Budgie the Little Helicopter

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Budgie the Little Helicopter
Budgie the little helicopter.jpg
Budgie the Little Helicopter Titles
Genre Animated series
Created by HRH The Duchess of York
(now Sarah, Duchess of York)
Developed by Sleepy Kids[1]
Written by Brian Trueman
Theme music composer Dennis C. Brown
Opening theme Paul K. Joyce
(Main Title Theme)
Ending theme Instrumental Theme
Country of origin United Kingdom
United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 39
Executive producer(s) Dan Maddicot
Martin Powell
Viven Schrager Powell
Fred Wolf
Producer(s) Michael Algar
Running time 10 minutes
Production company(s) Fred Wolf Films
Sleepy Kids
HTV West
Sarah, Duchess of York
Scottish Television Enterprises[2]
Original network ITV[3]
Original release 4 January 1994 (1994-01-04) – 25 March 1996 (1996-03-25)

Budgie the Little Helicopter is a series of children's books and animated television series relating to a fictional character 'Budgie' and his friends.[4] The characters were based on the books by Sarah, Duchess of York.[5] The show was coproduced by Fred Wolf Films Dublin, The Sleepy Kids Company and Sarah, Duchess of York for The west version of HTV for ITV and Scottish Television Enterprises, and originally aired on British television in 1994 on CITV, where it ran for 39 episodes. A range of videos, books, and toys were released under the Budgie label.

On release of the first book, the Duchess was accused by the media of copying the idea for the series from an out-of-print 1960 book Hector the Helicopter, by A.W. Baldwin, which she denied.[6]


Aircraft characters[edit]

Main aircraft[edit]

  • Budgie the Little Helicopter (Voiced by Richard Pearce) — Budgie is a small blue helicopter (that seems to resemble a Bell 206) with a big yellow cap covering his entire airframe. He lives and works at Harefield Airfield, and he and Pippa are best friends. He can be cheeky and troublesome, but he works hard too, and continuously tries to please Lionel. He will also bravely come to the assistance of people in danger. He hates going through the heli-wash, and avoids doing so whenever he can. A white teddy bear named Snowy can almost always be seen carried in a pocket on Budgie's starboard side (although in "Budgie Takes a Catch", Snowy was replaced by two lollipops). His catchphrase is "Rocketing Rotors!"
  • Pippa the Green Plane (voiced by Abigail MacVean) — Pippa (inspired by a Piper Warrior aircraft) is a small green single-engined monoplane with a tuft of yellow hair and a big pink bow. She was the second aircraft to arrive at Harefield Airfield, and at first, teased Budgie and called him a yo-yo. After a race and several comparisons about who was the best, they both became firm friends. She enjoys helping out, and also loves using the heli-wash (as opposed to Budgie).
  • Chuck the American Helicopter (voiced by Kerry Shale) (was stated in the second TV episode as being a Boeing CH-47 Chinook) - is a twin-rotored helicopter. He comes from America and does not understand British English well. He sometimes gets cocky and likes to show off, but this led him to trouble when he disrupted an air show and finished up in a pond. He also has a bad habit of calling Lionel "Captain".
  • Lionel the Aircraft in Charge (voiced by Jeremy Nicholas) - Lionel is the senior helicopter in the series (influenced by a Westland Lynx). He does not take kindly to Budgie, Pippa, or especially Chuck causing trouble and making themselves nuisances, but he keeps things in order with his patient but firm ways. He insists on cleanliness from all aircraft at all times. His catchphrase is "Juddering joysticks!"

