Boohbah
Created byAnne Wood
Directed by
  • Chris Bernard
  • Annie Gibbs
  • Vic Finch
Starring
  • Emma Insley
  • Alex Poulter
  • Cal Jaggers
  • Phil Hayes
  • Laura Pero
ComposerAndrew McCrorie-Shand
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes104
Production
ProducerAnne Wood
Running time20 minutes
Production companies
Original release
Network
Release14 April 2003 (2003-04-14) –
6 January 2006 (2006-01-06)
Related

Boohbah is a British preschool television series created by Anne Wood and produced by Wood's company, Ragdoll Productions, in association with GMTV.[1] It originally premiered on ITV on 14 April 2003.[2] The series was later broadcast on Nick Jr. UK[3] beginning on 2 April 2005.[4]

The series, with 104 episodes, was designed for preschoolers aged three to six (a slightly older age group than Wood's previous show, Teletubbies).[5]

According to Anne Wood, the show's visuals were inspired by scientific photographs of microscopic life and cell structures.[6] The main characters, the Boohbahs, are "atoms of energy"[3] who sleep in charging pods. Every episode follows the Boohbahs performing a dance routine where the audience is encouraged to participate. The creators at Ragdoll Productions designed the show as an interactive "televisual game" with an emphasis on spatial awareness, motor skill development and puzzle solving.

Characters

Episodes of Boohbah are divided into two main segments: one featuring the Boohbahs and another featuring the Storypeople.

Boohbahs

The series focuses on the Boohbahs, five colourful creatures who are described as "magical atoms" of energy.[7] They are played by actors in full-body costumes. Their fur sparkles and shimmers with tiny lights, and they have big eyes and rows of lights for eyebrows. Each Boohbah is a different colour:

Storypeople

The Storypeople are silent human characters whose actions are controlled by off-screen children using the magic word "Boohbah".[8] Every episode of Boohbah includes a segment where the Storypeople are magically given a present. The Los Angeles Times called these segments "comic visual puzzles executed with vaudevillian flair."[6]

Development and broadcast

Production of Boohbah began shortly after Ragdoll released a direct-to-video Teletubbies release titled Teletubbies Go! in 2001, which featured segments of the characters exercising. The high sales of the release led to Ragdoll's fear of obesity in children and what led the company to develop an exercise-based programme.[1]

In November 2002, ITV's pre-school strand CITV and breakfast franchisee GMTV signed a five-year broadcast commitment deal with Ragdoll where both broadcasters would share weekday and weekend broadcasts of the series in the United Kingdom respectively. 104 episodes were planned to be split into two series, with the first airing in Spring 2003, and the second series being broadcast in 2004. On the same day, it was announced that Video Collection International, who had a long-time home video agreement with Ragdoll, would release the series on VHS and DVD in the country.[9]

The series premiered as planned on ITV on 14 April 2003 and later debuted on GMTV's weekend pre-school slot at the same time.[2] Ragdoll held worldwide distribution rights to the series.

In June 2003, Ragdoll announced their plans to launch Boohbah in the United States. They confirmed that PBS, Scholastic and Hasbro, the same companies who held the licenses to Teletubbies in the United States, had acquired TV, publishing and toy rights respectively.[10] In the United Kingdom, the first DVD release: Boohbah Magic, was released on May 26, and shot into the Children's Charts at No. 2.[10] In October 2003, Ragdoll announced that Canal+ and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation had acquired French and Australian broadcast rights to the series, where the series would launch in January 2004 and Spring 2004 window in both regions. Ragdoll also announced that the show would premiere in the United States on PBS on January 19, 2004.[11] In the same month, Hasbro signed a separate worldwide toy deal for the show except for the UK, Ireland, Americas and Asia.[12]

