Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Shoe People Surprises

The first time I recall seeing The Shoe People was on an old VHS cassette, entitled NSPCC Children's TV Favourites - the old compilation with selected episodes from only the best kid's shows at the time. The episode in mind was also the first-ever Shoe People story, "Can You Keep a Secret?", where author James Driscoll introduces us to the magic land of Shoetown where old shoes come to life, based on his own series of books. And having tracked down the original series on DVD, it was lovely to catch up with another old favourite, with the vocal talents of Philip Whitchurch (My Hero, the Toucan Tecs).

However, there was another "secret" that had always bothered me - yoiks ago, when GMTV Kids was as young as I was, I recalled seeing early one morning what looked like a new Series of the Shoe People, but only briefly. And for a while, I felt as if I'd imagined it...

But no - after one harmless browse on YouTube, I found that after all this time I was right!! A bumper crop of episodes featuring The New Adventures of the Shoe People (made most likely around the same period, late 80's) turned up right on my desktop, all nicely written by Nigel Crowle! And the differences I remembered seeing have returned as clear as day:

  • The episodes had been extended from 5 minutes to 11 minutes
  • Plenty of new characters are added to the cast, including a trio of rowdy skates called The Boot Boys 
  • The characters' mouths are now animated, whereas they were not in the first series
  • Philip Whitchurch reprises his role, but was also joined by Joanna Wyatt, who voices the female characters (and the latter, according to IMDB, has also done some work for Angelina Ballerina, The Mr Men Show and Guess with Jess).

It's interesting to note how a few of the new characters here all have American accents. Possibly as a means of selling the series across the pond as it were. But apart from that, the music, character designs and animation have remained intact, if not better than before. It's a mystery why The New Adventures have yet to be brought to DVD since Revelation Films Ltd have done so with the first series. Then again, they've already blessed us with The Raggy Dolls, Willy Fog, Round the Twist and Dogtanian, so perhaps it's only a matter of time...

So here's an episode from each season to treat you with!

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