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Charlie Chalk is a stop motion animation series produced in 1987 in the United Kingdom by Woodland Animations, who also produced the children's television programmes Postman Pat, Gran, and Bertha. Reception to the show was mostly positive.

Charlie Chalk
Created byIvor Wood
Written byJocelyn Stevenson
Directed byDerek Mogford
StarringMichael Williams
John Wells
Barbara Leigh-Hunt
Opening theme"Charlie Chalk" sung by Ken Barrie
Ending theme"Charlie Chalk (Different Version)" sung by Ken Barrie
Composer(s)Mike Redway
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes13
Production
Producer(s)Ivor Wood
Editor(s)Martin Bohan
Running time15 minutes per episode (approx)
Production company(s)Woodland Animations
Release
Original networkBBC1
Original release1 October –
24 December 1987

SynopsisEdit

The series tells the story of Charlie Chalk - a jolly clown who, after falling asleep whilst fishing out at sea, ends up on a strange island by the name of Merrytwit (as explained in the title sequence before each episode). Characters had to be aware of coconuts which constantly fell from the trees on the island.

The pilot episode of the series (entitled 'Shipwrecked Charlie') finds Charlie having just landed on Merrytwit, and after making friends with some of its inhabitants, decides to stay and build a home there. The following episodes follow Charlie and his new friends on various adventures on the island.

Main charactersEdit

  • Charlie Chalk: A good natured and friendly peaceful clown, he was out on a fishing trip, when he ended up on Merrytwit Island. In the theme tune, he is described as having "a funny way of walking and a wacky way of chalking". He was voiced by Michael Williams. His 'funny way of walking' is demonstrated when on occasion he tumbles in an acrobatic circus-style through frames, around obstacles, or just to show folks how happy he is. He also has the ability to do magic tricks.
  • Captain Mildred: The boss of the island (a parody of Margaret Thatcher), who loves to see everyone hard at work and has the practice of listing things that have to be done: "a: do this; b: do that" etc. She lives on the beached ship Buttercup.
  • Mary the Hover Fairy: An old fairy who often proves useful due to her ability to cast spells, provided her magic wand, Houdini, has not wandered off again. She is getting old, so has decided to settle down on Merrytwit. She now lives on Buttercup, serving as Mildred's first mate.
  • Lewis T. Duck: A small duck with a short temper. He is full of ideas, and believes them to be the best, so is quick to inform people that he is "always right". He can be quite friendly but lacks patience. The 'T' stands for 'The'.
  • Arnold the Elephant: A pink elephant, who is quite jolly, but also very clumsy, much to the annoyance of Lewis, who always seems to be on the receiving end of Arnold's bouts of clumsiness.
  • Edward: A monkey who spends his time sleeping and has quite a dislike for work.
  • Trader Jones: Trader is the island's odd job man. Not only does he drive a bike which acts as a taxi and a means of transporting goods, he also owns a general supplies store on the island: 'if you want it, he's got it.' He never accepts money, he only trades e.g. a supply of bananas may cost a day's beachcombing.
  • Bert: An ogre, discovered by Charlie, Arnold and Lewis in the episode The Mountain that Moaned. He lives inside a cave, and whilst an extremely friendly ogre, he is quite lacking in intelligence.
  • Litterbug: A tiny little bug who is kept busy tidying up litter around the island. He often complains about the amount of litter, but does not realise there would be far less litter if his sack did not have a hole in it. Being so tiny, he is not always noticed, a fact which further frustrates him.

EpisodesEdit

The series consisted of 13 original episodes, as listed below:

# Title Summary Broadcast Date
1 Shipwrecked Charlie Charlie Chalk lands on Merrytwit and meets Edward, Trader Jones, Captain Mildred, Arnold and Lewis T. Duck. They all agree that the first thing Charlie must do is build a house but choosing the best location proves difficult. 1 October 1987
2 Arnold's Night Out Charlie finds a treasure map and he, Lewis and Arnold decide to go looking for the treasure but become confused and fall out with each other. Arnold ends up finding the treasure after walking through the night. 8 October 1987
3 The Coconut Harvest In the middle of the coconut harvest, Trader Jones makes a wish and, before anyone knows what has happened, Mary the Hover Fairy appears. She grants Trader's wish but he discovers that the magic may not be the best way to harvest coconuts. 15 October 1987
4 The Sneezes Charlie unfortunately has to cancel the big expedition to find the Bye Bye Beast because he has got the sneezes. But when Trader Jones' cure for the dread disease happens to include the elusive Beast's favourite food, Charlie's luck changes. 22 October 1987
5 Jumping Bananas Litterbug, on his constant quest for tidiness, picks up Mary the Hover Fairy's wand when she puts it down halfway through a spell. When the poor creature is chased by a crowd of jumping bananas, he finds out that there could be such a thing as being too tidy. 29 October 1987
6 The Mountain That Moaned One day Arnold claims that the mountain moaned and no one believes him. So Charlie and Lewis decide to set off and see why the mountain moans. The mountain leads them to a new friend. 5 November 1987
7 Edward Keeps Fit It is inspection day on Merrytwit and Captain Mildred decides it is time lazy Edward took some exercise. 12 November 1987
8 The Feast Charlie is helping Trader Jones beach combing when they stumble upon a cookery book. Trader decides to prepare the first Merrytwit feast, but when coconuts and bananas are the only ingredients available, the feast does not quite work out as planned. 19 November 1987
9 There Are No Roads On Merrytwit Lewis T. Duck, who is always right, is dismayed to discover that there are no roads on Merrytwit. So he decides to build one. 26 November 1987
10 Mildred's Day Off Captain Mildred is becoming bored of her day-to-day life of living on her boat she calls a home, so she decided to take her best friend Mary the Hover Fairy with her on a short holiday. 3 December 1987
11 Bert's Boring Day The cave monster Bert is having a boring day, he has run out of interesting things to do in Merrytwit, but his day soon livens up when his friends plan a day full of fun. 10 December 1987
12 Return Of The Litter It will soon be Litterbug's birthday; Charlie and the other inhabitants of Merrytwit cannot think of a gift to give Litterbug for his birthday, they decide to explore the island for the perfect gift. 17 December 1987
13 Goodbye, Hello Although Charlie is enjoying his new life on Merrytwit, he also misses the circus and his old friends back home, so Charlie decides to say goodbye to Merrytwit and his newfound friends and go back to his old life as a clown, but in the end decides to stay on Merrytwit. Clips from previous episodes are shown. 24 December 1987

MerchandiseEdit

  • Charlie Chalk - The Complete Series features all 13 episodes and is currently available in the UK on a single DVD release. It was made by Right Entertainment plc and distributed by Universal Pictures in 2005.
  • In 1994, Redrock Records released a Charlie Chalk LP. It included the several incidental songs played on the show and the full Charlie Chalk theme song which includes some previously unheard lyrics.
  • A new Charlie Chalk CD has been developed in America.
  • The UK based restaurant chain Brewers Fayre originally used Charlie Chalk as their mascot.
  • Charlie Chalk Fun Factory was a play area for little kids, found in large Pubs across the United Kingdom, now only found around Aberdeen.

BroadcastEdit

  • The series originally first aired on the BBC in the UK on 1 October 1987 of the same year from 24 December 1987. It later aired on cable television being shown on Sky One as part of The DJ Kat Show and later on The Children's Channel as part of their block for preschoolers Tiny TCC.
  • The series was later sold to broadcast in various countries around the world such as ABC in Australia, YTV in Canada, RTÉ One and RTÉ Two in the Irish Republic, TVNZ 1 in New Zealand, TVB in Hong Kong and NRK in Norway.
  • The series was dubbed in Scottish Gaelic and broadcast under the title Callum an Cailc by BBC Scotland.

Voice castEdit

  • Michael Williams as Charlie Chalk, Lewis T. Duck, Trader Jones, Litterbug, and Rabbit
  • Barbara Leigh-Hunt as Captain Mildred, Mary the Hover Fairy, and Ponka the Toucan
  • John Wells as Arnold the Elephant, Edward, and Bert
  • Ken Barrie as Song vocals
  • Joan Baxter as Song vocals
  • Mike Redway as Song vocals

UK VHS releasesEdit

All 13 episodes were released on three BBC Videos in the UK between 1988 and 1991.

VHS video title Year of release Episodes
Charlie Chalk - Shipwrecked Charlie (BBCV 4195) 7 November 1988 Shipwrecked Charlie, Arnold's Night Out, Coconut Harvest, Sneezes, Jumping Bananas
Charlie Chalk - The Mountain That Moaned (BBCV 4427) 5 November 1990 The Mountain That Moaned, Edward Keeps Fit, The Feast, There are No Roads on Merrytwit.
Charlie Chalk - Mildred's Day Off (BBCV 4636) 1 July 1991 Mildred's Day Off, Bert's Boring Day, Return of the Litter, Goodbye Hello.

Then, in 1995, Tempo Video released 9 episodes on VHS.

VHS video title Year of release Episodes
Charlie Chalk - Jumping Bananas (975927) 7 August 1995 Sneezes, Return of the Litter, Mildred's Day Off, The Feast, Jumping Bananas
Charlie Chalk - There are No Roads on Merrytwit (978225) 7 August 1995 'There are No Roads on Merrytwit' and 'Edward Keeps Fit'
Charlie Chalk - Coconut Harvest (986725) 7 August 1995 'Coconut Harvest' and 'Goodbye, Hello'

Finally, from 1999 to 2000, Contender Entertainment released 9 episodes on VHS.

VHS video title Year of release Episodes
Charlie Chalk Bumper Video (NIP11063) 1 February 1999 Shipwrecked Charlie, Arnold's Night Out, The Coconut Harvest, Sneezes, Jumping Bananas
The Adventures of Charlie Chalk (NIP11085) 7 February 2000 The Mountain That Moaned, Edward Keeps Fit, Mildred's Day Off, Return of The Litter

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit