Rub-a-Dub-Dub (TV series)

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Also known as Nursery Rhymes Video, Musical Mother Goose
Genre Animation
Directed by Alan Rogers
Voices of Madeline Bell
John Telfer
Theme music composer Benni Lees
Opening theme Rub-a-Dub-Dub
Ending theme Rub-a-Dub-Dub
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 25
Producer(s) David Yates, Joe Wolf
Running time 5 minutes
Production company(s) David Yates Production
Distributor FremantleMedia
2 Entertain
Original network ITV
Picture format Colour
Original release 1984

Rub-A-Dub-Dub was an English television series animated by Peter Lang and Alan Rogers of the Cut-Out Animation Co. They were previously famous for Pigeon Street. The series was produced by David Yates and Joe Wolf. The title is a reference to the nursery rhyme Rub-a-dub-dub. Rub-A-Dub-Dub was animated in a similar way, yet all the characters were anthropomorphic animals.[original research?] It ran in 1984, completing 25 episodes.

Episode structure[edit]

The episodes usually started off with the character Mother Goose and (most often) another character stood by a polka-dot patterned bathtub, with Mother Goose saying "Rub-a-dub-dub..." announcing that there was an item in the tub, an item that will then be relevant to the episode, e.g. "Rub-a-dub-dub, there's a kettle in the tub..." The line would then usually be followed up by another. In this case, the character King Crow appears at the window and says "...And King Crow wants his tea!" The nursery rhymes themselves would be dotted in amongst the humorous dialogue between the animal characters.


Principal characters[edit]

  • Mother Goose: Could be considered the hostess of Rub-A-Dub-Dub. She begins every episode by saying "Rub-a-dub-dub, there's a... in the tub." She is a white goose, wearing what looks to be a yellow raincoat and hat, a blue skirt beneath the coat and blue shoes. She also wears pink tights with white spots.
  • Polly: An irritable parrot voiced with a high-pitched Lancashire accent. She often gets annoyed with various characters, such as with Mother Goose when she asks her to make King Crow's tea. In this instance, she responds "I'm not gonna make it! Why does it always have to be me!? Humph!" She is also quite unfortunate, such as when she sets her dinner down before the television, leaves to get a drink, and then finds her dinner has been stolen, to which she responds: "EH! Where did it go?!" Polly had a red face and blue hands and legs, wore a green jumper with red sleeves and yellow shoes.
  • King Crow: The King who is a crow. He spoke with a posh accent, and was awfully demanding of his servants such as Polly, on whom he intrudes into her TV-watching time, saying "Hello Polly, get me my pipe and bowl please!" He was also awfully energetic and bounced around a lot. Like all crows, King Crow was black with a yellow beak. He wore a stereotypical King's robe and crown, black and white striped stockings and black-and-white shoes.
  • Queen Duck: The wife of King Crow.
  • Al E. Gator: An alligator who was somewhat of an antagonist on the show. He spoke with an American accent. He was always causing trouble, such as tripping over Baa Sheep, causing her to fall in mud or interrupting Polly's favourite TV show as "Tonight's Special Guest". He wore a red coat and a top hat. He was also known for a distinctive cackle, once he had committed his mischief. In one episode, he lost his violin bow.
  • Baa Sheep: A white sheep, who spoke with an American accent and wore red shoes. He once fell victim to Al E. Gator's mischief, when he tripped him over and caused him to fall in a muddy puddle. This dirtied his wool, and, displeased, she sang I do not like thee, Doctor Fell to him. Al E Gator simply laughed, before asking "What did I do wrong?" before leaving. Baa was also close to Mother Goose, who cleaned him up in the eponymous tub after this incident.
  • Buzz Tiger: A tiger with a fear of bees. He seemed to be romantically involved with Mary the giraffe.
  • Brian Lion: A lion who was good friends with Buzz and Blue.
  • Olga Ostrich: An ostrich who wore pink shoes. She once lost one of these shoes in one episode. She was also sat at the same restaurant as Polly when she had her dinner stolen. She spoke with a Russian accent.
  • The Penguin Trio: Three traveling penguins, who served as soldiers and musicians for King Crow as well as inattentive waiters at the restaurant. As waiters, they spoke with nasal posh English accents.
  • Jack and Jill: Two twin pigs, both of whom spoke with high-pitched cockney accents. They both wore blue and yellow tops and red shoes. one pig male wear a yellow striped red hat and the other pig female got blonde hair with two plaits with red bows. Jack was more heavily featured than his sister, although in Jack and Jill, Mrs. Mason's Basin and Jack Sprat they were featured together. They were Elsie Pig's children and had a baby sibling.
  • Elsie Pig: The mother of Jack and Jill and an unnamed baby. She wore a yellow and black dress and matching hat and spoke with a strong Cockney accent. She appeared to be a cleaner in the castle like Mother Goose.
  • Blue: A blue hippopotamus who wore a yellow raincoat and rain hat, similar to Mother Goose. He was featured on Polly's favourite Western TV show. He was due to face off in a duel with Yankee Doodle, before they were interrupted by Al E. Gator. He also appeared as Santa Claus in one episode.
  • Yankee Doodle: A white rooster who spoke with a stereotypical cowboy accent, married to an unnamed brown hen. He was often seen jogging and weightlifting. He was featured on Polly's favourite Western TV show. He was due to face off in a duel with Blue the hippo, before being interrupted by Al E. Gator.
  • Tom Cat: A young cat who went to London to see the Queen. The Queen Duck asked him to catch one of the mice in the castle, but ended up knocking all of the furniture over and was sent away. He was often depicted as a troublemaker who enjoyed stealing others' food.
  • Yellow Dog: A yellow dog who wears blue, spoke with an American accent and often liked to make jokes. After each of his wisecracks, he laughed breathily.
  • Mice: Three mice that were often in some nursery rhymes, one dressed as a Chef, one as a Butcher, and one in a yellow top with red, green and blue stars.
  • Mary Giraffe: A giraffe who wore a blue sweatshirt with a giraffe number 11 and a pink skirt with pink shoes. She often appeared to be romantically involved with Buzz the Tiger.
  • Barney Owl: An owl who wore a purple coat and hat and glasses. He was married to an unnamed female owl, who was often seen with Queen Duck.
  • Roland Turtle: A green turtle who wore brown shoes and glasses with yellow edges. He had the ability to attach wheels to the bottom of his shell, as well as rollerskate, use his shell as a boat and also travel by balloon.
  • Quincy the Spider: A spider who wore green, red and yellow roller skates.
  • Old Female Cat: An orange, bespectacled cat who played the role of the teacher in Mary Had a Little Lamb.
  • Cow: an unnamed red cow who appeared to be a bit of a performer, often seen singing at the restaurant.
  • Hen: an unnamed brown hen who was married to Yankee Doodle.
  • Ned the Horse: A white horse who wore red shoes.


It was directed by Lee Bernhardi. It ran on the British breakfast TV station TV-am from 4 April 1988 until 1989 and it also ran on The Disney Channel in the 80s. The series was later distributed on VHS in two separate volumes in North America twice, both by Hi-Tops Video under its original titles 'Rub-a-Dub-Dub' Volume 1 & 2 in 1986-87, and re-released in 1989 under the titles 'Musical Mother Goose' and 'More Musical Mother Goose' respectively. The series was also released on VHS in the UK market by Thames Video under the title 'The Ultimate Nursery Rhymes Video', but has since not been distributed.