Stoppit and Tidyup

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Stoppit and Tidyup
StopItTidyUp.JPG
Title screen showing the series' logo and two main characters - Stoppit (left) and Tidyup
Created byCharles Mills
Terry Brain
Written byCharles Mills
Terry Brain
Steve Box
Directed byCharles Mills
Terry Brain
Steve Box
Voices ofTerry Brain (uncredited)
Narrated byTerry Wogan
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series1
No. of episodes13
Production
Producer(s)John Howson
Editor(s)Robert Copeland
Running time5 minutes
Production company(s)CMTB Animation
The Tidy Britain Group
Queensgate Productions
Release
Original networkBBC One
Original release12 September –
5 December 1988
Chronology
Preceded byThe Trap Door (1984–1986)
Followed byBump (1990–1993)

Stoppit and Tidyup is a British children's animated cartoon television series produced by CMTB Animation and Queensgate Productions in 1987 and screened on BBC One from 12 September to 5 December 1988. The episodes feature two protagonists, Stoppit and Tidyup, interacting with various other inhabitants of the mythical land of Do As You're Told; each episode was five minutes in length, and narrated by Terry Wogan. The series was created by Charles Mills and Terry Brain (who had previously created the claymation series The Trap Door in 1984), and partly funded by The Tidy Britain Group; the third member of the team behind the show was animator Steve Box who later gained success after moving to Aardman Animations.

Description[edit]

The short-running series features microscopic characters who live in the fictitious land of "Do As You're Told", a strange and colourful place (that was not completely separate from the human world, as one episode features a busy road and another features children playing) whose inhabitants are named after orders directed at children by their parents. Unlike The Trap Door, which ran for 40 episodes over two series, only a single series of thirteen episodes was produced; each episode is named after a character that features in the episode (however, the character "Not Now" did not have an episode named after him because he was the pet of the series' antagonist "I Said No").

The series followed the exploits of the eponymous Stoppit (a red ball of fluff with arms and legs), and Tidyup (a blue-haired, necktie-wearing purple creature who is shaped like a bowling pin), in their native land, which is filled with giant-to-them gherkins. Supporting characters include Bee Quiet and Bee Have (two, as their names suggest, bees, the former of whom is huge and has a pursed-up mouth, but the latter is much smaller than him and does not, and they both have a mop of red hair at the top of their heads), Eat Your Greens (a blue-haired, frog-like green creature), Comb Your Hair (a six-legged, cow-like blue creature with long orange hair and a bell round his neck), Wash Your Face (a Wellington boot-wearing creature without arms who usually appears brown with black boots, but a bath revealed him to be pink with yellow boots), Go And Play (a light green creature who wore shorts and trainers), I Said No (an angry red creature who had a pink pet called Not Now), Hurry Up (a flying ball of black and yellow scribble), Calm Down (a yellow creature with a blue umbrella), Don't Do That (a spider-like red creature who lived in his shell), Go To Bed (a tired, pink-haired white creature), Say Please And Say Thank You (a two-faced plant), Clean Your Teeth (a purple-haired, sunglasses-wearing orange creature with huge teeth), and Take Care (a flying blue kangaroo-like creature). There are also groups of extra characters referred to as Naughties (who are purple with yellow spots, and will cause "Naughtypox" when touched) and Sit Downs (who are pink and have magic powers that can cure Naughtypox). None of the characters actually speak decipherable words as such. Instead they gabble, grunt, squeak, and hum whilst series narrator Terry Wogan unravels the tale for viewers; the characters' noises were provided by the show's co-creator Terry Brain but he was not credited for it.

The storylines are notable for their random, abstract nature, and the fact that an episode will frequently end without any moral message at all. For example, in the twelfth episode, "Clean Your Teeth", it begins to snow in the middle of summer, and Stoppit gets left behind on his own while Tidyup and Clean Your Teeth spend the rest of the episode playing on sledges at the end, even though he loves the snow.

Production[edit]

Unlike its predecessor, Stoppit and Tidyup was cel-animated, and while a single episode of The Trap Door would take Charles Mills and Terry Brain an average of two weeks to write, build and shoot in 1984, a single episode of this series would only take them an average of ten days to write and film in 1987. After the series concluded, they mainly did commercials and title sequences.

Media[edit]

A series of twelve tie-in books were published by Price Stern Sloan Ltd. when the series was first aired in 1988, and an illustrated annual was released in 1989. All thirteen episodes were released on VHS by BBC Video (BBCV 4207) in that same year, but this is now out of print (it also segued them together, and dubbed over Wogan's opening lines for all except the first episode with the first few seconds of the theme song). All thirteen episodes were later rereleased on DVD by Universal Pictures in 2004.

Episode list[edit]

All thirteen episodes were shown on BBC One as part of the Children's BBC strand, as it was known before 1997, on Mondays at 3:50pm.

No. Title Air date Summary
1 Bee Quiet and Bee Have 12 September 1988[1] The two bees, Bee Quiet and Bee Have, accidentally carry away the roof of Tidyup's house and drop it somewhere on the dump (where Stoppit lives), so he has to go and get it back. However, when he does so, Stoppit does not know he is looking for the roof of his house (rather, he thinks he is trying to tidy up the dump), and thinks it is really funny until he gets squashed by a teapot; when Tidyup finds his roof he has to get it back before it rains, but Stoppit has filled the bridge back to his house with rubbish, so when the bees return, he gets the idea to hitch a lift with Bee Quiet (which Stoppit does not like very much). Stoppit then hitches a lift himself with Bee Have, which causes Bee Quiet to drop Tidyup off quicker than he would have liked, but when Bee Have drops him back off at the dump, he lands right on top of his own house, trapped inside the teapot that Bee Have had been carrying him in, it then starts to rain and the two bees fly home.
2 Eat Your Greens 19 September 1988[2] Tidyup is doing a spot of gardening (which Stoppit does not like much, as he is jealous and wishes he has a garden as nice as his), so he steals his watering can and pours it over a weed he found growing on his dump hoping it will grow (but it does not). When Eat Your Greens bounces by, he sees the weed and eats it, which gives Stoppit the idea to open Tidyup's gate while he is having his afternoon nap and let Eat Your Greens into his garden; when Tidyup wakes up and sees Eat Your Greens has eaten everything, he decides to teach Stoppit a lesson by sticking a big gherkin on him, and because Eat Your Greens is still hungry and thinks Stoppit looks very tasty, he starts chasing him.
3 Comb Your Hair 26 September 1988[3] Stoppit and Tidyup have packed a hamper full of gherkin sandwiches (their favourites) and are going on a picnic with Comb Your Hair (whom they are hitching a ride on), but he cannot always see where he is going because his hair is so long and scruffy. On their way, they pass through the Valley of the Sit Downs and come across Go And Play, but after Comb Your Hair walks off the edge of a cliff, Tidyup begins to wonder whether riding on him is such a good idea after all, and Stoppit loses his temper, so Tidyup has to give him a good bounce to calm him down. Comb Your Hair then wanders off somewhere while Tidyup is busy dreaming about the picnic spot and forgets about him, but he and Stoppit eventually catch him. However, when they reach the picnic spot, they find that it has gone because a road has been built over it, and even though Stoppit and Tidyup still have their sandwiches despite not having a very good day out, Comb Your Hair then eats them all.
4 Wash Your Face 3 October 1988[4] It is a rainy old day in the land of Do As You're Told (which Stoppit does not like because it keeps him from going out to play, so he is glad when it finally stops), but he always forgets that Wash Your Face comes out after it rains to jump in muddy puddles. Tidyup has also just finished washing all his neckties, but he too forgets about Wash Your Face, so after he washes all his neckties and gets them ruined by Wash Your Face twice more, he and Stoppit chase him over the bridge to Stoppit's dump, but they cannot catch him. Tidyup then gets the idea of digging a very deep hole and filling it with water to make it look like an ordinary puddle, so when Wash Your Face jumps into it, he will not be able to get back out. After this plan succeeds, Stoppit and Tidyup find an old bath on Stoppit's dump, give Wash Your Face a bath by dangling him in it by his hair as he has never had a proper bath in his life, and hang him out to dry on Tidyup's washing line.
