a result of the manufacturer putting his head on the wrong-way round) and a love of mechanics. Always staying calm in a crisis, "No problem!" is Back-To-Front's catchphrase.
  • Claude - A French doll, perfect in every way. He fell out of a box of dolls being shipped to France and was left behind, being put in the bin out of a lack of other places. He speaks with a French accent, and sometimes alternates between speaking English and French.
  • Princess - Created out of 'odds and ends' due to lack of material from manufacturer. Voice characterised by H-adding. As proven in the intro, Princess is the youngest of the original seven Raggy Dolls.
  • Ragamuffin - Wandering traveller doll who'd lost his owner and decided to spend his life taking in new sights and experiences. Introduced in the fifth series.[1]

Friends[edit]

  • Pumpernickle - A Scarecrow who is a friend to the Raggy Dolls.
  • Edward - Mr Grime's lost teddy bear who becomes a good friend to the Raggy Dolls.
  • Mr Marmalade - Mr Grime's pet cat who has a playful traits.
  • The Little Carthorse - A toy horse that shows curiosity with various items.
  • Cousin Tabitha - Pumpernickle's cousin who complains about her petticoat and hat being ravaged by crows.
  • Barbette - A French doll that Claude met that is on show, during a French exhebition.
  • Rufus - Farmer Brown's Sheepdog.
  • Rupert the Roo - An Australian toy kangaroo who becomes a friend to the Raggy Dolls.

Humans[edit]

  • Mr Oswald "Ozzie" Grimes - The owner of Mr Grime's toy factory
  • Cynthia - Appeared later in the series to be Mr Grime's love interest, and later wife.
  • Florrie Fosdyke - A kind cafeteria lady who's mostly very forgetful.
  • Farmer Brown - The farmer of One Pin Farm.
  • Andre G. Hamburger - An artist from New York who'd took Dotty and Back-to-Front for inspiration ideas for his work.
  • Toby Martin - A swindler who used the Raggy Dolls as prizes in his swindled coconut shy
  • Mr Barsley - A man who owns Belgravia Toys in London.

Episodes[edit]

