Spot is a fictional puppy created by Eric Hill, an English author and illustrator of children's picture books. The success of Hill's books about Spot led to other media productions, including television and home video titles, music albums, and CD-ROM titles.
First published in 1980, Where's Spot? was inspired while Hill was working in creative marketing; he noticed his three-year-old son was fascinated by the process of lifting up a paper, on a design he was creating. Captivated by this thought, Hill created a story about a puppy which incorporated the flap design. During the late 1970s it was extraordinarily innovative concept, and it took some time for any publisher to take any notice of the idea before Puffin books decided to publish his book. Within weeks of the first book being released it topped the Bestseller list.
Hill said "When I first drew Spot I realised that when I came to draw the spot on his body and the tip of his tail I was copying the markings on an aircraft. I grew up drawing aircraft – that is how I learned to draw. "I am quite convinced now, as I look back, that the actual training of drawing cartoons – which is, of course, my style – led to my producing Spot. Cartoons must be very simple and have as few words as possible and so must the Spot books. I designed Spot out of my previous background as a designer and illustrator. It was quite unconscious but I can see now that I have created a ready-made trademark of its kind, with the essential spot on the body and a bit on the tail."
Over time, the book was translated into more than sixty languages. In Afrikaans versions of the book Spot is translated to "Otto", widely believed to be the surname of a South African friend of Hill's. This name has been attributed to Spot as many of the books were believed to be inspired by the life of aforementioned friend, J. Otto. In the Netherlands, Spot is known as Dribbel.
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- Spot: The protagonist of the series. A yellow puppy with a brown spot on each side of his body and a brown tip on his tail, Spot is full of curiosity, helpfulness, and a huge desire to learn. He was voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Series 1 - 2) and Haley Joel Osment (Series 3)
- Sally: Spot's mother. She is also yellow and has a brown spot on her back that goes around the back of her body, as well as two brown spots on each side of her body and a brown tip on her tail. Much of the first story, Where's Spot?, involves her going around the house looking for Spot.
- Sam: Spot's father. He is also yellow, but without any spots on his body.
- Susie: Spot's little sister, she is yellow but has a brown spot on her back.
- Helen: A blue hippo who is Spot's best friend. Her colour is dark blue and she has sags under her eyes in the first series of The Adventures of Spot. Starting with later episodes of series one, she is redesigned with a more youthful and less intimidating appearance, turning light blue and losing the sags under her eyes. Starting with series two, she becomes an ever lighter shade of blue.
- Steve: A brown monkey with a tan face, he is playful and full of surprises.
- Tom: A green crocodile who is Spot's third best friend. He started out dark green in colour in the first series. He also sports rather sharp-looking incisors and a red colouring inside his mouth on the first series of The Adventures of Spot. Starting with later episodes of the first series, similar to Helen, he is also redesigned with a more youthful and less intimidating appearance, losing the sharp incisors and white eye sacs. Starting with the second series, he also turns to a lighter shade of green. He loves going fishing. Tom loves the snare drum, considered to be his favourite instrument. His dad is the mayor of the town.
- Billy: A brown bear who loves to eat. He appears in the first series of The Adventures of Spot.
- Clare: A green turtle.
- Cybil: An orange tabby cat who is the series' antagonist. She has a very rude personality, as seen in episodes "Spot's Lost Bone" and "Spot's First Walk" where she scares Spot. She appears only in the first series of The Adventures of Spot. In the U.S., her rude personality was toned down.
- Mr. Kangaroo: Spot's neighbour, a brown kangaroo that speaks in an Australian accent since that kangaroos are a native animal of Australia. He appears only in the first series of The Adventures of Spot.
- Leo: An orange lion.
- Sidney: A yellowish-green snake.
Since 1980 with the success of Where's Spot?, Eric Hill went on to create numerous other books, which most being translated to Welsh (as well as the TV series, commissioned by S4C), some have also been translated into Scottish Gaelic, and Where's Spot? has been translated into Cornish.
- Where's Spot? (1980)
- Spot's First Walk (1981)
- Spot's Birthday Party (1982)
- Spot's First Christmas (1983)
- Spot Goes to School (1984)
- Spot Goes on Holiday (1985)
- Spot Goes to the Circus (1986)
- Spot Goes to the Farm (1987)
- Spot's First Easter (1988)
- Spot's Baby Sister (1989)
- Spot Goes to the Park (1991)
- Spot's Goes to a Party (1992)
- Spot Bakes a Cake (1996)
- Spot Visits his Grandparents (1996)
- Spot Goes Splash! and Other Stories (1998)
List of Spot sound books
In the 1990s a number of books were released with sound effect, produced by Publications International and published by Frederick Warne. The U.S. edition of the sound books were somewhat different from the U.K. editions of the book. The text in these editions is slightly altered, and in some cases, the title is changed as well. They are produced and published by Publications International.
With the success of the books the BBC commissioned an animated series, which first appeared on 9 April 1987; with Peter Hawkins providing the narration, and re-narrated in 2000 by Jane Horrocks. The series aired on television channel across the world, including RTÉ in Ireland, with the series dubbed into an Irish language with the title Echtrai Bhrain. A DVD version was released in Japan in 2005 with Japanese, English and Instrumental sound tracks. The DVDs used the same name for Spot as the books in Japan, that being コロちゃん (Korochan). In the US, the shows are distributed by Walt Disney Home Video.
The Adventures of Spot: series 1 (1987)
The first series of The Adventures of Spot, which was animated and produced by King Rollo Films, aired on the BBC between 9 April and 17 July 1987. It consisted of 13 episodes, each 5 minutes long. The episodes were narrated by Paul Nicholas (original version) and the music was composed by Duncan Lamont (original version).
Episodes in this series:
The Adventures of Spot: series 2 (1993)
The second series of The Adventures of Spot aired between 6 September and 20 December 1993, and, like the first series, consisted of 13 5-minute episodes. Once again, the episodes were produced by King Rollo Films. Paul Nicholas (original version) returned as the voices and Duncan Lamont (original version) returned as composer of the music.
Episodes in this series:
Spot's Musical Adventures (2000)
Spot's Musical Adventures, very similar to The Adventures of Spot, aired between 25 October and 10 November 2000. Like The Adventures of Spot, this series consisted of thirteen episodes, but this time, with a short song in them. The format of the series reverted to the narration format used prior to the specials. For these episodes, however, comedian Jane Horrocks was given the role of the narration and voices, instead of Paul Nicholas.
- "Eric Hill, creator of Spot the dog, dies at 86". The Telegraph. Telegraph.co.uk. 10 June 2014.
- Alison Flood. "Spot the Dog creator Eric Hill dies aged 86". The Guardian.
- "funwithspot.com". funwithspot.com. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- "The Adventures of Spot". BBC.
- "The Adventures of Spot".
- "The Adventures of Spot".
- "Children's BBC".