Other aircraft[edit]

  • Patsy the American stunt plane (was stated by Lionel as being a Pitt's Special).
  • Wally the old Supermarine Walrus
  • Jean Claude the pompous French Concorde
  • Jasper Jeer-jet. Jasper was a joker to start off and kept on radioing Harefield Airfield pretending there was an emergency, but when he really did need help in a storm, Budgie came to his rescue, and since then Jasper has realised it is not a good idea to play the fool all the time.
  • Henley the three-winged propeller-driven 1930's airliner
  • Olivia The Edgley Optica
  • Dougie The Police Helicopter (only in Eye in The Sky)
  • The Emerald Helicopter (only in Eye in The Sky)
  • Unnamed Boeing 747 jet plane in The Plane that Cried Wolf
  • The naughty Piper plane, Pippa's "double" (only in Double Trouble)
  • Aircraft Carrier Helicopter
  • Gloria The Glider
  • Mini Planes (only appeared in Deep Sleep)
  • Three other gliders
  • Gus the Guppy (based on an Aero Spacelines Super Guppy), is a huge American transport aircraft.
  • Harvey the grey Royal Navy BAE Sea Harrier jet fighter. Harvey appeared in All at Sea and Boats, Boots and Budgie. His name was revealed in Blown Up Let down. He speaks with a traditional Royal Navy pilot voice.
  • Harvey's 2 BAE Sea Harrier brothers
  • Buddy the Sikorsky Skycrane
  • 3 French Super Jets (from Budgie Barges In)
  • Genevieve – a French female Jodel D11 aircraft (The Air Show and Budgie Barges In)
  • White jet plane with blue line (only appeared in magazines)
  • Other planes and helicopters (only appeared in books)
  • Monsieur the Mime Helicopter (only appeared in books)
  • Bobby the Blue Helicopter (only appeared in books)
  • Western the Mexican Plane (only appeared in books)
  • Unnamed blue helicopter (only appeared in magazines)
  • Hot air balloons (only appeared in The Balloon Goes Up)
  • Spaceship (only appeared in magazines)

Non-aircraft characters[edit]

  • Dell the yellow Baggage cart Towing Truck (voiced by Jeff Rawle, who also serves as the narrator)
  • Smokey the airfield fire engine
  • Don the blue stairs lorry
  • Ernest the tractor
  • Julie the posh purple vintage car
  • Nosey the driller (spoofed on The Three Stooges)
  • Backhoe the Backhoe Loader (spoofed on The Three Stooges)
  • Sonia The Limousine
  • Jake the Steam Train
  • Fred the Canal Barge
  • Harry The Inflatable Boat (only appeared in Blown Up Let Down)
  • Gimbus The Cement Mixer (only appeared in Budgie Sticks To It)
  • Cubey the Stuck Up ROV Submarine (only appeared in the last episode)
  • Sharkey The Aircraft Carrier (only appeared in the book Budgie Goes To The Sea)
  • Unnamed Blue Car (only appeared in Boom Boom Budgie)
  • Pirate Ship (only appeared in magazines)
  • Tugboat (only appeared in magazines)
  • Aircraft Carriers (only appeared in books)

Human characters[edit]

Animal characters[edit]


UK VHS releases[edit]