Season 1
# Prod Air Date Title Summary
1 101 13/04/1986 The Flying Machine The very first episode of the series, in which the Raggy Dolls find a lost R.C. Aeroplane, and decide to fix it up and fly in it.
2 102 10/04/1986 The Big Top The Raggy Dolls wind up inside a circus tent and perform stunts as they try to make their way out.
3 103 17/04/1986 The Pigeon Race Whilst Hi Fi and Back-to-Front are out for a walk, they meet a homing pigeon that has become injured whilst tangled on some electric wires and they go to help him, with the help of the other dolls.
4 104 24/04/1986 The War of the Wizards With Back-to-Front's magic tricks being out of practice, Hi-Fi uses his metal detector to uncover a chest that has a real magic book in it, in which Back-to-Front uses to fix his head, but the book soon causes problems.
5 105 01/05/1986 The Special Offer The dolls are taken to Belgravia Toys in London for free, after its owner, Mr Barsley, buys a lot of Princess dolls for the shop. The dolls fear that they will be separated, which is what happens when Lucy is bought by a rich girl.
6 106 08/05/1986 The Litter Bugs After Sad Sack gets chased by a duckling, the Raggy Dolls discover that the peaceful area of a field they are in is being littered by an irresponsible family on a picnic.
7 201 20/11/1986 The Dark Wood When visiting the Dark Wood, the Raggy Dolls come to realise that the wood is in threat because of a poacher.
8 202 27/11/1986 The Funfair A man called Toby Martin takes the dolls from Mister Grimes for charity, without realising that they are going to be part in a con.
9 203 04/12/1986 Too Many Cooks When Florrie Flosdyke makes an awful cake for a cake making competition, Claude and the Raggy Dolls decide to help her out by replacing it with an even better cake.
10 204 11/12/1986 After the Storm After a storm has passed, the Raggy Dolls go to see Pumpernickle, but find him on the ground. They also notice that Farmer Brown is not around to help the animals, and with the help of Rufus the sheepdog, they find him stuck in an old mineshaft and help to rescue him.
11 205 18/12/1986 Christmas Dolls The Dolls go tobogganing and end up crashing into the doors of a children's hospital, where they become temporary Christmas presents to sick children.
12 206 19/02/1987 The Trouble with Claude Deciding to cheer Claude up, the dolls go to a French exhibit in a department store, from which Claude gets lost and meets another French doll called Barbette.
13 207 26/02/1987 Happy Binday It is Princess's binday, and she feels that she's being ignored as her friends get the preparations ready in secret. She decides to award them with a flight on Owl.
Season 2
# Prod Air Date Title Summary
14 301 13/11/1987 The Genius An American artist, Andre G. Hamburger needs inspiration for his new work, and takes Dotty and Back-to-Front. Only when Hi-Fi rescues them, do they end up making his art even more famous.
15 302 20/11/1987 Speaking French Claude teaches the Raggy Dolls French. At first Princess tries, then the rest of the Raggy Dolls except Sadsack, who thought it's silly, until he comes across a troubled French doll in an apple tree.
16 303 27/11/1987 The Winter Swan The Raggy Dolls find a Swan in distress one cold winter's night, and decide to help it.
17 304 04/12/1987 The Terrible Twins Mr Grime's nephews come to visit him for the weekend, and cause problems not just for him, but for the Raggy Dolls as well.
18 305 11/12/1987 Sports Day The Raggy Dolls were having a Sports Day, and everyone is enjoying it, except for poor Sad Sack.
19 306 08/01/1988 To the Rescue The Raggy Dolls help to repair a doll that they find thrown away at the dump.
20 401 19/08/1988 Spring Toys Mr Grimes is running out of ideas, and it is up to the Raggy Dolls to find some more, in order to keep his business running.
21 402 26/08/1988 A Trip to the Sea Mr Grimes goes to the seaside for his holiday, and the Raggy Dolls follow.
22 403 02/09/1988 The Royal Tour Princess feels like she is not royal enough, so the Raggy Dolls dress her up in royalty and give her a royal tour around the countryside, but things don't go according to plan when her coronet is stolen by a magpie and an fierce bull sees her red dress...
23 404 07/09/1988 Onion Soup Claude gets himself into a pickle, when he went after Onion soup, made by Florrie, and ends up being put inside a saucepan.
24 405 14/09/1988 Moving House Dotty decides that the dolls should move to a new home. But when night falls and a storm takes place, she climbs inside a tree to shelter. When the other Raggy Dolls hear she is in trouble, they build a raft and set off to the rescue.
25 406 21/09/1988 Factory Mice After giving a baby mouse some of their picnic food, the Raggy Dolls tell it of where they got it. The next day, the factory is overtaken by a huge hoard of mice, and they now have to find a way on getting rid of them.
26 407 28/09/1988 A Trip to France The Raggy Dolls sail on a toy boat and end up lost at sea. They reach a beach which Claude thinks is France, and camp there before sailing back home. In the end, Dotty discovers they were on an island in the middle of the sea.
Season 3
# Prod Air Date Title Summary
27 501 16/11/1988 Hot Air Balloon
28 502 23/11/1988 Ghosts
29 503 30/11/1988 The Tree House
30 504 07/12/1988 The Memory Machine
31 505 14/12/1988 Doll Overboard
32 506 21/12/1988 The Unlikely Hedgehog
33 601 19/07/1989 Easter Bunny
34 602 26/07/1989 In Days of Old
35 603 02/08/1989 The Old Clock Lady
36 604 09/08/1989 Peace and Quiet
37 605 16/08/1989 We are Not Amused
38 606 23/08/1989 The Lost Puppy
39 607 30/08/1989 Horse Sense
Season 4
# Prod Air Date Title Summary
40 608 06/09/1989 The Terrible Storm
41 609 13/09/1989 The Stolen Parrot
42 610 20/09/1989 Crazy Golf
43 701 28/06/1990 Pumpernickle's Party
44 702 05/07/1990 So Safari
45 703 12/07/1990 Making Faces
46 704 19/07/1990 The Old Windmill
47 705 26/07/1990 The Little Carthorse
48 706 02/08/1990 Making Jam
49 707 09/08/1990 The Teddy Bear's Picnic
50 708 16/08/1990 Mr Marmalade
51 709 23/08/1990 The Treasure Hunt
52 710 30/08/1990 Rupert the Roo
Season 5
# Prod Air Date Title Summary
53 711 06/09/1990 Witch is Which?
54 712 13/09/1990 Bonfire Night
55 713 20/09/1990 Rainbow's End
56 714 27/09/1990 Lost in Space
57 715 04/10/1990 Roman Ramblers
58 716 11/10/1990 The Great Expedition
59 717 18/10/1990 The Twitcher
60 718 25/10/1990 Too Bossy
61 719 01/11/1990 The Toy Fair
62 720 08/11/1990 Ragamuffin
63 721 15/11/1990 Grand Prix Dolls
64 722 22/11/1990 Fond Farewells
65 723 20/12/1990 Doctor Dolls
Season 6
# Prod Air Date Title Summary
66 801 06/09/1991 Old Fashioned Dolls
67 802 13/09/1991 Lady Luck
68 803 20/09/1991 Invisible Dolls
69 804 27/09/1991 The Great Outdoors
70 805 18/10/1991 The Lonely Echo
71 806 25/10/1991 Homeward Bound
72 807 01/11/1991 Railway Dolls
73 808 08/11/1991 Windy Weather
74 809 15/11/1991 Purple Diamonds
75 810 22/11/1991 The Giant Bumblebee
76 811 29/11/1991 The Return of the Roo
77 812 06/12/1991 The Boomerang Games
78 813 13/12/1991 Down on the Farm
79 814 20/12/1991 ?
Season 7
# Prod Air Date Title Summary
80 901 08/09/1992 The Royal County Show
81 902 15/09/1992 Open Day
82 903 22/09/1992 The Town Carnival
83 904 29/09/1992 Cave Dolls
84 905 06/10/1992 Barbeque Ball
85 906 13/10/1992 High and Dry
86 907 27/10/1992 Smugglers Cave
87 908 03/11/1992 William the Conker
88 909 10/11/1992 Bonnie Scotland
89 910 17/11/1992 On the Town
90 911 24/11/1992 Danger, Men at Work
91 912 01/12/1992 Sight Seeing Dolls
92 913 08/12/1992 Dolls on Wheels
Season 8
# Prod Air Date Title Summary
93 1001 28/09/1993 Robot Canteen
94 1002 05/10/1993 Mister Mole
95 1003 12/10/1993 The Empty House
96 1004 19/10/1993 Mon Repose
97 1005 26/10/1993 The Runaway Monkey
98 1006 02/11/1993 Lucy's Greenhouse
99 1007 09/11/1993 The Horrible Princesses
100 1008 16/11/1993 The Town Gala
101 1009 23/11/1993 Mr Grimes in Love
102 1010 07/12/1993 Wedding Bells
Season 9
# Prod Air Date Title Summary
103 1101 11/10/1994 Off on a Honeymoon
104 1102 18/10/1994 A Mediterranean Cruise
105 1103 25/10/1994 Stormy Weather
106 1104 01/11/1994 When in Rome
107 1105 08/11/1994 Just a Minotaur
108 1106 15/11/1994 The Eyes of Rani
109 1107 22/11/1994 Elephants do Forget
110 1108 06/12/1994 What's the Time?
111 1109 13/12/1994 The Russian Doll Natasha, a Russian Doll of seven in the care of Mrs. Grimes, gets friendly with the Raggy Dolls, Rupert the Roo and Old Edward.
112 1110 20/12/1994 Bored

