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Created by Janet Ahlberg
Allan Ahlberg
Written by Jocelyn Stevenson
Starring Griff Rhys Jones
Music by Ernie Wood
Country of origin Wales, United Kingdom
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 12
Producer(s) Naomi Jones
Editor(s) Robert Francis
Running time 5 minutes
Production company(s) William Heinemann Ltd.
BBC Enterprises
Original network S4C
Original release 29 September – 15 December 1992

Funnybones was a British children's television comedy series, which originally aired on S4C in Wales, and BBC One elsewhere in the UK from 29 September to 15 December 1992.

It was based on the eponymous series of nine storybooks, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, which were illustrated by André Amstutz, and focused on the adventures of a pair of skeletons who were the eponymous Funnybones, Published in 1980. There was Big Funnybone (whose catchphrase was "Good idea."), Little Funnybone (who was the brains of the group), (White, White) Dog ("These Bones") Funnybone (whose catchphrase was "Woof.") and (Black, Black) Cat (whose catchphrase was "Meow."). Each of the show's twelve episodes was five minutes in length.

The voices were provided by popular comedian Griff Rhys Jones, who also sang the theme song as the Moon Man.

Main characters[edit]

  • Big: The larger skeleton brother (who wore a red bowler hat). He admitted "good idea" on every idea he approved of from Little.
  • Little: The smaller skeleton brother (who did not wear a hat), but came up with many ideas for the crew to do in every episode.
  • Dog: The pet dog of the skeleton brothers who loved bones, digging holes, and found everything that the skeleton brothers need.
  • Cat: The pet black cat of the skeleton brothers, who always got chased by Dog. Unlike other characters, she was not a skeleton.
  • Mr. Bonehead: The skeleton owner of the pet shop, who Big and Little took Dog into with a view to swapping him for another pet.
  • Dr. Bones: The doctor skeleton who helped Big and Little to stop them bumping in the night in the episode "Bumps in the Night".

Episode guide via storybook comparison[edit]

On the television series of Funnybones, six episodes have the same title based on the storybooks, but three had different titles of storybooks based on the same episode, and the other three never had a storybook applicable to them. The final episode of the television series, however, was based on the first storybook of Funnybones, and the first episode of it was based on the second storybook. All twelve episodes were originally shown on BBC One as part of the Children's BBC strand on Tuesdays at 4:00pm.

Title of Episode Title of Storybook based on Air Date Summary
1. The Pet Shop 2. Same title 29 September 1992[1] Big and Little decide to swap Dog for another pet, because all he does is bark and dig holes. But after Big and Little couldn't find a perfect pet as the others caused nothing but problems, they decided to swap them back for Dog.
2. Bumps in the Night 4. Same title 6 October 1992[2] It is a particularly dark, dark night tonight, and Big and Little keep bumping into each other, making them fall to pieces, and there is only one thing to do: send for Dr. Bones, who does a great job of patching them up to stop them bumping in the night.
3. Give the Dog a Bone 5. Same title 13 October 1992[3] Dog is having his favourite dream - the one about a big, juicy bone.
4. Dinosaurs 6. Dinosaur Dreams 20 October 1992[4] Dog gets left behind when Big and Little decide to visit the dark, dark dinosaur museum. When Dog follows Big and Little to the dinosaur museum, he thinks a huge, huge dinosaur wanted to hurt them.
5. The Ghost Train 7. Same title 27 October 1992[5] Big, Little and Dog are invited to take a trip on the Ghost Train full of ghosts and monsters to the dark, dark seaside and back again.
6. Skeleton Crew 8. Same title 3 November 1992[6] The Funnybones are on a boat holiday on the dark, dark sea before a dark, dark thunderstorm takes them home on their raft.
7. Mystery Tour 9. Same title 10 November 1992[7] The Funnybones receive an invitation to a party at the end of a Mystery Tour.
8. Wishbone N/A 17 November 1992[8] The Funnybones find a huge wishbone, and try to decide which one of them has the best idea for what to wish for.
9. Shake, Rattle and Roll N/A 24 November 1992[9] The Funnybones decide to put on a show and Cat keeps getting told to go away.
10. Cat Chase 3. The Black Cat 1 December 1992[10] What happens when the white, white Dog disappears in the white, white snow and the black, black Cat disappears in the dark, dark shadows?
11. City Nights N/A 8 December 1992[11] Little gets bored with the quiet life on the dark, dark hill. So he decides to go to the city before he gets worried about Big and Dog getting lost.
12. Night Fright 1. Funnybones 15 December 1992[12] Cat gets left behind when the skeletons decide to go out and frighten anybody they come across.

A BBC video, entitled, Funnybones – Bumps in the Night (Cat. No. BBCV 4871), which contained all twelve episodes, was released soon after the series ended, but this is now out of print. The VHS tape was also released in Bulgaria and Australia, respectively by the companies Proxima Entertainment and ABC Video (but in the former case it was dubbed into Bulgarian).


This was one of several cartoons dubbed by the then-new Irish post production company Telegael to demonstrate children's programming possibilities for a proposed Irish language television station. The result, entitled Smior agus Smiortán (translated to the English language as Marrow & Smiortán), was broadcast on Ireland's two national television stations, RTÉ1 and 2, in 1993.

The series also aired on ABC in Australia, from 1 February 1994 to 28 January 1999, and on FOX Family Channel in the United States, as part of Mister Moose's Fun Time, a spinoff from The All New Captain Kangaroo.


External links[edit]