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The Dreamstone
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Production
no. of Seasons 4
Broadcast
Runing time 22 minutes per episode
Chronology
External links
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The Dreamstone is a British animated television series that ran for 4 series of 13 episodes each between 1990 and 1995. The original concept and artwork were created by Michael Jupp. The series was animated by the FilmFair animation studio (famous for producing The Wombles) as a Central production for ITV. In 1996 Filmfair was bought from the Caspian Group by the Canadian company Cinar, now known as Cookie Jar Entertainment. This resulted in Cookie Jar's ownership of the first two series, while a company called Dreamstone Productions Ltd. retain the ownership of the third and fourth series.

The Dreamstone is set in an alternative world called the 'Sleeping World,' and concerns itself principally with the struggle between good (personified by The Dream Maker, a Gandalf-esque white magician), and evil (personified by Zordrak, Lord of Nightmares).

Principal characters

The Land of Dreams

The Land of Dreams is also known as the light side of the planet, and is peopled by Noops (who live and work like humans) and Wuts (the defenders of the land, who fly around on leaves and ward off Zordrak's evil forces with staffs that have orbs of light attached to them).

  • The Dream Maker (voiced by John Franklyn-Robbins): Head of the Council of Dreammakers, also known as Lord Highest, he is responsible for mixing dream bubbles and sending them out to the sleeping world through the Dreamstone. He was responsible for ejecting Zordrak from the council, and the two have been mortal enemies ever since. The Dream Maker is quite a laid back character, though he can be quite fearsome when facing off against Zordrak and his henchmen.
  • Albert (voiced by Richard Tate): The Dream Maker's pet dogfish. The story goes that the Dream Maker saw Albert in a dream, and liked him so much he decided to make him real. Albert swims in air rather than water and his personality is that of a loyal dog. Albert later became the mascot/logo for Martin Gates' production company.
  • Rufus (voiced by Stuart Lock): A Noop who enjoys dreaming so much that he has vivid daydreams. Sadly because of his over-active imagination, Rufus has trouble holding a job. After being fired from the waxworks in the first episode, Amberley suggests Rufus applies to be the Dream Maker's assistant, as he is perfectly qualified for it because of his constant daydreaming. Though Rufus lets his mind wander sometimes, he is a brave character and believes strongly in the friends he has. Rufus is the main protagonist of the series, and more often than not saves the day.
  • Amberley (voiced by Nancy Hendry): A female Noop who is Rufus's best friend. Amberley is the one who suggests that Rufus work for the Dream Maker. For a while she works at the baker's but it is later assumed that she, too, starts working for the Dream Maker. Amberley is quite a brave character although she does have a temper. She understands Rufus's daydreaming habit and tends to stick by him in most episodes. She was named after Amberley, West Sussex, a village creator Michael Jupp used to visit regularly.
  • Pildit (voiced by Derek Wright): The leader of the Wuts and The Dream Maker's most trusted ally, he is often called upon to defend the Land of Dreams from Zordrak's forces. He and the Dream Maker are old friends and often help support each other. It is Pildit that teaches Rufus and Amberley how to use the special leaves the Wuts use to fly.
  • Wildit (voiced by Jackie Clarke): Pildit's grandmother. Well-meaning, and as handy in a fight as her grandson. She has something of a crush on the Dream Maker. She is quite an eccentric character and tends to act younger than her years. Though when trouble comes she is just as good at planning as she is at having fun.
  • Spildit (voiced by Ellie Beaven): Pildit's niece. A little female Wut who is prone to getting herself in trouble.
  • Mr. Blossom (voiced by Anthony Jackson): The Dream Maker's gardener, a wizened old Wut who constantly seems to have something to complain about.
  • Wottles: The Wottles look very similar to Wuts, only they are much smaller and have furry chests. Their job is to look after the Dream Bottle trees from underground to make sure they are healthy. Two Wottles who often join Rufus and Amberley in their adventures are called 'Hat' and 'Egg'.
  • Planet Dreamstone: The planet itself seems to be a sentient being, able to talk to other characters. It speaks with a gentle, female voice, and is also a figure of authority in the Council of Dreammakers. Being the source of power for all Dreamstones in the universe, the planet is very powerful, and actually fights with Zordrak in "Megattack".

