The Canine Inventor Supreme
Genre Animated Created by Grange Calveley Voices of Richard Briers Theme music composer Johnny Hawksworth Country of origin United Kingdom Language(s) English No. of seasons 1 No. of episodes 30 Production Producer(s) Bob Godfrey (1974 series)
Jason Tammemagi (2005 series)
Camera setup Single-camera Running time 5 minutes Broadcast Original channel BBC1 Picture format 4:3 Audio format Monaural sound Original run 21 October – 27 November 1974
Roobarb is a British animated television programme for children, originally shown on BBC1 just before the evening news. Each cartoon, written by Grange Calveley and animated by Bob Godfrey, was about five minutes long. Thirty episodes were made, and the show was first shown on October 21, 1974. The theme is that of the loving rivalry between Roobarb the green dog and Custard the pink cat from next door.
Roobarb is a green dog, and Custard is a pink cat. Roobarb is always involved in some kind of misadventure which he approaches with unbounded enthusiasm. Custard is cynical and sets out to sabotage Roobarb's fun. Which one comes out on top varies from episode to episode. Other characters in the series are the birds, who watch the antics of the other two from the safety of a nearby tree, often making snide remarks, and siding with whoever is winning. There is also a rather timid, pink mouse.
The series is animated in a deliberately rough style, using marker pens and a very sketchy drawing technique, so that the pictures are constantly moving. This effect, known to animators as "boiling", gives an energetic character to the show, and was a contrast to the slick, smooth colouring of the imported Hanna-Barbera shows that were being widely shown on British television. The series was voiced by actor Richard Briers and the famous theme tune was written by Johnny Hawksworth. It was the first fully animated television series to be made in the UK.
The series was an enormous success, greatly loved by children and adults alike, and winning numerous awards. It is now viewed as "must watch" cult TV. Contrary to popular belief, the show was not called Roobarb and Custard.
A new series titled Roobarb and Custard Too debuted on Five on 8 August 2005. Like the original, it is written by Grange Calveley and narrated by Richard Briers. The series introduces a large number of other animal characters who also get involved in Roobarb's schemes. It is produced by Adam Sharp and Bernadette O'Riordan for A&B TV, and directed by Jason Tammemagi; the animation is by the Irish company Monster Animation & Design. The new series, comprising 39 seven-minute episodes, uses computer animation, but retains the "wobbly" look and plain white backgrounds of the original series. A new musical score by Jon Atkinson adds to the manic feel of the remake.
- "When Roobarb Made a Spike"
- "When Roobarb Didn't See the Sun Come Up"
- "When Roobarb Was Being Bored Then Not Being Bored"
- "When the Tree Fell to Pieces"
- "When Roobarb Found Sauce"- Roobarb sets out to find the source of the pond.
- "When It Was Night"- Roobarb dreams that he and Custard are cowboys fighting a band of nasty crows.
- "When It Was Christmas" - Roobarb plans a delicious Christmas feast and everyone is invited, but when the dog takes it too far and eats the whole feast, he is ashamed, until a special guest arrives and saves the day, yet Roobarb feels terrible for poor Custard not turning up, who is going to save the Christmas party now?
- "When The Sun Was Just Right"
- "When The Opera Wasn't A Phantom"
- "When There Wasn't Treasure"- Roobarb dresses as a pirate and searches for treasure.
- "When It Wasn't Thorsday"- Roobarb angers the Viking Gods.
- "When Roobarb Was Cheating"
- "When Custard Was Sorry"
- "When Roobarb Mixed the Paint"
- "When Roobarb's Heart Ruled His Head"
- "When You're Going To Fly-Fly High"
- "When The Day Didn't Arrive"
- "When Roobarb Did The Lion's Share"
- "When Roobarb Was at the End of His Tether (and so was Custard)"
- "When Custard Stole the Show" - Custard wonders how deep the pond is and decides to find out, building his own diving outfit and adopting the persona Jaques Coostard. Roobarb forms a plan to get the fish out.
