Old Bear Stories
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|Old Bear Stories|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||41|
|Running time||10 mins|
|Production company(s)||Carlton Television|
|Original network||ITV Network (Carlton)|
|Original release||24 September 1993 –|
23 December 1997
Old Bear Stories was a BAFTA award-winning stop frame animation television series for children based on the Old Bear and Friends books by Jane Hissey. Jane Hissey also created the television series, starting it on 24 September 1993, and creating 3 seasons, which ended on 24 December 1997 with a double-length Christmas special. In all, 41 episodes were made. The series was produced by Ealing Animation (El Nombre) and was originally broadcast in the United Kingdom on ITV. Episodes have subsequently been repeated on Channel 5 in the UK, and are also broadcast in the United States and other countries worldwide. The show also aired for a short time on the CBC morning children's block in Canada. It also aired in the United States as part of Cartoon Network's Small World as well as ABC in Australia, M-Net, SABC 2 and Bop TV in South Africa, MediaCorp Channel 5 in Singapore and TV2 in New Zealand.
Episodes of the series were released on VHS by Carlton Video.
The animals at the play room have remembered that Old Bear disappeared long ago. He has been put into the loft. They rescue him and bring him back down to the Play room. He becomes the most respected toy and guides the others in their many adventures, both in the play room and in the garden.
- Old Bear: an elderly dusty teddy bear, he was put up in the attic when he reached an advanced age, but was rescued by the other toys. They now look up to him as a fearless, yet wise, leader.
- Bramwell Brown: a wise old bear, often considered second to Old Bear. Likes to cook things for the other toys.
- Duck: a gloomy and depressed toy duck who sometimes wishes he could fly. Doesn't like to get his feet wet.
- Rabbit: an impulsive toy rabbit.
- Little Bear: a small white bear who wears overly baggy orangey red trousers. The youngest of the all the toys, as he is very much like a young child. Sometimes has some good ideas of what to do.
- Jolly Tall: a toy giraffe who despite his height doesn't like heights - he says his head thinks it was high enough as it is. Jolly has an extra long scarf which Bramwell knitted.
- Sailor: a toy sailor who enjoys sailing in his toy boat.
- Zebra: a female toy zebra.
- Hoot the Owl: a toy owl living in the loft. Originally had a nest made of a bunch of socks that didn't match, until Little Bear gave her an old bobble hat to use instead.
- Ruff the Dog: a bouncy toy dog which resembles a Fox Terrier.
- Dog: a toy black Scottish Terrier who likes to bury his rubber bones in some plant pots.
- Camel: a toy camel who is almost as tall as Jolly Tall. Once tried to use Little Bear's trousers as hump warmers.
- Cat: a toy cat who likes to nap in any place she finds.
- Rabbit's cousin: female cousin of Rabbit, who occasionally stays with the toys. She wears a straw hat, and seems to like to cause mischief, and doesn't like cleaning.
- The dolls: a family of 3 dolls (a father, a mother (Mrs. Doll) and a daughter) who live in a dolls' house in a corner of the play room.
- Old Bear
- Jolly Tall
- Little Bear Lost
- There Were Five in a Bed
- The Circus
- Little Bear's Trousers
- Little Bear's Big Race
- The Rainy Day
- The Fancy Dress Competition
- The Apple Tree
- The Winter Picnic
- Jolly Snow
- The Dolls' House Christmas Tree
- The Play
- The Boat Race
- Little Bear's Book
- The Birthday Band
- Hot and Spotty
- Ruff Follows His Nose
- Spring Clean
- Old Bear's Chair
- Market Day
- The Car
- Hoot and the Mystery Eggs
- The Clock
- The Castle
- The Colour Chase
- Little Bear's Snowmen
- The Painting
- Duck Tries to Fly
- The Jolly Dragon
- Rabbit and the Visitor
- Little Bear's Cold Day
- Ruff and the Big Wheel
- The Birthday Camp
- The Treasure Hunt
- The Perfect Presents
- Little Bear and the Christmas Star
Cast and crew
- Writer: Jane Hissey
- Director: Kevin Griffiths
- Assistant Director: Liz Whitaker
- Producer: Richard Randolphe
- Executive Producer: Peter Gillbe
- Composer: Paul Castle
- Film Editor: Nick Follows
- Assistant Editor: Nick Aleck
- Dubbing Mixer: Nick Glynn-Jones
- Puppet Makers: Monique Brown, Alix Hardwood, Val Johnston, Helen Ranch
- Animators: Fin and Humphrey Leadbitter, Tobias Fouracre, Geoffrey Walker, Daniel Ryan, Aziz Samuels
- Props: Pippa Randolphe, Sue Phillips, Geoffrey Walker, Donna Joy
- Sets: Colin Armitage, Graeme Owen
- Production Manager: Lynne Pritchard
- Production Assistants: Jilly Clarke, Geoffrey Walker
- Narrator: Anton Rodgers
- Characters Copyright by Jane Hissey, licensed by Random House UK Ltd.
- An Optomen Television Production in association with Ealing Animation and Carlton Television
Copyright Carlton Television UK 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997
The theme tune was composed by Paul Castle and consists of the lyrics:
Please read us a story Old Bear, we'll all gather round
Dear Old Bear.
Sit in your favourite chair,
We'll sit all around, all around dear Old Bear.
The series was very well critically received and won a lot of awards:
- 1995 Chicago International Children's Film Festival - Outstanding Achievement Award
- 1994 Royal Television Society - Best Children's Series
- 1993 BAFTA - Best Children's Programme
- 1993 New York Film Festival - Gold Medal
- 1993 Chicago International Film Festival - Silver Plaque