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|Created by||Anne Wood|
|Developed by||Ragdoll Productions|
|Narrated by||Chris Langham|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||104|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production company(s)||BBC Worldwide Limited
Nick Jr. UK
|Original release||14 April 2003 – 6 January 2006|
In the Night Garden...
Boohbah is a British children's television programme created by Anne Wood. It premiered on 14 April 2003 on ITV in the United Kingdom, followed by its Nick Jr. UK premiere on 30 September 2003. The series is produced by Ragdoll Productions.
The series ran for three seasons, with a total of 104 episodes.
The series focuses on the Boohbahs: five plump, fuzzy, furry, gumdrop-shaped creatures played by actors in full-body costumes. Their fur sparkles and shimmers with tiny lights, and they are hairless with big eyes and rows of lights for eyebrows. They do not speak; instead, they make noises such as squeaks, squeals, "poofs", and clicks. The Boohbahs can retract their heads into their furry necks. Each Boohbah is a different colour.
A list of the Boohbahs is available below.
- Humbah, portrayed by Emma Insley, is a yellow Boohbah.
- Zumbah, portrayed by Alex Poulter, is a purple Boohbah.
- Zing Zing Zingbah, portrayed by Cal Jaggers, is an orange Boohbah.
- Jumbah, portrayed by Phil Hayes, is a blue Boohbah.
- Jingbah, portrayed by Laura Pero, is a pink Boohbah.
The Boohbahs can fly; part of their routine is to assemble into a circle, holding hands like skydivers. Each then emits a different musical note as a flash of coloured light (matching the Boohbah's colour) is sent out from their heads to a central point.
The Boohbahs were designed and made by costume and creature designer, Vin Burnham. The costumes consist of, according to a Telegraph article on the show, "thousands of differently coloured ruffled bits of material hand-painted with a special reflective substance, [and] wired up with 500 tiny lights", are inflated, and include what appear to be radio-controlled eyes, head, and eyebrows.
The Storypeople are a diverse group of familial characters who inhabit Storyworld and there participate in various vignettes inspired by the presents (see below). They are:
- Grandmamma (Linda Kerr-Scott) – An elderly yet spry Caucasian woman. She has white banana hair and wears a dark pink housedress, white sweater, white socks, and red sneakers.
- Grandpappa (Robin Stevens) – An elderly yet spry Caucasian man. He has white hair and a white moustache; he wears a long-sleeved yellow shirt, dark gray slacks, red braces, and white trainers.
- Mrs. Lady (Harvey Virdi) – A heavyset Indian woman. She has dark hair and wears a loose light blue blouse, loose bright pink pants, and pink sneakers.
- Mr. Man (Mark Ramsey) – A husky black man. He is bald and wears a short-sleeved bright pink shirt, white trousers, and black trainers.
- Brother (Manuel Bravo) and Sister (Vee Vimolmal) – Always paired, they both appear to be in their late teens. Brother: A Latino boy with short black hair; he wears a bright blue T-shirt, bright red knee-length shorts, and white trainers with pink laces. Sister: A Thai girl with hip-length black hair in a long ponytail; she wears a bright red T-shirt, bright blue capri pants, and white trainers with pink laces.
- Auntie (Sachi Kimura) – A Japanese woman. She has short black hair and wears a long-sleeved lavender blouse, black trousers, lavender socks, and black shoes.
- Little Dog Fido (Dash) – A Jack Russell Terrier. He wears a red collar.
The Storypeople do not speak. (When Little Dog Fido appears, he gives an "arf!") Though they sometimes exhibit frustration or confusion, the Storypeople rarely, if ever, appear upset or sad. The Storyworld segments are narrated by actor Chris Langham. In each episode the Storypeople magically receive an object sent to them by a child or group of children.
Each episode follows the same sequence of events. This is:
- Opening title. The Boohball flies over at least two out of 15 different countries (Three in the American version) (Australia, China, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Jamaica, Japan, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, United States).