The Land of Nightmares

Zordrak

Zordrak, Lord of Nightmares, first appeared in the pilot episode.

The Land of Nightmares, also known as the dark side of the planet, is populated mostly by Urpneys, who basically resemble human beings except for the large bulbous nose and tails. They live in Viltheed, a tall black mountain in which resides Zordrak. Although all the Urpneys in Viltheed are male, female Urpneys do exist, as Urpgor has both an auntie and a niece.

Main article: List of Urpney Technology

  • Zordrak (voiced by Gary Martin): The Lord of Nightmares and the principal antagonist of the series. He has a Welsh/Asian Dragon like look, characterised by a deep, demonic voice, he stands at least fifty feet high, and spends much of his time sitting on his throne dispensing punishment to wayward Urpneys. Zordrak was once a Dream Maker himself, in the form of a demonic Fox. He was ejected from the council for turning dreams into nightmares, and transformed himself into a monster you see now, enraged he vowed vengeance. His fearsome appearance is a sharp contrast with the simple cartoon-like style of his Urpney henchmen. While not physically disabled, he very rarely moves from his throne, and can transform into a mist/apparition in order to leave Viltheed in which he only did in two episodes, 'The Knitted Balloon' and 'Spildit.' His goal is to dominate the Sleeping World, but was revealed in 'A Day Out' that he wanted to be Lord of the Universe. In Mike Jupp's original draft of the story, Zordrak was known as Nasta Shelfim, an anagram of 'Satan Himself', but this was changed because the producers felt it was too long and that it may offend religious people if they worked out the anagram.[1]
  • Urpgor (voiced by Leonard Whiting (series 1)): The chief (and, it seems only) Urpney scientist. For reasons that are never explained, he has green skin, pink mohican-style hair and orange eyebrows. He habitually wears a white lab coat and three pairs of glasses on the end of his nose. In the fine tradition of cartoon scientists he is also completely mad and is often seen insanely bounding around, having fallen in love with his latest invention. Publicly hates the other Urpneys, and secretly covets Zordrak's throne. He is prone to make weird noises and expressions as he talks. On the whole his inventions always work but are often let down by their extreme Heath Robinson complexity and reliance on Urpney muscle power to operate them. Although he starts the series with a minor role, he appears in every single episode, with several episodes centred around the character.
  • Sergeant Blob (voiced by Richard Tate): The military leader of the Urpneys, who takes over Operation Dreamstone after the former commanding officer, Captain Crigg, is fed to the Frazznats at the start of the first episode. He usually has Nug and Frizz accompany him on missions, having appointed them his 'elite squad' in the pilot episode because they were too slow to run off with the others. It is later revealed that the two are corporals, possibly having been promoted during the first series. Blob seems to suffer from malapropism, for example he says stuff like "sensationalise" instead of "surprise".
  • Corporal Frizz (voiced by Melvyn Hayes): An Urpney whose cowardice knows no bounds. Finds himself in a position of responsibility simply because he could not run away as fast as the others. He would much rather be at home with some sandwiches than fighting deadly Noops. He was voiced by Melvyn Hayes, who played something of a similar character in the sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum. Frizz seems to be an Urpney that appreciates the arts. A recurring device in the series is that, at the end of each episode, Frizz speaks the final lines. This occurs in every episode except the opening 'special'. In the first season he wears glasses, but these appear less frequently in the second season, and disappear completely by the third season. He dislikes Urpgor more than the other Urpneys, and on a few occasions tries to attack him (notably after meeting Urpgor's aunt).
  • Corporal Nug (voiced by Anthony Jackson): Another Urpney who, while not as cowardly as Frizz, certainly has his moments. Seems to be far cleverer than the other Urpneys, and speaks with a thick Brummie accent. Nug sometimes provides good ideas, which are usually adopted by Blob and passed off as his own.
  • Argorribles: Ghostly purple clouds that Zordrak sends out each night to deliver nightmares to the sleeping world. The power of the Dreamstone is often far too much for them and so only occasionally do they slip through. However, with the power of the Nightmare stone the Argorribles are powered up and are more likely to bypass the Dreamstone's defences. They are incorporeal, although one is briefly made solid in the episode "Horrible Argorrible".
  • Zarag (voiced by Jackie Clarke): Zordrak's sister, who was shut up in a bottle for five hundred years until accidentally being released by Nug. It is suggested in Zarag that she was once romantically involved with the Dream Maker. She also wants the Dreamstone, but to wear in her hair rather than to unleash nightmares on the unsuspecting world. She also tried gaining servants through 'Obedience Drops' in Zarag Rules. Her last appearance was The Substitute where she corrupted dream bottles with Argoribbles. She appears to be more humanoid then her brother.
  • Frazznats: Creatures that live in the Pit of No Return and feed on Urpneys, but one time ate sweets and chocolates as seen in "The Invisible Blob". They resemble a cross between a shark, a serpent and a Venus Flytrap, with lobster-like pincers.
  • Urpgor's Auntie: Urpgor's Auntie (her real name is not mentioned on the show) lives on the planet Tempus Fugit, where she has placed traps for unexpected visitors should they dare to go there. She can be just as mad as her nephew, Urpgor. She shares several of Urpgor's distinguishing features (green skin, pink hair and glasses).
  • Urpip: Urpgor's troublesome niece, although it is unknown which brother or sister of Urpgor she is the daughter of. She is as intelligent and obnoxious as her uncle, and likes to use big words. She causes trouble, although this is a result of childish curiosity. She looks like a younger version of Urpgor, with several of his distinguishing features.
  • Other Urpneys: Although there are a lot of Urpneys in which rarely do anything, a few were actually given names, such as 'Lugit, Gridd, Blit, Urk, Sniff, Boff, Crusher, Fogg, & Burk!'

