The Raggy Dolls
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|Created by||Melvyn Jacobson|
|Written by||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|
|No. of series||9|
|No. of episodes||112|
|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)
|Original channel||ITV Network / CITV|
|Original run||3 April 1986 – 20 December 1994|
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.
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.
The Raggy Dolls
- 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.
- 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.
- Natasha - A Russian Doll bought by Mrs Grimes.
- 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.
|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.|
|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.|
|27||501||16/11/1988||Hot Air Balloon||The dolls find a hot air balloon and float up to the sky.|
|28||502||23/11/1988||Ghosts||Dotty and the dolls went to the cave and they got chased away by the ghosts.|
|29||503||30/11/1988||The Tree House||The Raggy Dolls might build a tree house to live in.|
|30||504||07/12/1988||The Memory Machine||The Raggy Dolls saw a machine with memories.|
|31||505||14/12/1988||Doll Overboard||Back-to-Front decides to turn his head to the front and he walks on the plank and slips.|
|32||506||21/12/1988||The Unlikely Hedgehog||The dolls notice a hedgehog who gets lost.|
|33||601||19/07/1989||Easter Bunny||The dolls decide to dance with the bunny with the Easter eggs.|
|34||602||26/07/1989||In Days of Old||Sad Sack decides to tell Claude, Back-to-Front and Hi-Fi to exercise and tells Dotty, Princess and Lucy to jog.|
|35||603||02/08/1989||The Old Clock Lady||After being rescued by a kind old lady by thrown away by a dump, so the Raggy Dolls decide to fix the clocks for her.|
|36||604||09/08/1989||Peace and Quiet||It was a peaceful day in their new treehouse well except they were soon interrupted by jets and aeroplanes.|
|37||605||16/08/1989||We are Not Amused||The Raggy Dolls have found an amusement park but they soon discovered that it isn't much fun at all.|
|38||606||23/08/1989||The Lost Puppy||Mr Grimes was looking after his sister's naughty pet puppy as the Raggy Dolls had soon spotted him getting into all kinds of trouble and gets lost.|
|40||608||06/09/1989||The Terrible Storm|
|41||609||13/09/1989||The Stolen Parrot|
|46||704||19/07/1990||The Old Windmill|
|47||705||26/07/1990||The Little Carthorse|
|49||707||09/08/1990||The Teddy Bear's Picnic|
|51||709||23/08/1990||The Treasure Hunt|
|52||710||30/08/1990||Rupert the Roo|
|53||711||06/09/1990||Witch is Which?|
|56||714||27/09/1990||Lost in Space|
|58||716||11/10/1990||The Great Expedition|
|61||719||01/11/1990||The Toy Fair|
|63||721||15/11/1990||Grand Prix Dolls|
|66||801||06/09/1991||Old Fashioned Dolls|
|69||804||27/09/1991||The Great Outdoors|
|70||805||18/10/1991||The Lonely Echo|
|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|
|80||901||08/09/1992||The Royal County Show|
|82||903||22/09/1992||The Town Carnival|
|85||906||13/10/1992||High and Dry|
|87||908||03/11/1992||William the Conker|
|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|
|95||1003||12/10/1993||The Empty House|
|97||1005||26/10/1993||The Runaway Monkey|
|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|
|103||1101||11/10/1994||Off on a Honeymoon|
|104||1102||18/10/1994||A Mediterranean Cruise|
|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.|
- 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
Three videos (with 5 programmes each) were released during the early 90s by Castle Communications Plc, each featuring a selection of 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991 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.
- 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.
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