Robbie the Reindeer
Robbie the Reindeer is a series of three animated comedy television specials co-produced by the BBC and charity Comic Relief which aired on BBC One between Christmas 1999 and 2007. Although the series is distributed commercially by BBC Studios, and has been sold to more than 30 countries internationally, the entirety of their net profits from the series go to Comic Relief. The first two specials were animated in stop motion by the BBC Bristol animation unit, while the third was a CGI animation by Absolute Digital Pictures. Robbie the Reindeer was created by Richard Curtis, who also was executive producer of the first two specials and co-wrote Hooves of Fire.
|Robbie the Reindeer|
|Genre||Comedy, Stop motion|
|Created by||Richard Curtis|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||3|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||BBC Bristol, Comic Relief, Absolute Digital Pictures|
|Original network||BBC One|
|Picture format||PAL, 16:9|
|Original release||1999 –|
The programmes follow Robbie, a reindeer who travels to the North Pole to join Santa's sleigh team, his encounters with the vengeful Blitzen and his relationship with love interest Donner.
- Ardal O'Hanlon as Robbie: The easy-going and childlike son of one of Santa's former reindeer whose nose acts as a tracking device.
- Paul Whitehouse as Prancer: An upbeat and slow-witted reindeer that befriends Robbie.
- Jane Horrocks as Donner: A support member of the sleigh team and Robbie's love interest.
- Steve Coogan as Blitzen: A member of the sleigh team who is envious of Robbie's father's popularity and plots to "destroy" Robbie as revenge.
- Harry Enfield as Old Jingle: The reindeer that trained Robbie's father and prepares Robbie for The Reindeer Games.
- Alistair McGowan as Des Yeti and Alan Snowman: Commentators for The Reindeer Games.
- Robbie's Father: A former member of the sleigh team (implied to be Rudolph) who once "saved the day" for Santa and as a result is popular enough to have merchandise and a song named after him. He is never named or seen onscreen, and a running gag sees any character who attempts to say his name immediately interrupted.
List of specialsEdit
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Music by||Produced by||Original air date|
|1||"Hooves of Fire"||Richard Goleszowski||Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley, Richard Curtis||Mark Knopfler, Guy Fletcher||Jaqueline White||25 December 1999|
Looking to work as Santa's navigator, Robbie arrives at the North Pole and becomes acquainted with the sleigh team, which includes Prancer, Donner, Blitzen and Vixen. Although Vixen is in a relationship with Blitzen, Robbie is soon besotted by her. Blitzen, who envies Robbie's father Rudolph, plots to have Robbie kicked off the team by discouraging him from taking his fitness training seriously, conceiving a new sleigh with inbuilt GPS navigation and proposing that the least fit reindeer is made redundant. Faking sincerity, Blitzen convinces a worried Robbie that Santa will give him preferential treatment and delay the sleigh, prompting Robbie to leave for home. Finding the journey too difficult, he is found by Santa's elves and stays with them to work menial jobs. Donner finds Robbie, informs him of Blitzen's vengeful attitude and convinces him to get back on the Sleigh Team by competing in The Reindeer Games; The two find Old Jingle, who trains Robbie with Donner and the elves' help. On the day of the games, old Jingle becomes trapped under his house; Robbie rescues him but arrives late for the steeplechase late as a result. Robbie is able to catch up with the others and winds up barely losing the race to Blitzen, who is soon disqualified and arrested when he is found to have used performance-enhancing substances. Vixen dumps Blitzen, finds that Robbie has now fallen for Donner and leaves the North Pole. Santa lets Robbie borrow the sleigh, which he uses to spend a romantic evening with Donner.Guest starring: Robbie Williams (narrator), Caroline Quentin (Vixen), Jean Alexander (Mrs Santa), Ricky Tomlinson (Santa), Rhys Ifans (Head Elf), Tony Anscombe (Elf 3).
|2||"Legend of the Lost Tribe"||Peter Peake||Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley||Joby Talbot||Jaqueline White||25 December 2002|
Robbie and the other reindeer now run a bankrupt holiday resort. While rescuing a tourist, Robbie falls of a cliff and is rescued by a Viking, who then disappears. Later, Blitzen is released from prison early due to good behaviour, which he uses to trick the other reindeer into building a trap for themselves. Robbie, Donner and Prancer are the only ones to escape, and seek the aid of the last remaining Viking tribe (whose diminutive members are all named "Magnus"). Robbie's methods of searching for the tribe strain his relationship with Donner, who dumps him in frustration shortly before she and Prancer are recaptured by Blitzen's rabbit sidekick Long Eared Jack. Using special remote-controlled hats to turn them into "robots", Blitzen uses the former sleigh team as attractions in the his park Blitzen's Reindeer World. Robbie finds the tribe, who have been hiding since they avoided a battle that finished off every other Viking. Robbie brings them out of their shame, but is kidnapped mid-speech. The Vikings rescue Robbie and assist him in saving his friends. Blitzen engages a hand to hand fight against Robbie which is interrupted by Donner talking to Robbie about their relationship. Blitzen convinces Robbie to propose to Donner and attempts to kill him before he can hear her answer; Donner agrees and finishes off Blitzen in a move that throws him directly into jail. Meanwhile, Prancer overpowers Long Eared Jack and discovers that he was the international criminal Carlos the Hamster in a mechanical disguise; Carlos is also jailed. To salvage their business, the reindeer partner with the Vikings to create a themed disco.Guest Starring: Jeff Goldblum (White Rabbit), The League of Gentlemen (Vikings), Sean Hughes (Tapir), Rob Brydon (Prison Guard), Ricky Gervais (Penguin), Natalie Imbruglia (Koala), David Attenborough (as himself).
