Bob the Builder
Can we fix it?
Bob the Builder
Yes we can!
- Bob the Builder theme tune
Paul K Joyce
In April 1999 a new children's animated television show burst onto small screens in the UK. Its catchy theme tune, bold colours and simple storylines involving a builder and his gang of talking machines made it an instant success. Over the next few years, the series grew and grew in reputation. By the time 'Can We Fix It?' (an adaptation of the theme tune) reached Number One in the UK Music Charts in December 2000, almost everyone in the UK knew of Bob the Builder. Further musical success in 2001, when Bob the Builder's version of Lou Bega's Mambo No.51 reached number one, made the chubby hard-hat wearing builder a pop sensation2. So who are Bob and the Gang? Read on.
"Can We Fix It?" Bob is a builder. With a snazzy flannelette shirt, blue overalls, toolbelt and bright yellow hard-hat, he's a stickler for tea-breaks. He has a team of machines that help him with his building work around town and he has a lot of friends who always need repairs or work done! Some of Bob's work has included:
- renovation of ancient monuments
- loft conversions
- conservatory installations
- chimney repair and roof work
- fence and gate repairs
- street light repairs
- drain clearance
- landscaping work (where a former tip became a new football pitch)
- plumbing works and fixing leaking water mains
- road repairs
- new road construction (including variations to contract not agreed with client - construction of additional hedgehog underpass)
- road alterations (construction of cycle lane)
- removal of fallen trees obstructing the road
As a character, Bob is very even-tempered and patient, punctual, well-mannered and reliable. Good at coming up with imaginative solutions to building problems, his only downfalls are his penchant for cakes and his obvious infatuation with his work colleague, Wendy.
'Bob's Building Yard.' Blonde-haired Wendy is Bob's business partner. She was once his receptionist, but now she helps out with a lot of the building work too. She can often be seen in a blue hard-hat and overalls splattered with paint or cement, laying bricks or decorating walls. Whether she knows it or not, she is adored by Bob, and her mothering instincts blossom when she's working with Bob and the machines.
Scoop:'No prob, Bob!' Scoop is the leader of the machine team. He's a big yellow digger who likes to help whenever he can.
Muck:'Muck to the Rescue!' Muck is a red digger-dumper who loves getting dirty. He sometimes does things without thinking, so can get into a bit of trouble (usually helped by Spud the Scarecrow!)
Dizzy:'Brilliant!' Dizzy is a bright orange cement mixer. She loves listening to music on her headphones, playing football and all sorts of racing games.
Roley: 'Rock and ROLL!' Roley is a green steam-roller. He loves animals and his best friend Bird often perches on his cab roof.
Lofty: 'I think so...' Lofty is a blue crane. He's very nervous, but usually overcomes his fears with help from the rest of the team.
Pilchard the Cat is Bob's pet cat. She is more often than not either sleeping or eating, and when awake causes commotion of one sort or another. She has been known to help on the odd occasion though.
Bird is a blue finch or woodpecker. A friend of Roley, Bird likes to help the team by whistling out instructions whenever they get into a bit of a jam.
Spud the Scarecrow is Farmer Pickles's Scarecrow, although he's not all that good at his job. He likes to help out Bob, remarking 'Spud's on the job, Bob!', but his help constantly turns into hindrance.
Farmer Pickles often needs a lot of work done around his farm, especially after Spud has been playing about.
Travis the Tractor belongs to Farmer Pickles and often gets Spud the Scarecrow out of trouble – or himself into trouble, thanks to Spud!
Molly and JJ - Building Suppliers are a father/daughter team that run the building supplies business in town. They help Bob finish his work with their own machines: Skip, a skip truck who clears up after Bob and the team when they've finished a job and Trix, a speedy purple forklift. She loves racing and likes to play with Dizzy.
Mrs Potts is quite possibly the richest woman in town as she is always having work done to her house by Bob and the gang.
Mr Bentley is the town clerk. His clipboard and special pen (presented to him by the Mayor) are always at his side as he checks off Bob's work against one of his many lists. Mr Bentley is generally a stickler for the rules, but will sometimes bend them; for example, he is happy to employ an untrained scarecrow as a traffic control engineer on an apparently busy road (presumably to cover up his own failure to publish a traffic regulation order). His wife Barbara likes to keep the building team busy too!
Mr Beasley is a computer engineer, a DIY enthusiast and also an avid pigeon racer. His ham-fisted home improvements often lead to a call for Bob's expertise.
Mr Fothergill has a parrot called Hamish, who he's unfortunately allergic to. All that sneezing makes him rather accident-prone - he even manages to break stairs and floorboards.
Mrs Percival is the town schoolteacher. She likes to arrange all kinds of events in town, from fashion shows to school plays. But they wouldn't run so smoothly were it not for Bob and the gang making catwalks or helping to design costumes!
Mr Sabatini is the owner of the local pizzeria, who pays Bob for his work with piping hot pizza.
Mr Dixon is the town postman. He can get extremely busy, so sometimes needs the help of the building gang to deliver his mail.
The list of characters continues to grow as Bob's workload increases!
About the Television Series
The series, an original concept by Keith Chapman, is produced by HIT Entertainment PLC. Neil (Men Behaving Badly) Morrissey voices Bob in the UK, while other actors lend their voices to the supporting characters. With a Christmas Special and feature-length episode (The Knights of Canalot) under their belts, as well as a myriad of affiliated merchandise, Bob the Builder and his gang have become something of a cult sensation, especially with toddlers. The series has been exported to more than 130 countries all over the world, Bob speaking American, French, German, Spanish and countless other languages3, but still entertaining young and old.
- Bob has his own website at www.bobthebuilder.com.
- Find out what H2G2 has to say about your favourite animated children's TV programmes at Stop-motion Animation Programmes, Cartoons and TV Puppets.