5 Go And Play 10 October 1988[5] Go And Play decides to do something exciting, and rounds up everybody in the land (except for the bees, Don't Do That, Say Please And Say Thank You and Take Care) for a great game of football. Tidyup decides to be the referee to make sure no-one cheats, but when he blows his whistle at Stoppit after he catches hold of the ball, he does not take any notice until all the others decide to get their ball back (and when he gets it a second time, I Said No puts a stop to it by squashing him); when Go And Play finally manages to kick the ball, Eat Your Greens eats it (which Tidyup is not very pleased about, and neither is anybody else), so the game ends with them all in a great big pile.
6 I Said No 17 October 1988[6] It is the Day of the Great Gherkin Feast and everybody is out collecting gherkins. But I Said No, and his pet Not Now, come and steal the gherkins (which Tidyup is very upset about), so he and Stoppit go to the tree trunk in which I Said No and Not Now live to get them back. After I Said No scares Tidyup, he falls back into the gherkins, which tumble down right on top of I Said No and Not Now and trap them (so while they cannot move, Stoppit and Tidyup grab as many gherkins as they can carry and run all the way back home as fast as they can go). So they got their gherkin feast after all: and it was the best ever!
7 Hurry Up 24 October 1988[7] The grass in Tidyup's garden is far too long (and he does not like it like that), so when Hurry Up whizzes by, he offers to cut his grass for him. As he cuts the last little bit of grass, he uncovers a strange-looking gherkin with holes in it (which turns out to be a Naughty nest); when a Naughty bounces on Tidyup's finger, he gets Naughtypox, so Stoppit and Hurry Up have to race to the Valley of the Sit Downs to find a cure, and by the time they get back with a Sit Down, Tidyup has swollen up like a big balloon and is bouncing around his garden just like a giant Naughty. As the Sit Down begins to hum, Tidyup begins to feel a bit peculiar as he feels its magic working, and Stoppit thinks it is a bit of a giggle, but the Sit Down continues to hum, and Tidyup eventually explodes before returning to his original shape.
8 Calm Down 31 October 1988[8] It is a windy day in the land of Do As You're Told and Calm Down is being blown about all over the place because he does not have a house of his own (so he has nowhere to hide from the wind). When Stoppit sees him blow by, an old toy house lands right on top of him, and when Tidyup sees it, he gets the idea of fixing it up for Calm Down to live in. After being blown past the bees, the rock on which Go And Play lives and I Said No's tree trunk, Calm Down hits a big tree (but his troubles are far from over, as he can hear children playing nearby), he manages to hide in a tin can as the children rush by, but one of the children comes back and kicks the can, so he goes flying off into the distance (eventually landing on Stoppit and squashing him for the second time that day) before settling comfortably in his new house.
9 Don't Do That 7 November 1988[9] Stoppit is about to go out and play when an old tin shuffles past, and he thinks it is really funny (especially when the tin makes a rude noise), so he jumps on top of the tin which carries him over the bridge and up the hill towards Tidyup's house. Tidyup has been very busy making a garden table so he can sit outside to eat his gherkin sandwiches, but when Stoppit comes bouncing into his garden on the tin, he decides to find out what is inside it (which turns out to be the shell of Don't Do That, and when Don't Do That surprises him and Stoppit by emerging from his shell, he scurries up onto the roof of Tidyup's house, so Tidyup climbs up and tries to get him back down again, but fails); when Don't Do That jumps off Tidyup's house and scurries up a nearby gherkin, he starts throwing little tree gherkins at both him and Stoppit, which gives him the idea of keeping Don't Do That occupied while Stoppit is sawing away at the gherkin. Even though the plan succeeds, Tidyup's table gets smashed to pieces (and despite Stoppit jumping on Don't Do That to stop him from popping out again, he does pop out again, and runs off taking Stoppit with him), but he eats his sandwiches outside by using the sawn-off gherkin as a garden table.