VHS Title VHS number Release date Episodes
Budgie the Little Helicopter Pippa Arrives VA30318 7 March 1994 Pippa Arrives, Chuck Comes Unstuck, Budgie's Blizzard, Ice Work, Budgie, Budgie Takes a Catch
Budgie the Little Helicopter The Air Show VA30336 7 November 1994 The Air Show, All At Sea, Boats, Boots and Budgie, Copters and Robbers
Budgie the Little Helicopter Daydreams and Candy Floss VA30359 6 March 1995 Daydreams and Candy Floss, Flying in Arctic Circles, What's Bruin?, Down on the Farm
Budgie the Little Helicopter Budgie Sticks To It VA30372 3 July 1995 Budgie Sticks To It, Skids, Stunts and Soap, Aliens Have Landed, Who's A Clever Budgie?, Blown Up, Let Down
Budgie the Little Helicopter Wally Waddles In VA30394 6 November 1995 Wally Waddles In, The Balloon Goes Up, Surprise, Surprise, Deep Sleep
Budgie the Little Helicopter The Complete First Series VA30626 13 May 1996 Pippa Arrives, Chuck Comes Unstuck, Budgie's Blizzard, Ice Work, Budgie, Budgie Takes a Catch, The Air Show, All At Sea, Boats, Boots and Budgie, Copters and Robbers, Daydreams and Candy Floss, Flying in Arctic Circles, What's Bruin?, Down on the Farm
Budgie the Little Helicopter The Complete Second Series VA30647 7 October 1996 Budgie Sticks To It, Skids, Stunts and Soap, Aliens Have Landed, Who's A Clever Budgie?, Blown Up, Let Down, Wally Waddles In, The Balloon Goes Up, Surprise, Surprise, Deep Sleep, Bad News, Good News, Budgie Barges In, Dutch Courage, Budgie's Opening Goal
Budgie the Little Helicopter The Complete Third Series VA30680 3 March 1997 Boom Boom Budgie, Writers in the Sky, Double Trouble, Eye in the Sky, Chuck's Buddy, The Aqueduct, Plane Silly, The Plane Who Cried Wolf, The Runaway Train, A Tail of Woe, Put Up or Stuck Up, Silent Flight, Ups & Downs


Season 1 (1994)[edit]

title information
Pippa Arrives Pippa, the new arrival, comes to Harefield.
Chuck Comes Unstuck Harefield fete soon comes to Harefield.
Budgie's Blizzard Budgie gets trapped in a snowstorm after taking a pregnant woman to hospital when she is about to have her baby. Will Lionel and the other aircraft be able to rescue him?
Ice Work, Budgie The next morning Budgie and friends set off for home but Budgie and Pippa spot skiers skiing on a slope. They go down to have look as Lionel and Chuck head back to the airfield. A little while later Budgie lands on a snowy hill and slips on it.
Budgie Takes a Catch Budgie, Pippa and Lionel are delivering fish to an opening of a fish museum, and Budgie goes off to look around, but when he tries to find his way back he ends up getting lost. Can Lionel and Pippa find him in time?
The Air Show Budgie gets helinapped by two crooks and his friends have to rescue him.
All At Sea Budgie is delivering space parts to a navy ship and has to spend the night on an aircraft carrier and accidentally falls overboard.
Boats, Boots and Budgie The river overflows flooding the airport and a cow has to move to another field. Budgie however gets pretty much trapped himself. His tow line unravels and gets caught in some seaweed. The seaweed comes off its stalk and smacks into a rock and Budgie thinks it is a sea monster and thinks that it is attacking him.
Copters and Robbers Budgie accidentally gets helinapped again by the two crooks that his friends battled during the air show, and doesn't know what to do. When he cries out for help Pippa and Chuck go to rescue him.
Daydreams and Candy Floss Budgie gets stuck on a broken roller coaster at the seaside and Pippa must try to do her best to help him.
Flying in Arctic Circles Budgie takes a nap in a big hole in the Arctic Circle and Pippa wakes him up by warning him that the hole he is in is a volcano. Budgie looks down at the lava and tells Pippa that he is trapped. Pippa quickly radios Chuck and Lionel to come and rescue Budgie.
What's Bruin? In the arctic circle, Budgie is still trapped in the volcano and Lionel and Chuck rescue him.
Down on the Farm Farmer Hayes falls ill and cannot do his daily chores, so the aircraft decide to join in, but Lionel's engine overheats and it causes a fire putting Lionel in danger.

