Ragdoll Productions

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Background

Ragdoll Productions is a British TV production company that produces programmes specifically made for young children, founded on July 26, 1984 by Anne Wood, and located in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire in the United Kingdom. Named after Wood's daughter's favourite toy rag doll, Jemima, Ragdoll Productions is mostly known for creating shows like Teletubbies, Pob's Progamme, Rosie and Jim, Brum, Tots TV, and many others. Before its inception in the mid-1980s, Wood made shows like Ragdolly Anna and Rub-A-Tub-Dub. Ragdoll also had a small store with play areas based on Wood's works, named the Ragdoll Shop which opened in 1992, but closed in 2005 due to expansion limits and failure to find a new larger venue. In the mid-1990s, Ragdoll expanded operations to the United States, and signed a deal with The Itsy Bitsy Entertainment Company to sell their programmes in the market. In 2006, Ragdoll and BBC Worldwide formed a joint venture called Ragdoll Worldwide, which then held the rights to all Ragdoll programming from Ragdoll itself; this joint venture was sold to DHX Media in September 2013, causing the rights to the TV shows that Ragdoll created (except Pob's Programme) to be acquired and picked up by DHX, meaning the shows they produced are no longer produced under the "Ragdoll" name. Despite this, Ragdoll Productions themselves are still active to this very day, now producing their latest programmes, Twirlywoos and B.O.T and the Beasties, with the former being a co-production with DHX.



1st Logo (5 October 1985-1995)


Visuals: There is a black and white Raggedy Ann/Andy-like rag doll. The rag doll has stringy hair, button eyes, a triangular nose, a narrow smile, wears a short-sleeve shirt and pants with chequered patterns, and is holding a candle above its head with a stylised old gold sun with 12 points behind the doll.

Trivia:

  • This logo was designed by Malcolm Bird, who illustrated some Pob-related magazines.
  • The Ragdoll Shop used this logo on a hanging sign from its opening in 1992 until 1995.
  • In 1993, a new print logo was created (originally the print logo was just the doll), featuring the doll on a white background in a rectangle with a white or red banner saying "Ragdoll" in red or black text on the bottom. It lasted until 1995.

Variants: Each programme used a different version of the logo.

  • On Pob's Programme, the entire logo graphic is made of fabric and in fact, the entire ending sequence takes place over the logo. The rag doll is also a lot smaller and is between between the words " A Ragdoll (UK)" and "Production" stacked on top of the words "for" and "Channel Four" (This show was produced for Channel 4 UK). "Channel Four" is under the word "for" and under that is a Channel Four copyright date. Pob appears over the logo and to the right of him is a plush version of the same rag doll shown in the logo, with carrot orange stringy hair, a red chequered shirt, and a shamrock green candle. Pob proceeds to blow out the rag doll's candle, dimming the lights.
    • A sub-variant has Pob reading a Pob News magazine and to the left of him is the same ragdoll from the main variant. A female narrator reminds viewers how to send cash or stamps to Pob, while Pob himself chatters over the narration and nudges the rag doll once. The P.O. box address "P.O. Box 507, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3AL" fades in at the bottom of the screen, in a handwritten font in pastel pink, before Pobs blows out the candle.
  • On BOOM!, the doll is seen on a dark blue background, above the yellow text "A Ragdoll (UK) Production for Channel Four". Below that, the copyright information appears.
  • On Playbox, the doll is next to text saying "A Ragdoll (U.K.) Production for Central". Below the text and logo is a copyright date for Central Independent Television.
  • On the series The Magic Mirror, the entire logo is in-credit. After the credits finishing scrolling, only the "A Ragdoll (UK) Production" disclaimer and Kellogg Company copyright date remain on-screen on the left. After a few seconds, the rag doll fades onto the titular magic mirror, like it's being reflected. Each episode used a different variation to match the theme of the story, but the concept remains the same.
    • The episode "The Goose Girl" does not have the rag doll fade, as usual, it instead pops out of the box (like a Jack-in-a-Box) that's reflected in the Magic Mirror.
  • On Brum, all the text is in Dom Casual, and just simply says "A Ragdoll Production" with the doll between the "A Ragdoll" and "Production". Below that is a Ragdoll Productions copyright.
  • At the end of 1993-1994 episodes of Tots TV, the background is a black/dark teal gradient, and the illustration of the rag doll, the text, and the copyright notice are also stacked, and the "A Ragdoll Production for Central" text appear in a Futura font. On the show's first four episodes (called "Camel", "Beach", "Fox" and "Trains", respectively), the numeral MCMXCII (1992), is misspelled as MCMXII, which means 1912.
  • On Open a Door, a cropped image of the logo appears in credit, taken straight from the Tots TV variant of the logo. On the episode "Poland" (which was a co-production with the Polish film and animation studio Semafor Film Studio Poland (Se-ma-for)), the cropped image has a white outline, and the text is also in a different font.

Technique: A still graphic. For the Pob variant and The Magic Mirror variants, live-action.

Audio: None.

Audio variants:

  • On The Magic Mirror, a mystical chime-like sound plays, which is part of the ending theme to the show.
  • On Brum, an ascending synthesised piano jingle composed by Andrew McCrorie-Shand (Ragdoll's then-TV composer) is played.
  • On Tots TV, the last note of the ending theme plays once the logo appears, and then the rest of the logo is silent.
  • On Playbox, a slight slam noise coming from the Playbox is heard; the rest of the logo is silent.
  • On Pob's Programme, background music from the show plays throughout the logo.

