ROOBARB (1974) Review by Steve Kirkham

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    ROOBARB (1974)

    4 stars (for nostalgia)
    Fabulous Films/Spirit Entertainment. DVD and Blu Ray. 19th February
    It’s kind of mad that a kids cartoon from the 70s is getting the Blu Ray treatment – but here it is, a 50th Anniversary release.
    If you are of a certain age, and see just the title ROOBARB, you will immediately hear the theme tune by Johnny Hawksworth in your head and see visions of the distinctive wobbly style of animation (go on admit it – it’s happened already hasn’t it?).
    Shown on BBC1 just before the early evening news, it’s one of those shows, like MR. BENN and BAGPUSS, that you remember having loads of episodes – however, the original only had 30, which are all present on this release. It was just shown a lot. It features the gentle narration of Richard Briers.
    Created by Grange Calveley, the cartoon introduced the “rough” animation it is fondly remembered for, which was created using marker pens and gave it an incredible dynamic energy. It was directed by famous English animator Bob Godfrey and produced by his company, with each episode being about 5 minutes in length.
    So what’s it about (assuming you haven’t seen it): Roobarb, apparently based on creator Calveley’s Welsh border collie is a green dog who enthusiastically gets involved in crazy misadventures. His friendly rival is a pink cat called Custard. That’s it really. Simple…
    Charming and innocent fun, this will make you chuckle and watch with an air of nostalgia – it’s all kind of sweet and silly.
    Disc 2 features the 2005 revival series ROOBARB… AND CUSTARD TOO, (which I have to admit I didn’t even know existed) which whilst retaining the shaky kind of feel, isn’t quite as energetically visual, as it was a created on computers and the vibrating of the colours and outlines is a little bit too consistent. Shame … still, despite this, it is still amusing, even if it doesn’t live up to its predecessor. Briers returns for the voiceover and there were 39 episodes.
    Steve Kirkham

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