Season 2 (1995)[edit]

title information
Budgie Sticks To It While a new airport is getting built, Budgie decides to stick to it.
Skids, Stunts and Soap Patsy makes a visit to Harefield.
Aliens Have Landed While Lionel is on a job, Budgie hears that aliens are invading them.
Who's A Clever Budgie? Chuck brings in loads of nuts from Brazil.
Blown Up, Let Down Budgie gets trapped in the sea when he runs out of fuel.
Wally Waddles In Wally comes to Harefield.
The Balloon Goes Up A balloon festival is taking place near Harefield, but the balloon starts rising with the twins in it putting them in danger. Budgie tries to rescue them before the balloon gets away.
Surprise, Surprise Heavy pipes fall on the heliwash, damaging it, while Mrs. Kitchen is baking a cake for Ken.
Deep Sleep Wally recounts his time of saving a man from a shark.
Bad News, Good News Harefield is about to be closed to be replaced by a factory. Budgie immediately gets into action to prevent it from happening.
Budgie Barges In Budgie and the other aircraft travel across to France.
Dutch Courage On the way back from France, the aircraft have to drop a delivery off in Holland, but Budgie experiences a problem when he accidentally mistakes a windmill for a helicopter.
Budgie's Opening Goal The new Harefield is opened and Budgie aids as the Minister for Airports.

Season 3 (1996)[edit]

title information
Boom, Boom Budgie Budgie tries to break the sound barrier.
Writers in the Sky Chuck is towing two kites through the air and he crashlands into a pond.
Double Trouble Budgie and Chuck discover that Pippa got replaced by a double.
Eye in the Sky Budgie tasks as becoming a traffic helicopter for the day, but more trouble ensues in the process.
Chuck's Buddy Buddy has to put Budgie in charge for a day, which leads to a disaster.
The Aqueduct Budgie discovers that the water has disappeared.
Plane Silly Budgie has to search for Ben and Lucy's lost model airplane.
The Plane Who Cried Wolf Jasper has been constantly lying, so no one believes that he is in trouble. Budgie then comes to his aid.
The Runaway Train Jake is pulling the Royal Carriage and suddenly goes out of control on the track. Budgie goes out to stop him.
A Tail of Woe Lionel damages his main rotors, when he tries to avoid Ben and Lucy's rabbits. Budgie sets out to find a new replacement before the twins find the rabbits.
Put Up or Stuck Up The air museum has opened at Harefield and Budgie has to complete all his tasks on it.
Silent Flight The aircraft set out to rescue some skiers stranded on a snowy mountain.
Ups & Downs Chuck is punished by having to pick up all the rotten vegetables. Budgie is delivering pieces for a new bridge, but he soon spots two people trying to catch a dolphin and has to rescue a submarine.

CGI Series[edit]

A CGI remake of that series is in pre-production being produced by UmberellaFX, with Sophie Aldred voicing as Budgie.[7] [8] coming in 12 March 2018.

The New Adventures of Budgie the Little Helicopter, a new CGI version of the series has been started, co-produced by Nelvana and DreamWorks Animation Television.

Home video releases[edit]

In 1997, UAV Entertainment released some episodes of the series on individual VHS tapes and the complete series tapes were also released. A 1997 film special titled Budgie the Little Helicopter: The Movie also was released on VHS and Redesigned into a Theatrical-release by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment.[9] Two DVDs were released in the UK in 2004 and 2006 with selected episodes. In 2007 Jigsaw Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Australia and New Zealand.

International broadcast[edit]


  1. ^ "Budgie boost for Kids". Independent. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  2. ^ Eadie, Alison (1993-12-04). "Fergie's Budgie Coming to the US". Sun Sentinel. London. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  3. ^ Shepherd, John (1994-03-17). "Shares in Sleepy Kids doze". Independent. London. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  4. ^ Dullea, Georgia (1994-02-16). "AT TEA WITH: The Duchess of York; Mercy, Mischief and a Royal Fiction". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  5. ^ "Fergie's soaring". Canoe. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  6. ^ Starting over at 40
  7. ^ "Budgie The Little Helicopter SAMPLE, by UmbrellaFX". 
  8. ^ "Budgie The Little Helicopter - the best animated show ever". 
  9. ^ "Amazon.com Budgie the Little Helicopter: The Movie". 

External links[edit]