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Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids (TV series) facts for kids

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Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids
Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids title card.png
Title card from series 1 to 3
Genre Horror comedy
Written by Jamie Rix
Directed by Jamie Rix
Sara and Simon Bor
Narrated by Nigel Planer
Composer(s) Ed Welch
Country of origin England, United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons
  • 6 (Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids)
  • 2 (Grizzly Tales)
No. of episodes 78 (+ 1 22-minute special)
Executive producer(s)
  • Michael Forte (series 1–3)
  • Rachel Pendleton (series 2)
  • David Mercer (series 4)
  • Clive Hedges (series 1-2)
  • Sarah Muller (series 3-4)
  • Simon Bor and Sara Bor
Production location(s) Devon (Honeycomb Animation), Isle of Man (Lough House), Ealing Studios
Animator(s) Honeycomb Animation, Ealing Studios
Editor(s) Peter Beswick
Nick Anderson
Keezer Tracy
Running time 10 minutes
Production company(s)
  • Honeycomb Animation and Elephant Productions
  • Carlton Television
  • Carlton Television
  • Grizzly TV
Original network ITV
Audio format Dolby Surround (2000-2002) Dolby Digital (2004-2012)
First shown in United Kingdom
Original release 4 January 2000 (2000-01-04) – 19 October 2006 (2006-10-19)
Followed by Grizzly Tales: Cautionary Tales for Lovers of Squeam!

Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids is a British animated television series based on the generic trademarked children's book series of the same name by Jamie Rix. After the first three books were published from 1990 to 1996, Carlton Television adapted the short stories into ten-minute cartoons for ITV, produced by themselves, Honeycomb Animation, and Rix's production company, Elephant Productions. It aired on CITV between January 2000 and October 2006 with six series and 78 episodes, as well as a New Year's Eve special that was over 20 minutes longer than other episodes. The series returned in a new format for NickToons UK with 26 episodes split into two series under the name Grizzly Tales (also known as Grizzly Tales: Cautionary Tales for Lovers of Squeam!), which aired between May 2011 and November 2012.

Both versions of the series have been nominated for BAFTAs and the CITV series has received numerous international awards from animated film festivals. Both have been popular on their respective channels; the CITV series has often been re-aired on Nickelodeon with the Nicktoons series.

Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids (2000–2006)

Each episode had a framing device set in an old cinema (named The Squeam Screen) with its creepy caretaker and his spider companion, Spindleshanks. The adapted stories are short movies on film reels that the caretaker screens from the projector into the theatre, after he finishes talking to the audience about morals and proverbs that will later relate to the story of that episode, as he bullied Spindleshanks through malicious pranks and cowardice. These were an invention from Planer, who suggested that the adapted stories should have consistency. These scenes are animated with Claymation whereas the adapted stories from the books were traditionally animated, then later animated in Adobe Flash.

Same character models in Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids
Top, L-R: Algie and Ginger in "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping"
Bottom, L-R: Milo and Ginger Pie in "Knock Down Ginger".

Episodes were faithful to the original story, however, there were some minor changes. For example, the Cluck family in the eponymous story "The Dumb Clucks" were renamed the Klutz family, and the title was expectantly adjusted. Other notable changes included the use of character models that were constantly reused in many episodes either with minor adjustments or not, alternating between main and background characters: the character model for Dorothy May Piranha from "The Piranha Sisters" is the same "actress" who was Savannah Slumberson in "The Grub-A-Blub Blub". However, the set character appearances occasionally led to an appearance deviation from how the character was described in the original story: the bullying Ginger Pie in "Knock Down Ginger" was described as a tall, overweight boy with pale skin and pale red hair, but his character model – the same one used for Ginger (no relation) in "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping" (who was a boy implied to be very outdoorsy with his friends) – was a skinny boy with curly red hair. Loralilee's witch doctor cure in "Doctor Moribundus" was adapted out of the cartoon, replaced with the Squeam Screen caretaker's narration claiming that the cure was too disturbing to tell as the viewer is shown the outside her bedroom window, and Stinker's murder in "The Chipper Chums Goes Scrumping" is changed to becoming crippled.