|3||"Close Encounters of the Herd Kind"||Donnie Anderson||Mark Huckerby, Nick Ostler||Rick Wentworth, Andrew McKenna||Donnie Anderson||25 December 2007|
On the night before his wedding, Robbie picks up an alien crystal that falls from the sky. During the wedding, a voice telepathically warns him of the end of the world and he runs out mid-ceremony in panic. Robbie finds that the voice belongs to Gariiiiiii, an Earth Guardian, who warns him that an alien race named the Nargathrons plan on destroying earth and that Robbie's crystal powers the their ultimate weapon. Moments before dying, Gariiiiiii tells Robbie to hide the Nargathron crystal and leaves his telepathy device. At the Sleigh Team's home, Nargathron queen Vorkana arrives and kidnaps Donner when she refuses to give Robbie's location. Prancer, Old Jingle and Tapir find Robbie, and the four of them discover Gariiiiiii's spaceship. Robbie flies to the Nargathron ship, where he is imprisoned alongside Donner. The others take the crystal back to their home, where Donner's sister Em reveals that she is a government agent who specialises in extraterrestrial life; She is able to contact the Earth Guardians using the crystal but is soon found by the Nargathrons; With the crystal, the Nargathrons count down to their destruction of Earth. Robbie uses the telepathy device to trick the guards into freeing Donner and himself, then uses the ship to teleport Donner back to earth. Robbie tricks Vorkana into standing on the ship's teleport pad and sends her to Em, who knocks her out. Robbie escapes the ship just moments before it is destroyed by the Earth Guardians, and uses the telepathy device to complete his wedding ceremony.Guest starring: Gillian Anderson (Vorkana), Keira Knightley (Em), Ozzy Osbourne (Vicar), Michael Palin (Gariiiiiii), Sean Hughes (Tapir), Graham Norton (Computer), Russell Brand (Earth Guardian), Shane Richie (Trooper 1), Ross Kemp (Trooper 2).
The programme was first shown in the United States on Fox Family with the original British voices until 2001. In 2002, CBS acquired the rights to the first two specials and recorded new dialog with American actors. The American cast included: Ben Stiller (Robbie), Britney Spears (Donner), James Woods (Narrator, Viking 1), Brad Garret (Prancer), Hugh Grant (Blitzen), Leah Remini (Vixen, Koala), Jerry Stiller (Old Jingle), Dick Enberg (Des Yeti), Dan Dierdorf (Allan Snowman), Grey Delisle (Mrs. Santa, Arctic Fox, Female Viking), Rob Paulsen (Head Elf, Viking 2/4), and Jim Belushi (Santa, Little Magnus). CBS stopped showing the program after the 2005 holiday season, after which Nicktoons Network aired the original British version for two years. In 2016, CBS began airing the first two specials again using the American dub.
In the United Kingdom, Hooves of Fire was released on DVD in November 2000. A "Collector's Edition" release adding Legend of the Lost Tribe followed in November 2003 and a collection of all three specials, subtitled The Whole Herd, was released in November 2009. The 2009 release contained the special features from previous releases, including a 5.1 sound mix on Hooves of Fire, directors commentary on the first two specials, the complete Hooves storyboard, behind the scenes footage and an interview with Peter Peake. In the United States, Hooves of Fire was originally released on DVD in September 2001, containing the British voice cast and the same extras as the UK release. A DVD adding Legend of the Lost Tribe was released in October 2003, this time containing both the British and American dialog tracks; This release also contained the extras from the UK edition, with the exception of the 5.1 mix and storyboards for Hooves of Fire.
- Deans, Jason. "Robbie the Reindeer crosses the pond". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Ltd. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
- Robbie The Reinder Trilogy: The Whole Herd (DVD liner notes). Back & inside cover: BBC Studios. 2009.
- "Top comic cast for Reindeer Robbie". BBC News. 26 December 2002. Retrieved 29 November 2008.
- Beck, Jerry. "DVD Review: Robbie The Reindeer and Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer". AWN. Animation World Network. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
- Ordway, Holly. "Robbie the Reindeer". DVD Talk. Internet Brands. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
- "Robbie The Reindeer: Hooves Of Fire [DVD] ". Amazon UK. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
- "Robbie The Reindeer Collector's Edition - Hooves of Fire/Legend of the Lost Tribe [DVD]". Amazon UK. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
- "Robbie the Reindeer Trilogy - The Whole Herd [DVD]". Amazon UK. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
- Ordway, Holly. "Robbie the Reindeer: Hooves of Fire & Legend of the Lost Tribe". DVD Talk. Internet Brands. Retrieved 22 November 2018.