- "When There Was A Dance At Foxes Dale"
- "When Roobarb Wasn't As Pleased As Punch" - Roobarb makes his own puppet show, but nobody finds it funny.
- "When Roobarb Turned Over A New Leaf" - Roobarb plants his garden and wakes up to find that a "big fat dreamy jungle" had formed.
- "When There Was Someone Else" - Roobarb makes friends with a shadowy boxer and challenges everybody to have a boxing fight with him.
- "When The Day Wouldn't Keep Still" - Roobarb gets hiccups and thinks it's an earthquake.
- "When Roobarb Got A Long Break"
- "When The Pipes Call The Tune" - A parcel arrives at Roobarb's doorstep, he's extremely excited, however, a surprise parcel arrives for Custard and he's delighted to know that it was because anybody who orders a set of bagpipes from Glasgow, also receives a package for their next door neighbour.
- "When A Knight Lost His Day" - Roobarb finds an old book which happens to be of his family tree, he decides to become a knight.
- "When Custard Got Too Near The Bone" - Roobarb plants bones round the turf for his garden party, Custard hears this and plans to sell the land for a lot of money to a gang of fierce dogs, but are the bones what the dogs expected?
- "When There Was A Big Mix Up" - Roobarb becomes a hypnotist and everything goes wrong.
Roobarb and Custard Too
- "When There Was A Surprise"
- "When Custard Was Grounded"
- "When Custard Wrote A Book"
- "When There Was An Elephant"
- "When Custard Was Very, Very Naughty"
- "When The Books Went Bye Bye"
- "When There Was A Wind-Up"
- "When Roobarb Found The Hieroglypics"
- "When It Ended In Tears"
- "When There Was A Big Band"
- "When The Garden Was Dry"
- "When There Was A Time Warp"
- "When It Was Cool To Be Smooth"
- "When There Was A Pottery Party"
- "When The Computer Went On The Blink"
- "When There Was An Opera"
- "When The Mouse Arrived For Christmas"
- "When Roobarb Went On A Fitness Drive"
- "When Modern Thingumajigs Need Tweaking"
- "When The Wind Blows, The Space Age Will Stop"
- "When There Wasn't A Boiled Egg"
- "When Rookie Fell Out Of The Sky"
- "When The Laughing Had To Stop"
- "When Roobarb Was Bowled Over"
- "When Walter's Web Caught Roobarb's Eye"
- "When There Was A Dance Festival"
- "When There Was Magic"
- "When The Ballet Hit The Skids"
- "When A Dinosaur Broke Loose"
- "When Jeremy Barker Turned Up"
- "When There Was A Country Fayre"
- "When The Molecules Got Loose"
- "When There Was A Duel"
- "When It Was A Wibbling Week"
- "When The Astrognomes Landed"
- "When Everything Went Lumpy"
- "When Communications Weren't The Best"
- "When There Really Was A Something"
- "When There Was A Cuckoo"
- The Streets' song "Turn the Page" mentions "Roobarb and Custard verses".
- A sampling of Roobarb and Custard's episodes and theme song made up the basis for the 1992 rave single of the same name by the UK group Shaft.
- A two second clip of Roobarb can be seen in the music video for Green Day's song Longview.
Roobarb and Custard were featured in the 'Official BBC Children in Need Medley' video by Peter Kay which contained many other popular cartoon characters. They appeared via a televised monitor as they were 2-D animation, as opposed to the Stop-Motion style of the video and characters.
Roobarb and Custard became the stars of a series of children's books based on the TV series by Mogzilla Publishing in 2009.
- Roobarb & Custard's official web site
- Roobarb & Custard's producers and brand guardians
- Roobarb at bbc.co.uk
- Fridayanimal.com discussion about Roobarb's colour, including the definitive answer from Roobarb's creator
- Roobarb at the Internet Movie Database
- Roobarb & Custard children's book series from Mogzilla Publishing
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