Spider! (TV series)

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Spider!
BBC Spider.jpg
The main title frame of Spider!
Genre Musical children's series
Directed by Graham Ralph
Voices of Jeff Stevenson
Casey Stevenson
Holly Stevenson
Theme music composer Richard Warner
Composer(s) Richard Warner
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 13
Production
Executive producer(s) Iain Harvey[1]
Theresa Plummer-Andrews
Producer(s) John Cary
Editor(s) Paul Coppock
Karen Bruce
Camera setup Animated Opticals
Peter Jones Rostrums
Running time 5 minutes
Production company(s) Hibbert Ralph Entertainment
Release
Original network BBC1 (Children's BBC)
Original release 26 September – 30 December 1991

Spider! is a musical children's television mini series made by Hibbert Ralph Entertainment for the BBC, that was originally aired on BBC One from 26 September to 30 December 1991. It followed the adventures of a spider, the protagonist, and a young boy (however, the boy was only present in eleven of the thirteen episodes). The stories were told through song, and performed by Jeff Stevenson with his children, Casey and Holly, singing backing vocals.

The styles of music featured in the episodes vary from rock 'n roll to haunting and melancholic, and were produced by Rick Cassman at Triple X Studios.[2] A BBC video entitled Spider! – I'm Only Scary 'cos I'm Hairy! (BBCV 4753), which contained all thirteen episodes (but edited out the full credits of all except the first and thirteenth ones), was also released in 1992 (but it is now out of print). However, it was later rereleased on DVD in 2004.

Reception[edit]

Spider! was generally well received by television critics and viewers in 1991, 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 44 IMDb 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 various children's television channels in the United Kingdom, such as CBeebies and Nick Jr. It was also dubbed into Scottish Gaelic as Damhan Allaidh, and shown on BBC Two Scotland in the mornings. In the United States, the series was broadcast in 1993, with American voice actors on PBS Kids, and repeated until 1997. There were also two pop up books, based on the first and tenth episodes, which were adapted from Richard Warner's original songs by Ron van der Meer and illustrated by the director Graham Ralph.[3][4]

On 12 May 2005, Silver Fox Films announced that it was developing a new, revived version of the series entitled Spider's Silly Show. The format was to be extended from five minutes to eleven minutes, and fifty two episodes we planned. It was to be presented by Andrew Sachs, who had previously narrated William's Wish Wellingtons for Hibbert Ralph Entertainment.[5][6] However, the project appears to have been abandoned, as the latest information on it dates from 2005 and it has still not appeared on television.

Episodes[edit]

The first twelve episodes were all broadcast on BBC One as part of the Children's BBC strand on Thursdays at 3:50pm (a puppet spider named "Ninja" also joined Simon Parkin, Andi Peters and Edd the Duck in The Broom Cupboard during the original run), but the first programme of 21 November 1991 was Ready, Teddy, Go! (a lead up to the year's Pudsey telethon).

This resulted in the ninth episode was not transmitted until 28 November (the ninth episode of Ragdoll Productions' Brum was also not broadcast until that day as well).[7] The last Thursday of the year was 26 December, Boxing Day, so the thirteenth and final episode was not broadcast until four days after it, on Monday 30 December at 4:05pm.[8]

In addition to being repeated by itself onwards from 1992, the series was also repeated as part of Ants in Your Pants (which was hosted by Edd the Duck's second replacement after "Ratz", Otis the Aardvark) in 1995, and the chorus of the first episode could also be heard in EastEnders episodes from this time period during scenes, where children of Walford were sat in front of a television.

No. Title Original air date
1 "Spider in the Bath" 26 September 1991 (1991-09-26)[9]
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 "Just a Spider" 3 October 1991 (1991-10-03)[10]
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 "In My Tent" 10 October 1991 (1991-10-10)[11]
When the boy finds himself trapped in his own makeshift tent and Spider is on his side of the bedroom door, he musters all his resources by using attack as the best form of defence.
4 "Monkey Business" 17 October 1991 (1991-10-17)[12]
When life is pretty boring and they 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 "Hedgehog Hunt" 24 October 1991 (1991-10-24)[13]
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 children 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 "Spider's Song" 31 October 1991 (1991-10-31)[14]
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 "Little Miss M" 7 November 1991 (1991-11-07)[15]
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 is the first of the two episodes that does not feature the boy.
8 "Frog Change" 14 November 1991 (1991-11-14)[16]
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 is the second of the two episodes that does not feature the boy.
9 "Hamster Chase" 28 November 1991 (1991-11-28)[17]
The boy accidentally opens his hamster's cage and lets him out. The unfortunate creature finds he is 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 "Panda Comes to Stay" 5 December 1991 (1991-12-05)[18]
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 "Classroom Distractions" 12 December 1991 (1991-12-12)[19]
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 "C-Rocker" 19 December 1991 (1991-12-19)[20]
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 "True Friend" 30 December 1991 (1991-12-30)[21]
The boy and Spider have been through so much together, and the audience see a lyrical sequence telling them about their deep friendship for each other, which is not without its problems. Series Finale

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC - Film Network - Iain Harvey". Retrieved 10 August 2007. 
  2. ^ "Toonhound - Spider". Retrieved 8 January 2008. 
  3. ^ Van der Meer, Ron (1991). Spider in the Bath. Penguin Character Books Ltd. ISBN 0-563-36226-X. 
  4. ^ Van der Meer, Ron (1991). Panda Comes to Stay. Penguin Character Books Ltd. ISBN 0-563-36241-3. 
  5. ^ "Return of the Spider". The Hound. Toonhound. 12 May 2005. Retrieved 10 August 2007. 
  6. ^ "Silver Fox Films". Retrieved 10 August 2007. 
  7. ^ "BBC One London - 21 November 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  8. ^ "Spider Cartoon List @ Big Cartoon DataBase". Retrieved 10 August 2007. 
  9. ^ "BBC One London - 26 September 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  10. ^ "BBC One London - 3 October 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  11. ^ "BBC One London - 10 October 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  12. ^ "BBC One London - 17 October 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  13. ^ "BBC One London - 24 October 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  14. ^ "BBC One London - 31 October 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  15. ^ "BBC One London - 7 November 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  16. ^ "BBC One London - 14 November 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  17. ^ "BBC One London - 28 November 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  18. ^ "BBC One London - 5 December 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  19. ^ "BBC One London - 12 December 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  20. ^ "BBC One London - 19 December 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  21. ^ "BBC One London - 30 December 1991 - BBC Genome". Retrieved 7 July 2017. 

External links[edit]