Brum (TV series)
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Brum is a British children's TV programme about the adventures of a radio controlled car of the same name. It was produced by Ragdoll Productions for HIT Entertainment and first broadcast in 1991. It was initially directed, written and produced by Anne Wood, latterly directed and written by Vic Finch, Paul Leather, Emma Lindley, Morgan Hall, Brian Simmons, Nigel P Harris and others. It was initially narrated by Toyah Willcox and later by Tom Wright. The show was first aired on Children's BBC on BBC One (later on CBeebies) and also aired in the United States on Discovery Kids as part of the Ready Set Learn kids block on the channel that lasted from 1996 to 2010. The show has also aired on ABC, ABC1 and ABC2 in Australia.
Brum has been written by a range of writers over the years. Anne Wood primarily wrote all the first series, whilst the second series was written by Tom Poole, Dirk Campbell, Andrew Davenport and Morgan Hall. The last two series were written by the existing Ragdoll team which included Alan Dapre, Vic Finch, Dylan Leslie Birch and Holly Elson. There were also episodes by writers and originators on Boohbah, Steve Dorrance and Will Miller.
The title character is a half-scale replica of a late-1920s Austin 7 "Chummy" convertible. He drives by himself (in reality by radio control) and can express himself in a number of ways including opening and closing his doors and bonnet, "bobbing" his suspension, flashing and swivelling his headlamps, rotating his starting crank, extending his turn signals, and using his horn.
The actors in Brum do not speak; mime and off-screen narration help propel the story. For this reason, it has been easy to prepare episodes for airing in other countries and Brum has been broadcast in many parts of the world and in many languages, including Italian, Dutch, Hebrew, Croatian, Arabic, Norwegian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Danish, Finnish, Swedish, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Thai, Slovenian, French, Portuguese and Vietnamese.
Each episode of Brum begins and ends in the same way - with Brum, sitting amongst the cars in a motor museum. When the museum owner's back is turned, he comes to life and heads out to go exploring in the "Big Town", but always returns to the museum at the end of each episode. The opening sequence and closing sequence was filmed at the Cotswold Motoring Museum in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, England. The model car used in filming is kept on display there when not in use.
Originally the programme was set in the city of Birmingham in England, hence the name: in addition to its onomatopoeic nature of a car engine revving, Brum is a common colloquial name for Birmingham and its inhabitants are known as Brummies. Later series make no mention of Birmingham, calling it the "Big Town", but Brum still continued to be filmed there and many Birmingham streets and landmarks can be seen in each episode, including Aston University.
The show's original title theme and music were composed by Kjartan Poskitt for the first two series. The incidental music for the most recent series was composed by Daniel Jones (but not that of the end credits) and is consistently scored for piano, bass guitar, drums and saxophone ensemble, although it varies stylistically from big-band swing to disco, classical, reggae, and music-hall styles. This consistency of sound gives a very convincing and appropriate sense of a small pit orchestra or circus band, and is very much part of the series.
"Brum" is no longer produced by Ragdoll Productions. Production ceased on 4 November 2002. Following Brum's redundancy from Ragdoll, the little car is now on display at the Cotswold Motoring Museum in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, England.
Brum was designed and built by Rex Garrod, and a very early prototype of Brum can be found in Rex's own series, Secret Life of Machines, dated about 1989.