|Created by||Susanna Gretz (book series)|
Alison Sage (book series)
Adrian Hedley (TV Adaption)
|No. of series||3|
|Running time||10 minutes|
|Production companies||Meridian Broadcasting|
|Original network||ITV Network (CITV)|
|Original release||1997 –|
Teddybears is a children's television programme broadcast on ITV from 1997 to 2000, based on the books by Susanna Gretz. The show was about the life of five coloured teddy bears and their dog Fred. The show was filmed by Meridian Broadcasting. Journalists have compared Teddybears as being similar to and a rival of Teletubbies which was also produced around that time. However the series was targeted at older children.
Teddybears is based on Susanna Gretz and Alison Sage's teddy bear books, the first of which was published almost 30 years before the TV programme's creation. Teddybear's inaugural season began on 5 January 1998.
A 1999 article in the Bristol Post said Teddybears "have become a huge hit with young viewers", having captured 64% of the target audience. Link Licensing, a United News & Media spinoff, began making toys, books, and other merchandising several months before the programme's debut. Rights and merchandising company ProVen Private Equity has from Link Licensing the rights to make Teddybears products. In 2000, Link Licensing sold the rights to Teddybears to the TV network Trio which bought 26 episodes.
The producers of Teddybears asserted that Teddybears is not an immediate rival of Teletubbies; the Daily Record considers it a rival. The Daily Record noted that the two TV series have several parallels. Whereas the Teddybears eat "hot cross buns, honey, pancakes, jelly and ice cream", the Teletubbies eat "tubby toast and tubby custard". The Teddybears sing The Teddybear Song while the Teletubbies sing Teletubbies say "Eh-oh!". A difference between the two TV series is that Teddybears's intended audience is older children.
The shows' similarities sparked "intense" coverage by the media. Newspapers and TV shows requested interviews with the teddybears, who all appeared on Richard and Judy's This Morning.
The five teddybears in the series are William, Sarah, Louise, Robert, and Charles. They wear "brightly-coloured furry suits" and live at No. 8 Green Street, Bearbridge. According to actress Louise Conran, who played Sarah, she had to "wear a lycra body suit, padding on top of that and then the costumes which are about half an inch thick". Since the teddybear masks were fastened to their faces with glue, the teddybear actors had to keep the masks on the entire day, even when eating dinner. From the second series the costumes were changed because of this. The actors are adults but play child-sized bears on a set in which everything they interact with is oversized.
Puppeteers Cheryl Blaize, Louise Conran, Tim Hulse, James O' Donnell, Carl Matthewman, John Tobias, Sarah Jane Honeywell, Rae Grant, Grant Mason, Simon Snellings, Kathy Ryan, Rebecca Clow, and Lee Crowley all worked on the series.