Episodes

Main article: List of The Dreamstone episodes

The Dreamstone aired between 1990 and 1995 with a total of 52 episodes. Each episode has basically the same plot - Zordrak instructs his henchmen to steal the Dreamstone, which he plans to destroy, so that nightmares will plague the sleeping world. The plan usually involves Urpgor, his right-hand man and scientist inventing some means with which the Urpneys - led by Sergeant Blob, an archetypal Sergeant Major type - crosses the Mist of Limbo (a vast Purple Mist) to get to the Land of Dreams. The plan invariably fails, the main problem being the cowardice and incompetence of the Urpneys, who often want no more than to 'go home' and get some sandwiches.

At the ending of each episode apart from The Dreamstone, Into Viltheed, Zarag and The Stowaways, who were done by the Dream Maker, Zordrak and Nug. Frizz, one of the three main Urpney characters, delivers the final lines in a total of 48 Episodes.

Deleted Scenes

In the hour-long special of The Dreamstone (A combination of The Dreamstone and Into Viltheed.) or 'The Opening Special', There were three scenes that were not seen in the normal episode of 'The Dreamstone.'

  • One was when Rufus was told off by Mr Wacks for being late again, in which took place right after Rufus spoke to Amberley. Rufus was ordered to fill a basket with candles, he did so, but as he put the candles in, he started to daydream about being a performing clown, juggling the candles that then turned into objects and animals. Rufus was then interrupted by Amberley, in which then caused him to drop and break the candles. Amberley picked up the candles and walked away saying 'Daydreaming again!' The original soundtrack has the juggling music in, right between the musketeer and the beginning music for the Wacks Wicks Works track. You may also find when Rufus was going to cut the candles from the rack, that some broken candles were still seen on the floor from the deleted scene.
  • The second was after Rufus saw the whirlyped fly away with The Dreamstone and Amberley, as Rufus tried to tell The Dreammaker on what'd happened, he then asked Rufus on what was he doing in the tower? Rufus told the Dreammaker that he was showing off as he tried to impress Amberley, but after seeing that the Urpneys had taken her away and have The Dreamstone, the Dreammaker then said 'Oh this is disastrous, you've failed me Rufus." before saying the lines that was in the normal episode. In the remix Dreamdance, you could actually hear The Dreammaker saying that line that was cut off from the normal episode.
  • The third is when Rufus said that he will sneak The Dreamstone out of Zordrak's nose, he then said that he is small and no one will notice him, but was then interrupted by the Dreammaker who then said 'Rufus, that'll be an extremely difficult and a dangerous undertaking!" Rufus then asked please on letting him have a try, that then led up to the final lines to what The Dreammaker had to say, which is also on the normal episode.
  • In early repeats of the opening special, Rufus' dream sequence set to 'Better Than A Dream' was edited out, due to the limited amount of time on the TV for standard length episodes. This would also explain the edits for the later versions of The Dreamstone opening special.

