Tweenies Logo (2004)
|Created by||Will Brenton
|Developed by||Tell-Tale Productions for BBC Television|
|Opening theme||"Are you ready to play?"|
|Ending theme||"Are you ready to play?" (Instrumental version with added piano)|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||390 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Judy Whitfield
|Camera setup||Davy Johnson|
|Running time||20 minutes|
|Original release||6 September 1999 – 24 September 2003|
Overview and history
The idea for the programme came from Iain Lauchlan and Will Brenton, a pair with a track record of being involved in BBC children's programming. Together with Karl Woolley and Helen Cadwallader they set up Tell-Tale Productions at Elstree Film Studios in Hertfordshire. Iain Lauchlan was a presenter on Play School, Fingermouse and Playdays, meeting Brenton, a director, writer and also a presenter, during the latter. Together they started producing two of the Playdays strands before forming their own production companies Tell-Tale Productions and, more recently, Wish Films. They also created The Fun Song Factory, Boo!, BB3B, Jim Jam and Sunny, Basil Hair The Squirrel and Entertainment Right's The Magical Lives of Toys.
Tweenies is a production of Tell-Tale Productions in association with the BBC. Animation for the show was produced by A Productions, an animation studio based in Bristol, England, with Ealing Animation providing some animation in a few early episodes. Computer animation for the series was provided by Clockwork Digital, with Ben Mars animating Mungo, the computer creature who appears in some later episodes.
The program is no longer in production, although merchandise can still be bought from retailers, and DVDs of the programme are also available.
The characters are well developed and children are able to predict what their responses might be. The mixture of story, song and creative activity provides excellent opportunities for children to learn through play. Music plays an important part in the programme and children are encouraged to join in with songs and actions.
The programme is set in a playschool attended by the four Tweenies themselves: Bella, Milo, Fizz and the youngest, Jake. They are in the care of two adults, Max and Judy, and two dogs - Doodles & Izzles.
The show includes a "Tweenie Clock", with five circular lights arranged in a pentagonal shape with the lights denoting "News Time" (Circle Time in USA) - Orange, "Messy Time" - Blue, "Song Time" - Yellow, "Telly Time" (Video Time in USA) - Green and "Story Time" - Red. "Surprise Time" is a special time determined when all five lights glow. A button at the centre of the clock (Purple) is pressed to select the activity that will be undertaken next.
It is currently being shown on CBeebies, the BBC's channel for young children. Like a number of other CBeebies programmes, a live stage version of the show has toured in the UK. The most recent tour, Top of the Tots, toured the British Isles during 2009, the series' 10th anniversary. In addition, the tour also played several shows in Hong Kong in late September and early October 2009. The Tweenies are also regulars on the annual CBeebies Live tours around the British Isles. Between 2003 and 2005, there was also a live version of Tweenies shown regularly at Alton Towers in the Cred Street section aimed at younger children, which was removed in favour of Bob the Builder. In 2000, Tweenies won two awards: Best PreSchool Educational Program and Best Live Action PreSchool Programme.
The original prototypes for the Tweenies characters were designed by Sally Preisig of Mimics Productions; they were later re-scaled into two sizes for the characters shown on the series. In addition, Preisig also designed the character costumes and was co-constructor/developer for the Tweenies' full-size puppets. The costume fabric comes from the UK and was imported and dyed into their present colours; it is about the same thickness as fleece jumpers.
On 20 January 2013, the programme caused controversy after the 2001 episode titled "Favourite Songs", featuring a skit of Max dressed and acting like BBC personality Jimmy Savile, (who after his death was implicated for sex and abuse crimes against children and teens on BBC grounds), was broadcast on CBeebies at 8:40 am. The BBC announced that "Favourite Songs" would permanently be removed from rotation and published an apology. Due to this incident The Tweenies was aired on CBeebies for a further week and then taken off air. The final episode to air was the 264th, titled "Digger", on 1 February 2013. The series returned on 3 June 2013, resuming with the 261st episode, "No".
The Tweenies consist of Bella, Milo, Fizz, Jake, Doodles, Izzles, Max, Judy, and are sometimes joined by Max's sister Polly. Other characters have appeared occasionally, including Milo's Uncle Mickey, Jake's mother, Fizz's father and Bella's Granny. There have also been several animated characters.
All of the four main characters appeared in the first episode Tweenie Band, which was filmed in 1998 at Elstree Studios & aired on 6 September 1999.