- Arrival of the Boohbahs. After the Boohball finishes its flight, it hits a patch of grass, in turn forming a rainbow spiral. As we follow the Boohball's path, the show's title appears, and we begin to ascend upward. We then go inside the Boohball and discover what appears to be five creatures sleeping in hammock-esque pods. As we come across each creature sleeping in its pod, the pods begin to spin around each other, and we are introduced to the Boohbahs ("Humbah - Zumbah - Zing Zing Zingbah - Jumbah - Jingbah") as children voiceovers wake them up by saying their names. When each Boohbah's name is called, its head pops up, and they move their eyes while making a clicking sound. After each Boohbah has awakened, they all struggle themselves out of their pod while expelling air. The children call out "Booh!", which in turn sends the Boohbahs out of the Boohball and into a large dome-like area called the Boohzone. They send out a coloured musical note toward the bottom of the Boohzone, which causes it to flash furiously and the Boohbahs to fly around their territory.
- Boohbah warm up dance. All five Boohbahs land at a pale blue-coloured "room" and begin running around. Suddenly, the children begin saying their names in a random order, and the Boohbahs join each other one by one in a simple dance. When each Boohbah is called up to the screen, their eyebrows light up, and they look around. After all have joined in, the pace increases until all the Boohbahs are out of control. When they fully lose control, a rainbow comes out of nowhere, and the Boohbahs begin to run around again. As a child calls out their names, one by one, they freeze, stand spread-eagled, and retract their heads. When each Boohbah is completely still, the children yell "Booh!" and the Boohbahs, making air bellowing noises, fly upward into their circle formation. They begin to release yet more musical notes into the Boohball and seemingly disappear inside it.
- Present giving, in which a group of children bring "a present for the Storypeople" and they blow it into Storyworld with the power of Boohbah magic. The present given will be the theme of the segment.
- Storyworld and the Storypeople, which is based on the present given in the last segment. During the segment, one or more of the Storypeople (a diverse cast of familial characters) will find the present and interact with it. Often the Storypeople will encounter a problem, inspiring the unseen but observing children to say the magic word, which is "Boohbah!" This freezes the story and allows the children to blow another gift to the Storypeople, which enables the story to continue and lead to the problem's solution. These segments are filmed in Spain between Málaga and Tarifa.
- Boohbah dance, during which the Boohbahs perform a dance somewhat related to the "Storyworld and the Storypeople" segment. This dance is slightly more complex than the "warm up" dances. Often, these dances will contain sequences where the Boohbahs run into each other and fall over, leave the ground, or are placed at a downward position.
- Transition to "Look What I Can Do". After the dance sequence above is over, another rainbow appears, and a child whispers out "Boohbah...". The camera comes across the Boohzone flashing wildly, and the Boohbahs fly out of the Boohzone and into the Boohball, forming their circle formation halfway. They then fly into their pods, nestle themselves inside, and retract their heads. When each Boohbah is tucked snugly in its pod, they begin to spin around each other again and the Boohball flies to another country far away.
- Look What I Can Do, shown in the American version in which actual children perform dances of their own. Three different dances are featured per show, and are simple so that the home audience can follow along.
One of the common features in Boohbah is the Boohball. The Boohball, a glowing white ball, is where the Boohbahs live, and it appears out of nowhere in various parts of the show. It travels from country to country when it is called by children. Inside the Boohball is a set of pods on a round, spinning base, where the Boohbahs recharge energy. It resembles five fuzzy ladle-like charger pods with the handles and fronts linked to what appear to be currents of the Boohbahs' "energy"; one can also say the pods are the Boohbahs' beds or they resemble five fig halves. The energy is created by the laughter of the children when playing with the Boohbahs, the Boohball, and the Storypeople.
The main setting of Boohbah is the Boohzone, which is the Boohbahs' habitat. The Boohzone can be compared to a multi-coloured dome with bubbles on its walls, and a rainbow streak leading up to the Boohball. In the middle of the Boohzone is a coloured walkway leading to a spot that resembles either a rainbow spiral or a blank circle when the Boohbahs come down to that area to dance. In the introductions to the "Storyworld" segments, some children will come into the Boohzone to give a present to the Storypeople, and the Boohball will pick it up and send it to Storyworld.
104 episodes were produced.
- Skipping Rope
- Pearly Shells
- Rope and Rock
- Musical Pipe
- Record Player
- Squeaky Socks
- A Pile of Balls
- Painting the Fence
- Big Bass Drum
- Squeaky Seesaw
- Jack in the Box