In March 2004, Ragdoll announced that the second series would premiere in the UK on CITV on the 16th.[13] In the same month, another VHS/DVD release - "Squeaky Socks", was announced to be released on May 10.[14] At MIPTV 2004 within the same month, Ragdoll announced more broadcast deals for the show. Treehouse TV acquired the series in English-speaking Canada and would begin airing on April 26, complementing an earlier French-speaking deal with Société Radio-Canada. It was also announced that BabyTV in Israel and POGO in India were already broadcasting the series as well. Canal 13 in Chile and TV12 in Singapore also acquired the broadcast rights in their respective countries for broadcast later on in 2004.[15] Another deal already announced was one with Viacom International, where Nickelodeon in the Netherlands and MTV in Belgium acquired the Dutch-speaking rights, where the show would air on the Nick Jr. blocks for both channels beginning on 5 April 2004.[16] In October, Ragdoll pre-sold the series to Guangzhou Beauty in China for a launch within Chinese New Year 2005.[17]

In March 2005, Nick Jr. UK acquired the UK pay-TV rights to the series, and the series would premiere on the channel[3] on 2 April 2005.[4] The programme became a regular fixture of the Nick Jr. UK schedule, airing seven days a week at 7:00 a.m. to start off Nick Jr.'s morning schedule.[4] In July 2005, Ragdoll announced that the show would premiere on CCTV's Youth Channel in China on the 11th. SABC 2 was also announced to have acquired the South African broadcast rights, and would premiere the show in the country on the same day.[18]

In the United States, the series was aired on PBS Kids from 19 January 2004 until 31 August 2008. It also aired on PBS Kids Sprout from 2005 to 2009, where it was shown as part of the programming blocks "Sprout Mornings" and "The Good Night Show."

Episodes

Two series, each containing 52 episodes, were produced for a total of 104 episodes. Many episodes were written by Robin Stevens, who played Grandpappa on the show.

Season 1

No.TitleWritten by
1"Skipping Rope"Alan Dapré

Come and bounce with the Boohbahs and do some funny folding. In Storyworld, Sister is skipping with a swirly skipping rope and soon everyone wants a turn. But can they all join in without getting in a twist?

Countries: UK & Namibia
Leader of warm-up: Zumbah

Storypeople: Brother and Sister, Mr Man, Mrs Lady, Grandmamma & Grandpappa
2"Pearly Shells"Alan Dapré

Tone up with some Boohbah twists, and have fun hiding in a line. In Storyworld, Brother and Sister find some shells on the seashore. Can they spot the special shells and winkle out what’s inside?

Countries: Jamaica & Australia
Leader of warm-up: Jumbah

Storypeople: Brother and Sister
3"Rope and Rock"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan

Swing your arms and shape up with the Boohbahs and do the Push and Pull dance. In Storyworld, Grandmamma and Grandpappa discover a rope. Can they find out what is on the other end if they pull together?

Countries: China & Russia
Leader of warm-up: Humbah

Storypeople: Little Dog Fido, Grandmamma & Grandpappa
4"Musical Pipe"Robin Stevens

Keep fit with some quick Boohbah action, and join in with their whirly weaving. In Storyworld, Mrs Lady finds a musical pipe. The Storypeople take note and dance to her twirly tune.