Transmission Guide[edit]

  • Series 1a: 6 editions from 3 April 1986 - 8 May 1986
  • Series 1b: 7 editions from 20 November 1986 - 26 February 1987
  • Series 2a: 6 editions 13 November 1987 - 8 January 1988
  • Series 2b: 7 editions from 19 August 1988 - 28 September 1988
  • Series 3a: 6 editions from 16 November 1988 - 21 December 1988
  • Series 3b: 7 editions from 19 July 1989 - 30 August 1989
  • Series 4a: 3 editions from 11 December 1989 - 8 January 1990
  • Series 4b: 10 editions from 28 June 1990 - 30 August 1990
  • Series 5: 13 editions from 6 September 1990 - 20 December 1990
  • Series 6: 13 editions from 6 September 1991- 13 December 1991
  • Series 7: 13 editions from 8 September 1992 - 8 December 1992
  • Series 8: 10 editions from 28 September 1993 - 7 December 1993
  • Series 9 : 10 editions from 11 October 1994 - 20 December 1994

Merchandise[edit]

Three videos (with 5 programmes each) were released during the early 90s by Castle Communications Plc, each featuring a selection of 1986, 1987 and 1988 episodes narrated by Neil Innes.

  • The Raggy Dolls (CAV 1008) – The Big Top, After the Storm, The Dark Wood, The Genius, The Winter Swan
  • The Raggy Dolls 2 (CAV 1014) – The Flying Machine, The Pigeon Race, The Fun Fair, Too Many Cooks, The Terrible Twins.[2]
  • The Raggy Dolls 3 (CVI 1022) – Spring Toys, A Trip to the Sea, A Royal Tour, Onion Soup, Moving House

in the Spring of 1993 4 Front Video released one cassette under 'Pocket Money Video' range (Cat No. 0867323) with six episodes- The Flying Machine, The Pigeon Race, The Fun Fair, Spring Toys, A Trip to the Sea, A Royal Tour

The complete first series of The Raggy Dolls was released on DVD on 21 June 2010 through Revelation Films. The complete second series is available after being released on 18 October 2010. The complete third series is available after its release on 7 February 2011, the complete fourth series has been released for availability on 6 June 2011, but the complete fifth series (next in line) is of yet unknown for availability.

Books[edit]

A series of at least 8 books were published in 1990 by both Boxtree Limited (in association with Yorkshire Television Limited) and ABC Enterprises (for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation). The books were written or adapted by Neil Innes and illustrated by Steve Smallman. Titles include:

  • The Hot Air Balloon
  • In Days of Old
  • Moving House
  • The Royal Tour
  • The Stolen Parrot
  • The Tree House
  • A Trip to the Sea
  • We Are Not Amused

References[edit]

External links[edit]