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Old Bear Stories
Starring Anton Rodgers
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 41
Running time 10 mins
Production company(s) Carlton Television
Original network ITV Network (Carlton)
Channel 5
Original release 24 September 1993 (1993-09-24) – 23 December 1997 (1997-12-23)

Old Bear Stories was a BAFTA award-winning stop frame animation television series for children based on the Old Bear and Friends books by Jane Hissey. Jane Hissey also created the television series, starting it on 24 September 1993, and creating 3 seasons, which ended on 24 December 1997 with a double-length Christmas special. In all, 41 episodes were made.

The series was produced by Ealing Animation (El Nombre) and was originally broadcast in the United Kingdom on ITV. Episodes have subsequently been repeated on Channel 5 in the UK, and are also broadcast in the United States and other countries worldwide. The show also aired for a short time on the CBC morning children's block in Canada. It also aired in the United States as part of Cartoon Network's Small World as well as ABC in Australia, M-Net, SABC 2 and Bop TV in South Africa, MediaCorp Channel 5 in Singapore, Channel Eye in Sri Lanka, TVP1 in Poland, SVT Barnkanalen in Sweden and TV2 in New Zealand. The series was also screened on armed forces television on BFBS (and its former network SSVC Television) where it was shown in several countries such as Germany and the Falkland Islands.

Episodes of the series were released on VHS by Carlton Video.


The animals at the play room have remembered that Old Bear disappeared long ago. He has been put into the loft. They rescue him and bring him back down to the Play room. He becomes the most respected toy and guides the others in their many adventures, both in the play room and in the garden.


  • Old Bear: an elderly dusty teddy bear, he was put up in the attic when he reached an advanced age, but was rescued by the other toys. They now look up to him as a fearless, yet wise, leader.
  • Bramwell Brown: a wise old bear, often considered second to Old Bear. Likes to cook things for the other toys.
  • Duck: a rather gloomy and depressed, but nevertheless amiable, toy duck. He sometimes wishes he could fly, and he doesn't like to get his feet wet.
  • Rabbit: an impulsive toy rabbit.
  • Little Bear: a small white bear who wears overly baggy orangey red trousers. Being the youngest of all the toys, he is very enthusiastic and inquisitive, rather like a young child. He also sometimes has good ideas for solving problems or playing games.
  • Jolly Tall: a toy giraffe who despite his height doesn't like heights - he says his head thinks it was .
  • Sailor: a toy sailor who enjoys sailing in his toy boat.
  • Zebra: a female toy zebra.
  • Hoot the Owl: a toy owl living in the attic. Originally had a nest made of a bunch of socks that didn't match, until Little Bear gave her an old bobble hat to use instead.
  • Ruff the Dog: a bouncy toy dog which resembles a Fox Terrier.
  • Dog: a toy black Scottish Terrier who likes to bury his rubber bones in some plant pots.
  • Camel: a toy camel who is almost as tall as Jolly Tall. Once tried to use Little Bear's trousers as hump warmers.
  • Cat: a toy cat who likes to nap in any place she finds.
  • Rabbit's cousin: female cousin of Rabbit, who occasionally stays with the toys. She wears a straw hat, and seems to like to cause mischief, and doesn't like cleaning.
  • The dolls: a family of 3 dolls (a father, a mother (Mrs. Doll) and a daughter) who live in a dolls' house in a corner of the play room.


Season 1

1. Old Bear

2. Little Bear Lost

3. There Were Five in a Bed

4. Jolly Tall

5. Little Bear's Trousers

6. The Circus

7. The Rainy Day

8. The Fancy Dress Parade

9. Little Bear's Big Race

10. The Apple Tree

11. The Winter Picnic

12. Jolly Snow

13. The Doll's House Christmas

Season 2

14. Ruff

15. The Play

16. The Boat Race

17. Jigsaw

18. Little Bear's Book

19. The Birthday Band

20. Hot and Spotty

21. Hoot

22. Ruff Follows His Nose

23. Spring Clean

24. Old Bear's Chair

25. Market Day

26. The Car

Season 3

27. Hoot and the Mystery Eggs

28. The Clock

29. The Castle

30. The Colour Chase

31. Little Bear's Snowman

32. The Painting

33. Duck Tries to Fly

34. The Jolly Dragon

35. Rabbit and the Visitor

36. Little Bear's Cold Day

37. Ruff and the Big Wheel

38. The Birthday Camp

39. The Treasure Hunt

Christmas Specials

  1. Little Bear and the Christmas Star
  2. The Perfect Presents

Cast and crew

  • Writer: Jane Hissey
  • Director: Kevin Griffiths
  • Assistant Director: Liz Whitaker
  • Producer: Richard Randolph
  • Executive Producer: Peter Gillbe
  • Composer: Paul Castle
  • Film Editor: Nick Follows
  • Assistant Editor: Nick Aleck
  • Dubbing Mixer: Nick Glynn-Davies
  • Puppet Makers: Monique Brown, Alix Hardwood, Val Johnston, Helen Ranch
  • Animators: Fin and Humphrey Leadbitter, Tobias Fouracre, Geoffrey Walker, Dan Ryan, Aziz Samuels
  • Props: Pippa Randolph, Sue Phillips, Geoffrey Walker, Donna Joy
  • Sets: Colin Armitage, Graeme Owen
  • Production Manager: Lynne Pritchard
  • Production Assistants: Jilly Clarke, Geoffrey Walker
  • Narrator: Anton Rodgers
  • Characters Copyright by Jane Hissey, licensed by Random House UK Ltd.
  • An Optomen Television Production in association with Ealing Animation and Carlton Television

Copyright Carlton Television UK 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997

Theme music

The theme tune was composed by Paul Castle [1] and consists of the lyrics:

Please read us a story Old Bear, we'll all gather round

Dear Old Bear.

Sit in your favourite chair,

We'll sit all around, all around dear Old Bear.

Listen [2]

The harmony vocals were provided by Alison Goldfrapp of the band Goldfrapp.


The series was very well critically received and won a lot of awards:

  • 1995 Chicago International Children's Film Festival - Outstanding Achievement Award
  • 1994 Royal Television Society - Best Children's Series
  • 1993 BAFTA - Best Children's Programme
  • 1993 New York Film Festival - Gold Medal
  • 1993 Chicago International Film Festival - Silver Plaque
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