Hey, hey, are you ready to play?Tweenies
is a British children's animatronic puppet series
which debuted in 1998. Like other children's shows in rotation, it aimed to entertain as well as educate children about various life and social skills using songs, stories and the like. However, unlike some of its contemporaries
, the characters spoke in a discernable language and often directly interacted with the "outside world".
The show revolved around the adventures of four young children in a daycare centre, with their two adult guardians and two dogs (who were in care of the centre). It enjoyed phenomenal success both inside and outside the UK, spawning no less than five
top-twenty hits from spinoff records and merchandising that sold by the bucketload
. In the U.S., it aired for a while on Noggin, before it became Nick Jr
. The series proper ended in 2003, but home video sales, reruns
and large-scale live tours helped sustain the series' popularity for the remainder of the Turn of the Millennium
The main characters in the series included:
- Bella - at five years old, she was the oldest in the group and the default leader. However, this also meant she was the one with the biggest sense of entitlement. Bossy and argumentative, she was the series' main source of conflict, though Milo seemed to be her main sparring partner. There were numerous episodes where she learnt a valuable lesson by the end, but this of course was forgotten by the next episode.
- Milo - despite his purple skin, it was made clear that he was meant to be the token black kid in the group. He was also the daycare's resident "jokester", often making puns and playing tricks on his friends.
- Fizz - the Girly Girl to Bella's tomboy, taking an active interest in anything related to femininity, including the colour pink. Her introverted and shy nature provided a contrast to her three loud and outgoing friends, and she was often seen playing by herself or reading a book. It was hinted throughout the series that she had a crush on Milo.
- Jake - at two-and-a-half years old, he was the youngest in the group, and therefore needed one of the other three to explain to him what they were doing. He had a superhero alter-ego which he used to explore his fantasies, and expressed a strong interest in "masculine" things such as motor cars and football. However, he had a tendency to cry a lot, leading to the others having to comfort him every so often. He also sported an interesting-looking hairstyle that resembled a mohawk.
- Max - the co-owner of the daycare centre and the Tweenies's trusted friend. He would accompany the group whenever they went "outside", and would frequently join in their activities.
- Judy - the other co-owner of the centre, and a mother figure to the group. Like Max, she would take the group outside the premises every so often.
- Doodles - the centre's resident dog. He had a positive relationship with everyone in the centre, but Jake was especially attached to him.
- Izzles - the centre's other dog, who was Doodles' Distaff Counterpart. She was introduced towards the end of the show's run.
The centre also had a special "Tweenie Clock" that, when pressed by a character, would dictate which segment would come next in each episode. The segments included:
- Story Time - Max or Judy would read a story to the four children and dogs. To the viewer, this would be an animated interstitial.
- Messy Time - the four kids would partake in some art or craft activity.
- Song Time - the characters would sing a song, either relating to the main theme or plot of the episode or a "standard" nursery rhyme.
- Telly Time - the gang would do something relating to technology.
- News Time - the gang would report on their experiences gathered from the episode.
- Surprise Time - occurred when all the buttons glowed, which wasn't very often. Usually a surprise would come of it.