Countries: South Africa & France
Leader of warm-up: Zing Zing Zingbah

Storypeople: Little Dog Fido, Mrs Lady, Brother and Sister, Mr Man & Grandpappa
5"Windows"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
6"Armchair"
"Comfy Armchair" (U.S. title)
Robin Stevens
7"Record Player"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
8"Squeaky Socks"Alan Dapré
9"A Pile of Balls"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
10"Painting the Fence"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
11"Big Bass Drum"Alan Dapré
12"Hammock"Alan Dapré
13"Squeaky Seesaw"Alan Dapré
14"Jack-In-A-Box"Alan Dapré
15"Bubbles"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
16"Settee and Cushions"
"Couch and Cushions" (U.S. title)
Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
17"Big Comb"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
18"The Big Ball"Robin Stevens
19"Yellow Woolly Jumper"
"Yellow Woolly Sweater" (U.S. title)
Alan Dapré
20"Musical Instruments"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
21"The Bed"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
22"The High Wall"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
23"Cakes and String"Robin Stevens
24"The Door"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
25"Building Blocks"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
26"Hot Dog"Alan Dapré
27"Treasure Chest"Robin Stevens
28"Flippers"Alan Dapré
29"Two Hats"Alan Dapré
30"Bells"Alan Dapré
31"Shed"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
32"Shining Armour"Robin Stevens
33"Flowers & Vase"Alan Dapré
34"A Big Bag"Alan Dapré
35"Piggy Bank"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
36"Drink of Milk"Alan Dapré
37"Leaky Hose"Robin Stevens
38"Parping Horn"TBA
39"Musical Cushions"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
40"Following the Signs"Alan Dapré
41"Puddle"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
42"Skittles"
"Bowling Pins" (U.S. title)
Alan Dapré
43"Pencil Sharpener"Alan Dapré
44"Cracker"Alan Dapré
45"Island"Robin Stevens
46"Collecting Mail"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
47"Tunnel"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
48"Necklace"Alan Dapré
49"Heavy Suitcase"Robin Stevens
50"Television"Robin Stevens
51"Long Drink"Robin Stevens
52"Fairground Thing"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan

Season 2

No.TitleWritten by
53"Big Switch"Robin Stevens
54"Bouncers"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
55"Beards"Alan Dapré
56"Paper Plane"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
57"Droopy Flowers"Robin Stevens
58"Fido's Flag"Robin Stevens
59"Sailing Boat"Alan Dapré
60"Gigantic Carrot"Robin Stevens and Alan Dapré
61"Stream"Alan Dapré
62"Feathers"Robin Stevens
63"Bat & Ball"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
64"Chair in the Air"Robin Stevens
65"Falling Oranges"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
66"Comfy Slippers"Alan Dapré
67"Ice Cream Cone"Alan Dapré
68"Banana Split"Alan Dapré
69"Pulling the Rope"Alan Dapré
70"Springy Sofa"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
71"Club & Ball"Robin Stevens
72"Hole in the Fence"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
73"Crossroads"Robin Stevens
74"Fido's Bone"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
75"Coloured Bricks"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
76"Glowing Lanterns"Robin Stevens
77"Little White Cloud"Alan Dapré
78"Stack of Cushions"Robin Stevens
79"Jigsaw"Alan Dapré
80"Stick"Alan Dapré
81"Flag"Robin Stevens
82"Four Jumpers"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
83"Snowshaker"Robin Stevens
84"Squirty Flower"Robin Stevens
85"Fido's Picture"Alan Dapré
86"Unwinding Carpet"Alan Dapré
87"Bouncy Castle"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
88"Wardrobe"Alan Dapré
89"Over the Net"Alan Dapré
90"Snowballs"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
91"Space Rocket"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
92"Sticky Wrapper"TBA
93"Jumping on the Balls"TBA
94"Sledge"TBA
95"Camera"TBA
96"Tightrope"TBA
97"Ball & Hoop"TBA
98"Little Rocky Boat"TBA
99"Flying Fish"TBA
100"Bucket & Spade"TBA
101"Umbrella"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
102"Snowman"Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan
103"Grass Skirt"TBA
104"Book"Robin Stevens

Reception

Ken Tucker, in his review for Entertainment Weekly, gave the show an "A−" score and commented, "I'm positive that Boohbah can be experienced by both its intended audience (kids ages 3 to 6) and its inevitable inadvertent audience (doting parents and stoners of every age) as a mind-blowing gas."[19] Tucker joked that when Boohbah aired in America, it would prove more popular than The Price Is Right due to having more "flashing lights, blinding colors, and silly noise".[19] Lorraine Ali, a senior writer for Newsweek, also gave Boohbah a positive review and wrote, "Move over, Barney, and make room for Zing Zing Zingbah."[20] Common Sense Media gave Boohbah a rating of 3/5 stars, writing that its educational and fitness goals were "admirable", but that "the real test is whether or not the show works with your kid."[21]

