Spider! (TV series)
The main title frame of Spider!
|Directed by||Graham Ralph|
|Voices of||Jeff Stevenson, Casey Stevenson, Holly Stevenson|
|Theme music composer||Brian Stephens|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producer(s)||Theresa Plummer-Andrews, Iain Harvey|
|Editor(s)||Paul Coppock, Karen Bruce|
|Camera setup||Animated opticals, Peter Jones Rostrums, Rostrum cameras|
|Running time||5 mins approx.|
|Production company(s)||Hibbert Ralph Entertainment|
|Original network||BBC1, Children's BBC|
|Original release||26 September – 19 December 1991|
Spider! is a musical children's television mini series made by Hibbert Ralph Entertainment for the BBC, which originally aired towards the end of 1991. It followed the adventures of a spider, the protagonist, and a young boy. The stories were told through song, performed by Jeff Stevenson with his children, Casey and Holly, singing backing vocals.
The style of music varies from rock 'n' roll to haunting and melancholic, and was produced by Rick Cassman. A BBC Video entitled Spider! – I'm Only Scary 'cos I'm Hairy! (BBCV 4753), which contained all thirteen episodes, was released soon after the series ended. A DVD version was also released later.
Spider! was generally well received by television critics and viewers, with strong praise directed towards the show's plots, animation, music, and humour. Critics have also noted the show's multi generational appeal. Spider! has gained an 8.2 rating from forty four users as of November 2016. Spider! has now attracted a cult following on old children's videos and DVDs.
Various episodes have also been uploaded to video networking sites, like YouTube and Veoh. The series has been repeated on children's television channels in the United Kingdom, such as CBeebies and Nick Junior. It is known as Damhan Allaidh in Scots Gaelic and has been shown on BBC Two Scotland in the morning.
In the United States, the series was first broadcast in 1993, and ended broadcast in 1997, with American voice actors on PBS Kids. There was also a popup book based on the first episode, which was written by Ron van der Meer and illustrated by the director, Graham Ralph.
On 12 May 2005, Silver Fox Films announced that it was developing a new, revived version called Spider's Silly Show. The format was to be extended from five minutes to eleven minutes, and fifty two episodes were planned. It was to be hosted by Andrew Sachs. This project appears to be on hold, however, as the latest information is from 2005.
The series consist of only thirteen five minute episodes, which are listed below:
|1||26 September 1991||Spider in the Bath||The song is the voice of the boy, who tells the audience how he likes every kind of animal, except for spiders. He finds Spider in his bath, and so he tries to put him down the drain, but Spider keeps coming back and laughing.|
|2||3 October 1991||Just a Spider||Spider's lot is a tough one, especially when he is being persecuted by the mischievous boy. After squashings, drownings and downright meanness, Spider manages to escape in an unexpected way.|
|3||10 October 1991||In My Tent||When the boy finds himself trapped in his own makeshift tent and Spider's on his side of the bedroom door, he musters all his resources by using attack as the best form of defence.|
|4||17 October 1991||Monkey Business||When life is pretty boring and you don’t know what to do...the boy, his older sister and his younger brother create chaos in their bedroom to ward off the rainy day blues. In the process they bring new meaning to the phrase "the little monkeys".|
|5||24 October 1991||Hedgehog Hunt||The boy, his older sister and his younger brother set out on a mock safari - for Hedgehog, while their parents try to pack the car. Little do the kids know that Spider has second-guessed their efforts to track down the elusive prickly animal. Every tactic of the hunt is foiled until they are sent packing.|
|6||31 October 1991||Spider's Song||The boy builds a house of cards which collapses. Only when he notices Spider's persistence does he realize that "try try again" will get him to his ultimate goal. The boy tops out the completed house of cards with his newly won friend, Spider!|
|7||7 November 1991||Little Miss M||The traditional nursery rhyme Little Miss Muffet gets a new (albeit very strange) twist: Little Miss "M" is a fat self indulgent girl who thinks nothing of scoffing a picnic by herself. However, this time she meets more than her match when Spider decides to spike her greedy pastime, and see her off the premises. This was one of the two episodes that doesn't feature the boy.|
|8||14 November 1991||Frog Change||Spider is a witness to a romantic story based episode about a lady and a frog. Her sadness turns to joy when the frog turns into a handsome man. Unfortunately for Spider, his own affections for the lady are rebuffed rudely. This was one of the two episodes that doesn't feature the boy.|
|9||21 November 1991||Hamster Chase||The boy accidentally opens his hamster's cage and lets him out. The unfortunate creature finds he's sharing a dangerous world with the household cat who looks on him as an excellent supplement to dinner. Luckily, Spider sees the hamster's plight and helps him to escape the kitten's claws and return him to the cage.|
|10||28 November 1991||Panda Comes to Stay||The boy, who is settling down for the night, cannot believe his eyes when he sees a giant stuffed panda in his bedroom. Wonder turns to astonishment as the panda jumps into life and does a song and dance act. Spider joins the panda in creating fantastical entertainment for the boy.|
|11||5 December 1991||Classroom Distractions||The boy's first day back at school is a gloomy one and full of distractions. But with the help of his best friend, Spider, he overcomes the blues to emerge triumphant in front of his classmates.|
|12||12 December 1991||C-Rocker||The boy, his older sister and his younger brother decide to have a concert party. They dress up their favourite animals and give them musical instruments. Their fantasy comes to life as the crocodile becomes a rock singer backed by Hedgehog on the lead guitar, Frog on the saxophone, Panda on piano, Two hamsters as backing singers and, of course, Spider, on the drums.|
|13||19 December 1991||True Friend||The boy and Spider have been through so much together, and we see a lyrical sequence telling us about their deep friendship for each other, which is not without its problems. Series Finale.|
- "BBC - Film Network - Iain Harvey". Retrieved 10 August 2007.
- "Toonhound - Spider". Retrieved 8 January 2008.
- Van der Meer, Ron (1991). Spider in the Bath. BBC. ISBN 0-563-36226-X.
- "Return of the Spider". The Hound. Toonhound. 12 May 2005. Retrieved 10 August 2007.
- "Silver Fox crew". Retrieved 10 August 2007.
- "Spider Cartoon List @ Big Cartoon DataBase". Retrieved 10 August 2007.