10 Go To Bed 14 November 1988[10] Tidyup has grown an enormous flower, but when he hears a strange noise coming from it, he finds Go To Bed is fast asleep inside it (which he does not like very much, so Go To Bed has to find somewhere else to sleep). After getting woken back up by Wash Your Face, Go And Play and Not Now, he wanders off to Stoppit's dump (where he tries to doze off by an old television set, but he leans on a button and it comes on, showing "Derek Strong and the Space Martians", which is Stoppit's favourite programme). Everyone else hears the show and comes to the dump to see it, which gives Go To Bed the idea of creeping away while they are watching the television and going back to Tidyup's flower.
11 Say Please And Say Thank You 21 November 1988[11] Tidyup has been out collecting gherkins to make a nice big gherkin pie, but he falls down a great big hole (under Stoppit's dump), so Stoppit has to go for help (however, Go And Play thinks he has come to play, Wash Your Face is more interested in splashing about in puddles as usual and the two Bees do not see him). While he is down the hole, he meets Say Please And Say Thank You (a single creature, albeit with two faces, who is not featured in the programme's opening titles), who knows a way out of the hole, but will not show him unless he gives him some of his gherkins; when all the gherkins have gone, Say Please And Say Thank You shows Tidyup a tunnel that will lead them back out into the open again, and they come out directly under Stoppit in a field full of gherkins, so Tidyup decides to make his friends the biggest gherkin pie they ever had.
12 Clean Your Teeth 28 November 1988[12] Stoppit and Tidyup have decided to visit Clean Your Teeth (who Tidyup likes because he can do really clever things, but Stoppit thinks he is just a big show-off). When Clean Your Teeth dives into his swimming pool (and causes a lilo to appear by snapping his fingers), Tidyup decides to have a swim in the pool too, but his diving into it sends all the water out of it (which Stoppit thinks is funny). Stoppit and Tidyup also make sandcastles in Clean Your Teeth's sandpit, but Clean Your Teeth makes an even better one appear by snapping his fingers, which annoys Stoppit. After they have had a bite to eat, it starts to snow (which cheers Stoppit up), and Tidyup decides it is time to go home, so he thanks Clean Your Teeth for a wonderful day. On the way back, Stoppit throws a snowball at Tidyup (as Clean Your Teeth can no longer get the better of him), but Clean Your Teeth has a sledge which he runs Stoppit over with and makes one appear for Tidyup as well.
13 Take Care 5 December 1988[13] It is Birthday Day in the land of Do As You're Told, and Take Care has the job of delivering the presents, but unfortunately, he mixes them all up (Tidyup gets an old piece of junk intended for Stoppit, while Stoppit gets a new toothbrush intended for Clean Your Teeth, Clean Your Teeth gets a new collar and lead intended for I Said No and Not Now, I Said No gets a pink umbrella intended for Calm Down, Calm Down gets a jack-in-the-box intended for Go And Play, and Go And Play gets a new necktie intended for Tidyup). Tidyup decides the recipients (including himself) all have to get together and exchange presents, but after they have done so, there is still one present left over (which turns out to belong to Take Care, as he has forgotten all about his own birthday present). Take Care has been given a crash helmet, which is just what he has always wanted, but wearing it makes flying even more difficult for him due to his short wings.

Credits[edit]

  • Narrated by: Terry Wogan
  • Animation: Charles Mills, Terry Brain, Steve Box
  • Editing: Rob Copeland
  • Dubbing: Glentham Studios
  • Produced by: John Howson
  • Devised and created by: CMTB Animation
  • © CMTB Animation/Queensgate Productions 1987

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]