Johnson and Friends

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Johnson and Friends
JohnsonandFriendsTitleCard.png
Title card for the series, seen at the beginning of every episode.
Created by Ron Saunders
John Patterson
Ian Munro
Directed by Ian Munro
David Ogilvy
Starring See Cast section below.
Narrated by Paul Bertram
Composer(s) Chris Neal
Braedy Neal
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 78 (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Ron Saunders
Donna Mitroff
Jay Rayvid
Editor(s) Robin Archer
Neil Thumpston
Frans Vandenburg
Running time 10 mins
Production company(s) Film Australia
ABC
Avalon Studios
Fuji Television Network
Fox Children's Network
WQED
Release
Original network ABC
Picture format 4:3
Audio format Stereo
Original release 3 September 1990 – 30 October 1995

Johnson and Friends was an Australian children’s television program broadcast on the ABC from 3 September 1990 to 30 October 1995. It was produced by Film Australia and lasted four seasons. In the UK it was shown in 1993 on TCC, CBBC, and then on UK Living's Tiny Living strand for under-fives.[1] It was later aired in the United States with dubbed American voices as a segment on the Fox Cubhouse, an educational children's program on Fox Kids, from late 1994 to early 1996. The series was last repeated on ABC1 until 19 March 2002.

Plot[edit]

Johnson and his friends are toys that belong to a boy named Michael, unseen except for asleep in his bed. They reside in his bedroom, but do not move or show any signs of life until he has left the room or fallen asleep. Each episode involves a story about the toys and it will usually have a message to convey to the children about sharing, cheating, complaining or similar.

Themes[edit]

The series is aimed at children less than five years old, and plays upon their fascination with the notion that toys come to life when they are gone. However, the stories often have a deeper message, and sometimes they are very poignant. Often the toys live in terror that new toys will replace them, encouraging small children to look after old toys.

On one occasion McDuff was taken out into the real world. She rejected her friends because it was so wonderful, but eventually she regained her senses. One episode deals with the issue of having a TV in your child's room. The toys become completely addicted and Alfred watches it even when nothing is on. All the episodes convey gentle moral messages to young children whilst at the same time providing the lively colour and rambunctious gaiety that young children enjoy.

Characters[edit]

  • Johnson: The leader of the toys. A furry pink elephant who loves reading. Johnson is the wisest and oldest of the group, despite a shortcoming of not been able to count past one, and a tendency towards impatience sometimes.
  • McDuff: A blue and yellow concertina who loves having fun. Although she is a little silly, McDuff is a kind and loyal friend, especially towards the misunderstood Diesel.
  • Diesel: A red toy truck with a yellow and black hat that spends most of his time going "bruuum, bruuum" around the floor. He speaks with a very pronounced Australian accent. Although brusque, he means well and is obviously fond of his friends.
  • Alfred: A green hot water bottle, which is technically not a toy. He is a real fusspot and lives in the dark, dank area of the bedroom that is under the bed. He is neurotic and anxious and complains constantly. His face wears an aggrieved expression, but it is Alfred that supplies a lot of the humour. He also owns an old "banana skin blanket" which he is very protective of. Although grumpy and sometimes selfish, Alfred is generally good natured and helps Johnson out on his endeavours.
  • Squeaky: A black and red robot. She guards the bedroom while Michael is asleep and loves singing to herself. She is childlike and believes that the vacuum cleaner is her mother. She does not appear in every episode.
  • Victoria: A slow-moving orange and purple dinosaur that actually belongs to Michael's elder sister, Melissa; Victoria will appear at the door with some bad news she has just heard, e.g. "They're going on holiday and they can't take any toys with them!"
  • Alphonse: Alfred's long lost friend from the hot water bottle factory, he mentions that he and Alfred are both very musically talented and were once known as "The Hot Water Rockers".
  • Albert: Another hot water bottle acquaintance of Alfred's, Albert is known for his temper, and is even less tolerable than Alfred!
  • Alfred's Friends: Aside from Alphonse and Albert, Alfred is shown to have many hot water bottle friends, whom he has invited to the bedroom at least once.
  • Michael: The boy who owns the toys, he is only seen while asleep, in the form of a dummy, but is frequently mentioned throughout the series.
  • Melissa: Michael's sister who is the owner of Victoria. She is never seen on screen, only mentioned.
  • Michael's Mum and Dad: Michael's parents are occasionally mentioned throughout the series, however, they never appear physically.
  • Michael's Aunt and Uncle: Michael's Aunt and Uncle are mentioned very briefly in one of the episodes.
  • Baby: Michael's infant cousin made a non-physical appearance in one of the episodes.

Cast[edit]

Character Costume Actor Voice Actor US Voice Actor
Johnson Garry Scale (first season)
Arky Michael (second season)
Jonathon Hendry (third and fourth seasons)
Garry Scale Tony Marino
McDuff Katrina Sedgwick (first and second seasons)
Dra McKay (third and fourth seasons)
Katrina Sedgwick Zoje Stage
Diesel Bruce Wedderburn (first and second seasons)
Matthew Chamberlain (third and fourth seasons)
Doug Scroope David Flick (first three seasons)
Doug Scroope (fourth season and additional episodes of season three)
Alfred Peter Browne Peter Browne Peter Browne
Squeaky Kristen Lyons (first and second seasons)
Sarah Boddy (third and fourth seasons)
Emily Lumbers (first season)
Kristen Lyons (second season)
Sarah Boddy (third and fourth seasons)
Angela Toohey (singing voice)
Katie Watkins
Victoria Elisabeth Easther (third season)
Leighton Young (fourth season)
Deborah Kennedy Minette Seate

The program was narrated by Paul Bertram. The US dub was narrated by Amy Hartman.

Episodes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tiny Living Information on DigiGuide.com - Lists Johnson and Friends

External links[edit]