The deleted scenes were included in the TV movie 'Opening Special' and is only available on video from the Video Collection in the UK, a release in Australia and possibly the only US Dreamstone video from Fisher-Price. The recently released UK DVD contains the dream sequence, but the other scenes are still deleted. In addition, the Whirlyped Launch scene has the music muted until the Whirlyped is airborne. Also, when Rufus shows Amberley the laughter box, and took out some of the laughter bubbles, other sounds of laughter can be heard from them. This goes to show that the stereo audio mix is somewhat different to the original.

Soundtrack

The show was notable for its musical score, which is practically unique among cartoons in that it was performed by a full-size professional orchestra, namely the London Philharmonic. The score, by Mike Batt, was heavily characterised by the use of leitmotifs and thematic variations, particularly on the two main songs used in the series, Better than a Dream (characterising the good characters) and War Song of the Urpneys (characterising the evil characters).

Ozzy Osbourne, Frank Bruno, and Billy Connolly provided lead vocals on The War Song of the Urpneys single and album track, although the version heard in the series was largely sung by composer Mike Batt. Other artists who sang for The Dreamstone soundtrack included Bonnie Tyler, who recorded a duet with Mike entitled Into The Sunset. This song was supposed to be used as the show's official love song (especially towards Rufus and Amberley) but it was never used. Plus Joe Brown performed The Vile Brothers Mountain Band, which was used on the show, during the episode Albert Is Fishnapped. Gary Glitter was also involved with the recording.

The TV version of Better Than A Dream contained some different lyrics to the version included on the soundtrack. The TV version mostily reflected Rufus' personality, with the lyrics 'I always dream myself to somewhere else each night' and 'I know I dream much more than other people do'. The soundtrack version contained 'I used to dream myself to someone else each night' and 'Until I chanced upon this road that led to you', among a few other changes that were made to the song. Mike Batt also re-recorded the chorus, used in the ending credits from the latter part of Series 1 onwards till Series 4 in which was then shortened.

The soundtrack has just recentily been re-released as part of the Mike Batt Music Cube released in December 2009 by Dramatico Records. However instead of the TV soundtrack, the CD features 5 newily recorded orchestrial overtures, as well as Better Than A Dream, The War Song of the Urpneys and Into the Sunset and a shorter version of The Dreamdance which also omits the vocal clips from the show. The Vile Brothers Mountain Band was omitted from the soundtrack, probably very likely to do with recent events involving Gary Glitter's personal life.

TV soundtrack album listing (original release):

  1. Better Than A Dream - Mike Batt (3:04)
  2. The War Song Of The Urpneys - Billy Connolly, Ozzy Osbourne and Frank Bruno (4:44)
  3. Dreamdance (Theme From The Dreamstone) (10:07)
  4. Into The Sunset - Mike Batt and Bonnie Tyler (3:28)
  5. The Vile Bros Mountain Band - Gary Glitter & Joe Brown (4:19)
  6. The Dreamstone (Main Title) (2:10)
  7. Wack's Wicks Works (2:15)
  8. The Dream Maker (6:11)
  9. Whirlyped Launch (5:21)
  10. The Dreamstone Is Stolen (6:20)
  11. The Argorribles And The Egg Of Death (6:48)
  12. Rufus Succeeds (5:20)

Home media releases and worldwide airings

In the UK there were a few video releases from the Video Collection (VCI International, now known as 2 Entertain) covering all of series one (including the unedited opening special) bar the episode Megattack; plus several releases of most (but not all of) Series 1 from Tring International. Also in the UK BMG Video only released one video featuring 4 episodes of series 2.

The first two episodes were originally combined to form the Opening Special which contained extra footage that was edited out from the 22 minute TV broadcast versions of the Opening Special. The first six episodes of this season have been released on DVD in the UK by Abbey Home Media. At the present time there are no plans to release more episodes on DVD, due to poor promotion and distribution of Filmfair's catalog by Abbey.

The videos can still be found on sites like Amazon and eBay's UK sites from time to time, as well as the DVD releases. The DVD's can also be obtained through Abbey Home Media's shop site.

