Western Animation / Bob the Builder


Bob the Builder is a BBC children's series first broadcast in 1998 which involves the eponymous manual labourer and a group of living construction vehicles accompanied by rock music. The original series (up until the conclusion of Ready, Steady, Build) was regularly broadcast on CBeebies (the BBC's channel for young children).

In 2015, the series was rebooted with new designs and animation by Mainframe Entertainment.

This programme contains examples of:

  • Art Evolution: Both inverted and played straight. The show started off as a rather high quality claymated stop-motion. Then, when it was relaunched as Ready, Steady, Build, it became a rather low quality computer-animation like several other kids shows seemed to be turning to be at the time. Now (despite the controversial redesigns), it's handled with much better CGI from Mainframe Entertainment.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Once an Episode (or once with Bob and once with another character), someone would ask, 'Can we [verb, usually 'fix'] it?', to which other characters would respond, 'Yes, we can!' - long before someone from America became associated with the catchphrase.
    • Spud's "Sorry, (character).", "It won't happen again, (character)." and "Spud's on the job, (Bob\Wendy\whoever)!"
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The construction vehicles.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: Lofty. To add salt to the wound, his UK voice is annoying as well! At least he doesn't sound annoying in America, because he is voiced by a woman (for the 1st era) and later younger voice actors. Downplayed in the rebooted series with Lofty having more subtle instances of nervousness.
  • Cultural Translation: Despite the series being pretty blatantly set in Britain, the American version is dubbed with US accents. Reputedly the dub is at least partly to avoid confusion over words like 'football'.
  • The Eeyore: Lofty.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: All humans in the original series have this. However, it was one of the most notable shows to be re-shot in Japan so that the characters have five fingers on each hand due to cultural reasons.
  • Gender Bender: Muck is female in the American dub of the stop-motion series.
  • Genki Girl: Dizzy the concrete mixer.
  • Licensed Game: The Catch Phrase in the show was so popular, that it was used as the title for a videogame released in 2000 for both PC and PSX. That was when Lofty's voice got even MORE annoying in the porcupine rescue! There was a GBC game based on the show, too, but it isn't named after the Catch Phrase, and therefore, isn't the same game as the PC and PSX.
  • The Movie: While the show had a few 50-minute specials early on ("A Christmas to Remember", "The Knights of Can-a-Lot" (or "The Knights of Fix-a-Lot" in the US), "Snowed Under: The Bobblesberg Winter Games", and "Built to be Wild"), they weren't advertised as such until the show's first 60-minute special "Race to the Finish" (in the US, at least). The short lived "Ready Steady Build" series also had two "movie specials" ("The Legend of the Golden Hammer" (or "The Golden Hammer: The Movie" in the US) and "The Big Dino Dig"). The 2015 reboot is also due to release a movie special in Spring 2017 entitled "Mega Machines: The Movie".
  • Mr Fix It: Duh.
  • Screwy Squirrel: Spud, Spud, Spud.
  • Setting Update: The rebooted series has a much more modern day look to it, with Bob now based in a bustling city and smartphones and tablets often being present. The redesigned machines also more closely resemble the types of construction vehicles seen in modern day use.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Muck is male in the UK, female in the American dub. In the rebooted series, however, he is male in both dubs.
  • Slasher Smile:
    • Every human character in this show (as well as Spud) is prone to these.
    • In the rebooted series, the machines are now also prone to these.
  • The Smurfette Principle:
    • Dizzy is the only female machine in Bob's crew. However, subverted in the US dub of the original series when Muck is referred to female.
    • Same thing with Sumsy in Project Build It, she's the only female machine owned by Farmer Pickles.
  • Story Arc: Ready Steady Build had two for their "feature-length specials/movies", (unlike its sister show, the specials were produced as six standalone episodes that aired as three half-hour episodes in the US and six standalone episodes in the UK); "The Legend of the Golden Hammer" (Spud and Scrambler searching for pirate treasure) and The Big Dino Dig (building the dinosaur theme park).