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Toonhound presents...






It's A Puppet!

Basil Brush

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     Basil Brush       (1963 - )
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       creators: Peter Firmin / Ivan Owen
hand puppet

          1963-1964 / THE THREE SCAMPIES

          THE NIXON LINE
          1968 / 2 programmes

          1968-1980 / 119 programmes

          1983-1984 / 10 appearances

          BLUE PETER
          2002-2005 / 22 appearances

          2002-2005 / 52 programmes


    "The last time I saw
       a face like that it had a hook in it!..."
                                                                 - Basil gets cheeky

    Well, hello... Everyone's favourite foxy friend, Basil Brush, has been a part of
    British television culture for nigh-on 40 years. He was created by illustrator
    and animator Peter Firmin in 1963 and was operated and voiced by actor Ivan
    Owen until his death in 2000. The Basil character was originally conceived for
    "The Three Scampys Show", but stardom beckoned and he was swiftly given his
    own BBC series, "The Basil Brush Show". Basil, his fondness for jelly babies, his
    BOOM-BOOM catchprase, his stories, and his ribald comments were a huge
    success. By the end of the 1960's his show topped the ratings and there was
    a plethora of associated. Basil merchandise on British High Streets for kids
    old and young to snap up...
        'Two Tales Of Basil Brush' by Peter Firmin   'The Blunderful World Of Basil Brush'   BOOM-BOOM - it's Basil!

    Of course Basil's ongoing success was at the expense of his actor co-stars,
    whom he would refer to as his "Mr"s. There were five different 'Mr's during Basil's
    first run, these being Rodney Bewes, Derek Fowlds, Roy North, Howard Williams,
    and Billy Boyle. Each brought their own personality to the role and won over a
    different generations of fans - much as the different Dr Who stars have done
    over the years. But each were subjected to more than their fair share of corny
    jokes, slapstick and ribbing from our foxy star...

    "The Basil Brush Show" ended its long tv run in 1980, but rather than being
    mothballed and preserved for prosperity this former teatime star was subjected
    to one final humiliation courtesy of a collection of children's compilation shows.
    "Basil Brush's Cartoon Story Book" was an awful production, sandwiching our
    BOOM-BOOM boy between cheap Japanese animated fairytales. You can still
    track these down on video at car-boot sales, but time has been even crueler.
    Mr Brush looks desperately tired, threadbare, and plain worn-out. His jokes
    and japes are lost on a lifeless, unresponsive camera. One imagines it was
    almost a relief to let him retire after that...
    Fast forward to 2000. The hunger for children's TV nostalgia was just hitting its
    stride when media players Entertainment Rights made a very shrewd move for
    the rights to our foxy fellow. A new series was put into development and, wouldn't
    you know, the rejuvenated star proved the subject of a bidding war between
    broadcasters keen to snap up the show. He was back, but sadly, his voice
    wasn't. Ivan Owen passed away just as Basil was poised to return. His death
    contributed to production delays which pushed the series back 12 months
    until finally, in Autumn 2002 the new show launched on the BBC - the very
    same channel who had dropped him from the schedules twenty years before.

    "Foxed" features two new younger "Mr"s - Mr Steven and Mr Dave - and a new
    young "Miss" in the form of Miss Molly. As for the star, an all-new puppet has
    been constructed by Darryl Worbey Studios. They've gone back to Peter Firmin's
    original illustrations and smartened the fellow up. There's a lot of movement
    within his furry frame. The series itself is presented as a children's sitcom, with
    the action flitting between a bright new apartment and the local cafe bar...

      Daily Mirror headline - 3/10/02  

    Reaction to the series has been mixed with a very specific section of the press
    and public condemning the new-look Basil and his sitcom setting. The Hound
    though, gives "Foxed" a furry thumbs-up. It's a feast of fun, stuffed with one-liners
    and asides. Some hit, some miss, whilst some shoot right over the heads of
    its young audience. Basil's pop culture spoofs are particularly fun, and there
    are some interesting new members of the Brush family to contend with, like
    evil Cousin Mortimer. The show just clicks, much like the excellent "Sooty
    Heights" series, a few years back, when Sooty and Sweep's rioutous antics
    were at their peak.

    Really, the fuss about a '"fat" and "faulty" Basil is just so-much hogwash. The
    new puppet is to the original what the new-look Mini is to its predecessor.
    Darryl Worbey Studios have done an excellent job, packing much movement
    and expression into Basil's cuddly frame.

    By the way, keen-eyed fans should keep their eyes on the 'Foxed' tv credits,
    because this new-look, fit -looking Brush actually has his own credited
    'Fitness Instructor'!...

    Basil has made many guest appearances over the years, on tv shows like
    "Crackerjack", "Breakfast Time" and various Saturday Morning productions.
     But most notably, between January 2003 and March 2004 he became a
     regular guest presenter on the BBC flagship series "Blue Peter", as part
     of his "Foxed" resurrection...


      In the news

       The Hound: August 2003
       Basil insured for £1million...

       The Hound: June 2003
       Basil gets a fitness instructor...

       The Hound: May 2000
       The return of Basil Brush...


      Foxed: Brodcast info

     "The Date" premiered on BBC1 on the 4th October 2002...


      Foxed: Episode titles

     The Date                                
  Revenge of the Mummy
     The Pitz Hotel
     Stately Home                       
     Holding the Baby
     The Bully                                   
Wedded Blitz
Pop Fox 
     The Fake's Progress                    
Foxweight Champion
     The Job                                     
Dog-gone It
     Meanie Genie                              
Fox in Space
     The Farm                                   
Thanks a Million
     The Mad Man of Murrimbidgee        
Manic Organic
     Going for Broke                           
Basil's Angels  
     Molly Christmas                           
Basil's Brush With Fame
     Cousin Mortimer                          
The Stupid Christmas I Mean
Halloween Episode    
     Big Bother                                  
I'm a Celebrity... Let Me Back
     The Return of Cousin Mortimer       
in the Kitchen!     
     Bing Trouble                               
Double Trouble   
     Molly in Love                              
Basil the Movie         
     Basil's Christmas Turkey                
The Incapables        
     Fit for Nothing                            
Meeja Mogul           
     Soap a Dope                              
Santa Brush   
     Taste the Blood of Brushcula
         Double Trouble Two
     Surprise Party               
     Bend it Like Basil
     Quiz Night
     Sports Spectacular
     Project Anil
     Basil's Millions
     Frocks Rocks


      Basil Brush on DVD

      UK DVD 

      Basil Brush - Sports Spectacular
      Region 2 / 3 episodes from Foxed / Right Ent. / July 2005

      Basil Brush - Unleashed
      Region 2 / 3 episodes from Foxed / Right Ent. / October 2003

      Boom Boom! - The Best of the
      Original Basil Brush Show
      Region 2 compilation / Universal / Right Ent. / October 2001


     On the web

Basil Brush 

       A flash official site for Foxed. A good fun site...

       Darryl Worbey 
       The creative team behind the new-look Basil, Darryl Worbey and friends
       have a bucket-load of puppet building experience to their names, like
       those lovable Leprechauns from Live & Kicking...
       The web's most-linked, with a plethora of clips and  and WAVs
       for Brush fans

       Of course, SmallFilms' Peter Firmin conceived the original Basil and
       illustrated lord-knows how many storybooks and associated praphenalia.
       Here's the official site featuring all the info you can wish on Bagpuss,
       The Clangers, The Pogles, Noggin The Nog and the other amazing tv
       series he created with Oliver Postgate...

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© Entertainment Rights / Pter Firmin / Ivan Owen / F2006