There were 6 videos from released by an Australian company called Reel Entertainment featuring the first 12 episodes of series 3 released only in Australia. There was also another video release, presumably of the first 3 episodes of Series 1. In Australia (where the show aired on ABC TV) the episode title "Wottles" was actually spelled "Woitles".

In the USA, Fisher Price released a single video of The Dreamstone. It's likely it only contained the opening pilot special.

The show was aired in the commonwealth countries of Canada (on Showcase) and Australia (on ABC), it was also aired in Germany and Austria (on Orf 1) as 'Der Traumstein' , and as 'Pedra Dos Sonhos' in Spain and Portugal. It also aired in most of South America such as Brazil and Argentina , but only series 1 and 2 were aired there.

At the start of 2010, series 1 and 2 had been available for free viewing on Cookie Jar Entertainment's 'Jaroo' online service via a scheduled service. The service will rotate itself within the majority of a few months, allowing people to view up to five episodes at a time, until all the episodes have been shown and the process will start over. Currentily series 3 and 4 have not been shown on Jaroo, this is due to ownership of these series by the company Dreamstone Productions Ltd. At present, there has been no discussions between the two companies in regards to the rights of the remaining two series. It's unknown at this point if there will be, but fans are hopeful that an agreement could be reached in the future.

Airing History

Trivia

  • Unusually for an animated show, the series makes several references to death or being killed. While no main characters ever die, the hint of death seems very real. In the first episode, Zordrak throws an Urpney to the Frazznats as punishment. Zordrak also yells 'Then Die' to Rufus and Amberley in The Dreamstone Part 2: Into Viltheed (which was originally aired as the full length pilot), however they didn't get killed, though in the same episode it seemed Pildit had died in a landslide caused by Zordrak, but he survived. The series toned down the hint of death more and more during the course of the series.
  • Although the show is made in the United Kingdom, the cartoon itself was drawn in the Philippines. Like with American produced cartoons, Martin Gates Productions used foreign studios for the overall animation work. Fil-Cartoons, a frequent overseas contractor for Hanna-Barbera, was utilized for series 1, while Moving Images International animated for series 2-4. (MII also animated most of Martin Gates' other productions throughout the 1990s, as well as other FilmFair productions such as Brown Bear's Wedding, White Bear's Secret, and series 1 of The Legends of Treasure Island.)
  • Surprisingly, Zordrak manages to get his evil hands on the Dreamstone once every Series!
    • Series 1: Into Viltheed, in which he threw the Dreamstone into the 'Pit of No Return.'
    • Series 2: Albert's Ailment, The Dreamstone was going to be destroyed by crushing it in a Pulverizer Urpgor had invented.
    • Series 3: A Day Out, in which Zordrak would convert it to evil on the 'Nightmare Planet.'
    • Series 4: The SpiderMobile, in which Zordrak (Same as Series 3) would comvert it to evil, this time on the 'Planet of Doom.'
  • In 1985, Mike Jupp did produce a pilot for the series entitled The Dream Thief. It was animated by the studio Mill Valley Animation in Novato in the US state of California when Mike was working in America. In this short pilot there was a few alterations to the TV series, most of which came from Jupp's original manuscript for the idea. The Noops have tails that resembles fish tails to an extent, different coloured faces near their noses and children played the roles for Rufus and Amberley. According to Mike himself, Rufus' voice was played by a 12 year old Christian Bale. Noops are forest dwelling creatures, instead of living in a town like in the series, however Rufus goes to a town to see about a job of becoming the Dreammaker's assistant, much like in the first episode of the series. Any other characters that speak would have different voices from the show, due to the fact this short was made 5 years before the TV series. The Dreammaker resembles the first artwork of him by Mike Jupp, as he has an umbrella with a lightbulb in it, attached to his head. The Wuts and Urpneys all look the same from the TV show. Zordrak also looks the same, but he goes by the name Nasta Shelfim. The backgrounds and settings also resembles the settings from the TV show and the scene where Amberley explains to Rufus about daydream bubbles, closely resembles a scene from Rufus' dream sequence from the first episode of the series.

External links

References

Template:FilmFairde:Der Traumstein

es:The Dream Stone it:La pietra dei sogni pl:Klejnot snów pt:The Dreamstone ru:Камень сновидений

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