The original four books in the series were adapted for the first four series (although some, such as "The Matchstick Girl", were never adapted) but the final two series featured new stories that would later appear in the Grizzly Tales: Cautionary Tales for Lovers of Squeam! books. The theme music was altered at this time with a completely different melody and a faster tempo than the one used at the beginning of the cartoon's run. The framing device with the caretaker and Spindleshanks disappeared and the end of the opening titles would cut to the projector being turned on. Like the first two series, series five and six were commissioned in bulk as a 26-episode deal.

In 2007, it was announced that ITV was planning to promote ITV4 more frequently, which led to numerous ITV programming being cancelled; Digital Spy and Broadcast revealed that Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids had not been offered a seventh series — despite its popularity — finishing in 2006. Michael Grade, the ITV chairman, explained that it did not make "commercial sense" to generously invest in a children's channel.

Grizzly Tales (2011–2012)

The CITV series was airing as reruns on Nickelodeon when Honeycomb Animation announced in 2011 that a new series would be aired on NickToons UK in May. This new programme would have a shortened, catchier name and be "reinvented for a modern audience with even more twisted, dark stories to delight children everywhere" but would remain to a formula similar to the newer book series, Grizzly Tales: Cautionary Tales for Lovers of Squeam!.

Other differences would be the location of the framing device, which was now at The Hot-Hell Darkness instead of the Squeam Screen cinema, and the animation: the hotel scenes were 3D animated and the stories were animated in 2D software. The cinema caretaker was now replaced by the re-invented books' The Night-Night Porter, his half-brother, who banishes horrible children to spend an eternity at his hotel. Nigel Planer, Elephant Productions (now named Little Brother Productions) and the crew returned for this series, and the show, although for a new generation, was as popular and successful as its predecessor.


This is a list of the cast that frequently appears in the two television adaptations.

  • The Squeam Screen caretaker: The caretaker of The Squeam Screen cinema (revealed online to be named Uncle Grizzly) is the only character who speaks in the CITV series and is voiced by Nigel Planer. He gives the audience morals, proverbs and examples of life lessons, as well as narrating the short movies. In the opening titles, he appears at the end of the sequence, walking up to the projection room to blow out his electric torch and grab a film reel out of a towering stack as he says, "You are welcome to Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids, a series of cautionary tales for lovers of squeam!" Not much is known about him from the series outside of being a surrogate mentor, however, he is prone to shapeshift his head into a variety of things to terrify the audience or Spindleshanks. Outside of the series, his character profile is available to view on the official Grizzly Tales website, which reveals that his personal favourite movie he has shown is first series' third episode "Grandmother's Footsteps".
  • Spindleshanks: A large spider that lives in The Squeam Screen cinema. He communicates non-verbally (through facial expressions) but occasionally squeaks. Uncle Grizzly constantly uses him for audience demonstrations but often as an excuse to bully, torture and abuse him for laughs. One ending to an episode showed that he had become a ghost, which made Uncle Grizzly cackle. He is said to have an aunt who lives in Australia. He does not appear in the Nickelodeon series.
  • The Night Night Porter: The official narrator of the second book series, half-brother of Uncle Grizzly, and the owner of the Hot Hell Darkness hotel; voiced by Nigel Planer. He is similar to his cinema caretaker relative through being a mentor to the reader/audience, being the only other character in the television adaptations that speaks. He relishes in punishing children, particularly horrible ones, and shows off some of the tortures that his guests are receiving in their rooms.


Forte was executive producer for three series of the CITV programme and was succeeded by David Mercer. Other producers included Clive Hedges (first two series) and Sarah Muller (three and four). The stop-motion was animated by Andy Farago, Richard Randolph and Nick Herbert (Ealing Animation) and the 2D animation was animated by numerous animators, including Gareth Conway, Graham Hayter, Chris Bowles, Oli Knowles, Dan Mitchell, Casey Fulton, Trev Phillips, Malcolm Yeates, Jon Miller, Daniel Mitchell, Victoria Goy-Smith, Liam Williamson, Francis Iowe, Karen Elliott, Craig Hindmarsh and Christopher Bowles.

In 2004, Grizzly TV was created: a sister company to represent the partnership between Honeycomb and Elephant/Little Brother.


For the CITV series:

  • United Kingdom: ITV's CITV block, CITV channel
  • France: TF1
  • Germany: RTV (formerly Ravensburger)
  • Canada: YTV
  • Croatia
  • Australia: ABC Kids
  • Spain
  • Sweden: SVT1
  • Portugal
  • Italy: Rai 3
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Ireland: RTÉ
  • Finland: YLE TV2
  • Latin America: Discovery Kids
  • Serbia: Happy TV, Pink 2
  • Hong Kong: TVB Pearl

For the Nickelodeon series:

  • United Kingdom: NickToons
  • Ireland: NickToons
  • Australia: ABC 3


The CITV cartoon was available for purchase on DVD in the UK and Northern Ireland, as well as Porchlight Entertainment in North America and Time Life's Shock Records in Australia and New Zealand. The Nickelodeon cartoon was later released on DVD through the same respective companies, however, it was released in the UK and Northern Ireland with Abbey Home Media.

Type Title Format Date Run time Region Distributor ID ID 2 Ref
VHS Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids - The Spaghetti Man PAL 19 March 2001 61 minutes N/A Carlton Video ASIN B00004R814
DVD Grizzly Tales: Monty's Python And Other Tales 10 April 2006 80 minutes Region 2 ITV Studios ASIN B000EGCDCS
Grizzly Tales: Doctor Moribundus NTSC 2008 66 minutes Region 1 Porchlight Entertainment
Grizzly Tales: A Tangled Web 77 minutes
Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids: Series 1 & 2 PAL 260 minutes Region 4 Shock Entertainment
Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids: Series 3 & 4 260 minutes
Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids: Series 5 & 6 412 minutes
Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids: The Complete Series N/A ASIN B0036WQK58
Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids: Hear No Weevil, See No Weevil 4 January 2012 145 minutes Region 0
Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids: Frank Einstein's Monster N/A ASIN B07N14ZCL7
Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids: The Nuclear Wart 30 September 2013 121 minutes Region 2 Abbey Home Media ASIN B00CX3AIRC


Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids
Series Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired Network
1 13 4 January 2000 27 March 2000 CITV
2 13 9 April 2001 27 April 2001
3 12 1 July 2002 30 December 2002
4 14 2 April 2004 21 May 2004
"The Crystal Eye" 31 December 2004
5 13 27 March 2006 12 April 2006
6 13 18 September 2006 19 October 2006
Grizzly Tales: Cautionary Tales for Lovers of Squeam!
Series Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired Network
1 13 2 May 2011 10 May 2011 NickToons UK
2 13 5 September 2011 2 November 2012

Awards and nominations

CITV series

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2000 Golden Gate Awards Silver Spire Award for Best Children's Program 1st place
Cartoons on the Bay The Pulcinella Award for Best Series for Children Won
Prix Jeunesse [de] Fiction 6 – 11 2nd
International Animation and Cartoons Festival Best Short Film 2nd
Bradford Animation Festival Best TV Series for Children Won
RTS Devon & Cornwall Centre Awards Best Network Programme Won
Royal Television Society Best Children's Entertainment Programme Nominated
2001 New York Festivals: TV Programming and Promotion Children's Programs Gold World Medal
Golden Sheaf Awards Best International Children's Production Won
2004 British Animation Awards Best Children's Series Won
Children's Choice Award Won
BAFTA Best Children's Series Nominated
Most Original Writer Jamie Rix Nominated
2005 BAFTA Best Children's Series Nominated
Most Original Writer Jamie Rix Nominated
2006 BAFTA Best Writer Jamie Rix Nominated
Broadcast Awards Best Children's Programme Nominated

Nickelodeon series

Year Award Category Result Ref
2012 BAFTA Best Children's Series Nominated
Broadcast Awards Best Children's Series Won
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