The New York Times Magazine commented that although the show's sequence of events "may sound incoherent ... the overall effect is mesmerizing, sometimes funny, even beautiful."[22] The Boston Globe felt that the "segments featuring the Boohbahs are ploddingly slow, maddeningly repetitive, and without much purpose ... the live-action segments with real people are the only things worth watching."[23] Slate was bemused by the show's segments and design, feeling that Boohbah was less effective than Anne Wood's previous show Teletubbies: "For all its earnest intentions, Boohbah lacks both the conceptual purity of Teletubbies and its sublimely silly sensibility."[24] Cheat Sheet ranked the show first on their list of "5 Most Horrifying TV Shows That Aren't Supposed to Be Scary", criticising the characters' appearances, although crediting it for encouraging children to perform in physical exercise.[25]

References

  1. ^ a b Ashdown, Simon (1 June 2003). "A new health-conscious TV trend takes kids from plump to pumped". Kidscreen.
  2. ^ a b "ITV lines up atoms for preschool push". C21Media. 10 April 2003.
  3. ^ a b c "About Boohbah - Nick Jr UK". NickJr.co.uk. 4 March 2006. Archived from the original on 4 March 2006.
  4. ^ a b c "Boohbah to start kids' days on Nick Jr" (Press release). Ragdoll Productions. Archived from the original on 1 December 2008.
  5. ^ "Television: Tubby, And Bouncy Too". Time. 19 January 2004.
  6. ^ a b "The telly's new tubbies: Boohbahs". Los Angeles Times. 23 January 2004.
  7. ^ "Meet the Boohbahs - Nick Jr UK". NickJr.co.uk. 22 February 2006. Archived from the original on 22 February 2006.
  8. ^ a b "Meet the Storyworld People - Nick Jr UK". NickJr.co.uk. 22 February 2006. Archived from the original on 22 February 2006.
  9. ^ "Five-year deal for Ragdoll's new preschooler series". C21Media.
  10. ^ a b "KEY PARTNERS REUNITE TO INTRODUCE BOOHBAH TO NORTH AMERICA". Archived from the original on 23 September 2006.
  11. ^ "BOOHBAH SPINNING AROUND THE WORLD TWO NEW SIGNINGS FOR RAGDOLL'S LATEST CREATION". Archived from the original on 23 September 2006.
  12. ^ "BOOHBAH TO SPIN AROUND THE WORLD WITH HASBRO". Archived from the original on 23 September 2006.
  13. ^ "BOOHBAH BOUNCES BACK WITH A BRAND NEW SECOND SERIES ON CiTV!". Archived from the original on 23 September 2006.
  14. ^ "HAVE A BUMPER BOOHBAH EASTER WEEKEND!". Archived from the original on 23 September 2006.
  15. ^ "BOOHBAH HEADS FOR CANADA". Archived from the original on 23 September 2006.
  16. ^ "BOOHBAH BOUNCES ONTO NICKELODEON". Archived from the original on 23 September 2006.
  17. ^ "BOOHBAH BOUNCES INTO CHINA!". Archived from the original on 23 September 2006.
  18. ^ "BOOHBAH will launch across 2 time zones on Monday, 11 July 2005". Archived from the original on 23 September 2006.
  19. ^ a b "Boohbah". EW.com. Archived from the original on 16 August 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  20. ^ Ali, Lorraine (25 January 2004). "Entertainment Shorts: Television". Newsweek.
  21. ^ "Boohbah - TV Review". Common Sense Media. 7 January 2011.
  22. ^ Dominus, Susan (4 January 2004). "She Speaks 3-Year-Old". The New York Times Magazine.
  23. ^ Boohbah: Season 1, retrieved 18 June 2021
  24. ^ Stevens, Dana (30 January 2004), "Creature Feature – Is Boohbah the new Teletubbies?", Slate, retrieved 4 July 2021
  25. ^ Roberts, Will (27 October 2016). "5 Most Horrifying TV Shows That Aren't Supposed to Be Scary". Showbiz Cheat Sheet. Retrieved 18 June 2021.