The Tweenies are played by one set of actors, while the voices are provided by other actors. Unless otherwise indicated, all of the following actors and voice talent were in the show from 1999.
|Bella||Blue-skinned with yellow hair which is usually accompanied with a red hair ribbon. She has a very bossy attitude and likes her own way. Sometimes she causes things to go wrong — the tallest Tweenie||Tamsin Heatley||Sally Preisig (1999–2000)
Emma Weaver (2000–2003)
|Fizz||She is yellow-skinned with brown hair, sometimes shy. Fizz's best friend is Bella. Her favourite colour is pink, Loves doing ballet, dressing up as a princess and playing with the dolls.||Jenny Hutchinson (1999–2000)
Angela Reynolds (2000)
Francesca Anderson (2001–2003)
|Jake||Oranged-skinned with a yellow mohican - the youngest and shortest Tweenie. Jake sometimes shows signs of being homesick. He often gets words mixed up. Jake's best friend is Milo.||Samantha Dodd (1999–2003)||Justin Fletcher|
|Milo||Purple-skinned with black hair. He is energetic and boisterous, but friendly and cheerful. Milo sometimes says stuff he shouldn't have said and can blow a huff when annoyed and then be told off by Bella.||C.H. Beck||Bob Golding|
|Judy||Pale green-skinned with purple hair, full name Judy, originated from Ireland.||Simon Grover||Sinead Rushe|
|Max||Dark pink-skinned, with white hair, full name Max.||Simon Grover||Bob Golding|
|Doodles||A red and yellow male dog.||Alan Riley||Justin Fletcher|
|Izzles||A purple and white female dog, who was first introduced to the Tweenies in 2001, as Doodles' new friend.||Fiona Watkins||Colleen Daley|
Data from AllMusicCharts.com
|Title||Entered Chart (UK)||Peak Position (UK)||Weeks on Chart (UK)|
|Friends Forever||25 November 2000||56||4|
|The Christmas Album||1 December 2001||34||5|
Data from AllMusicCharts.com
|Title||Entered chart (UK)||Peak position (UK)||Weeks on Chart (UK)||Sent to CBeebies Album|
|No. 1||11 November 2000||5||23||Yes|
|Best Friends Forever||31 March 2001||12||10||Yes|
|Do the Lollipop||4 August 2001||17||8||No|
|I Believe in Christmas||15 December 2001||9||6||No|
|Have Fun, Go Mad||14 September 2002||20||7||Yes|
||This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (May 2014)|
- Noggin (USA) - 7 April 2003 – 10 April 2006
- CBeebies (UK) - 11 February 2002 – 1 February 2013, 3 June 2013–present
- CBBC (UK) - 6 September 1999 – 10 February 2002
- Nick Jr (USA) - 23 September 2003 -March 2 2006
DVDs & Videos
These were released by BBC Worldwide and some various DVD's are still available in retailers.
Many of the above videos have also been dubbed into other languages. In addition, several of the Tweenies videos were produced in special versions for retailers with additional footage (for example, the "Party Games, Laughs & Giggles" video distributed at Marks & Spencer stores carried 2 additional segments, adding 10 minutes to the video's running time). Many of the above videos were also released as DVDs under different names. iTunes has released a Best of Tweenies volume 1 which consists of the first 6 episodes of the series.
From 1999 until 2006, various books were released from the Tweenies, based on the episodes that were mostly aired. There were also annuals that were released from 2001–06 and other books, based on each character from the Tweenies.
Toys & Games
From 1999 until 2007, the Tweenies were more popular than they are today and many toys were sold in various retailers, such as Toys "R" Us, Argos & Woolworths. There were many toys & games, such as soft toys, playsets, collectable figures, board games, jigsaws & puzzles, talking toys, video games and many others.
- BAFTA Children's Awards (2000)
- Nominated and won Best Pre-School Live Action (2000) 
- "CBeebies Schedule page on BBC.co.uk for 20 January 2013". Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- "BBC under fire after Tweenies character dresses up as Jimmy Savile", telegraph.co.uk, 20 January 2013
- "BBC receives 216 complaints for Tweenies Jimmy Savile spoof". BBC.co.uk. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- Revealed in episode #147 Giraffes
- "Past Winners and Nominees - Children's - Awards - 2000". BAFTA. Retrieved 3 July 2010.