Audio Trivia: The Brum music variant, can be heard at the end of the aforementioned show's audiocassettes, related to picture books.

Availability: Seen on all Ragdoll shows from the time-period until 1995, except for Rosie and Jim, which uses the custom logo below instead.

  • These include Pob's Programme, The Magic Mirror, Playbox, BOOM!, Tots TV, Brum and the first series of Open a Door.
    • The mid-two shows two also keep this logo on most prints, while the rest haven't aired in decades.
  • On CBeebies airings of Tots TV, this logo is plastered with the sixth logo.
  • Ragdoll produced the 5th and 6th series of the 1980s-1990s BBC educational programme Storytime, however this logo does not appear on any of the episodes, just an in-credit notice.
  • The Brum variant is also retained on the WildBrain YouTube channel's print of the Brum Series 1 episode "Safari Park" (which is the only series 1 episode that retains the credits and logo at the end).
    • It is also available on BBC iPlayer prints of the show, as they use the remastered versions from WildBrain.

2nd Logo (Rosie and Jim Custom Logos) (3 September 1990-6 June 1997)

Visuals: Over a red background, there is the rag doll (colourised with brown hair) in chequered black and white overalls obscured inside a porthole. The rag doll is still holding the candle over it, with a "yellow sun" behind it. Below the porthole, there is a curved banner with red text saying "A Ragdoll Production for Central". Until series 2, a copyright date for Central Independent Television can be seen below, while series 3 onwards use a copyright date for Ragdoll themselves.

Variants:

  • On series 1, the logo closes like a book cover, so it appears that the logo is on the back of a book.
  • On series 2, the logo is smaller, and the copyright date is in a different font. It also uses a page turning transition.
  • On the direct-to-video releases Learn to Read and Write with Rosie & Jim, the "A Ragdoll Production for Central" part is removed, and the Central copyright date is replaced with a Ragdoll Productions copyright date instead.
  • On series 3, the same doll was redrawn with a pencil-colour look, and the sun has more points.
  • On series 4 and 5, the redesigned doll from the fourth logo appears instead. The copyright text can either be yellow or white.

Technique:

  • On series 1, live-action.
  • On series 2, computer effects.
  • On Learn to Read and Write with Rosie & Jim, fading effects.
  • On series 3-5, a still graphic.

Audio:

  • On series 1 and 2, the end theme of the show plays.
  • On Learn to Read and Write with Rosie and Jim, the 1st logo's own music plays, albeit sombre and softer.
  • On series 3-5, a shortened version of the harp music from the next logo plays, although the VHS release of Rosie and Jim: Gingerbread Man uses the standard music instead.

Availability: Only seen on the first five series of Rosie and Jim and is also preserved on VHS and DVD, as well as re-runs of those seasons.

  • The Rosie & Jim series 1 variant of this logo was also seen at the end of the Rosie & Jim episode "Washing" as part of CITV's Old Skool Weekend in January 2013, which is then followed by the 1990 A Central Programme for ITV endcap.
  • The 1992 variant is only seen on two direct-to-video VHS releases titled Learn to Read and Write with Rosie and Jim, neither of which have been reissued.
  • Series 5 of the series (the first series with Neil Brewer as the host) also used this logo when it first broadcast in 1997, but later reruns and VHS releases plastered it with the fourth logo, and later the sixth one.

3rd Logo (6 October-29 December 1994)


Visuals: Over a black background, there is the rag doll (colourised with orange hair) in chequered red/white overalls lying over the word "Ragdoll" in a bold, yellow font. The ragdoll is still holding the candle over it, with a "yellow sun" behind it. The sun glows brighter for a second or two. "works for children" is seen in a small white font, below "doll". Below the logo, there is "A Ragdoll Production" in the same white font, but bigger with a copyright notice below.

Technique: Computer effects.

Audio: A re-arrangement of the first jingle, but played on a harp rather than a synth-piano, and in a different key. Composed by Robert Hartley, who did the soundtrack to Brum's second series, alongside some other minor work on other Ragdoll programmes. On a few prints, the music appears to sound slightly different.

Availability: It was only seen on the original UK airings of the second series of Brum, and also appears intact on UK VHS releases thereof.

  • On Series 2's shortened ten-minute version of the show, the next logo plasters this one, but is still preserved on its original 15-minute version and on BBC iPlayer, as it uses remastered prints from WildBrain.

4th Logo (8 May 1995-16 May 2000)

Visuals: There is a redesigned rag doll, being more human-like with the eyes and hair, the rag doll is also smaller and colourised in chequered teal (or blue)/white overalls and red hair, the doll also does a different pose, and does not hold a candle (but there's the "yellow sun" anyway), inside a door-shaped frame, a la Columbia Pictures' '80s print logo. Under the ragdoll, the red word "Ragdoll" is seen. At the bottom of the screen, there is some copyright info.

Trivia: The rag doll was also the mascot of the "Ragdoll and Friends" magazine, which contains stories, and activities with Rosie & Jim, Brum, Tots TV and later Teletubbies. The magazine run from 1996 to 1997.

Variants:

  • The background of the logo may change colour during its lifetime. Its variations are:
    • 1995-1997: Blue/black gradient.
    • 1996: Cyan/dark blue gradient.
    • 1997-2000: Teal/blue gradient.
  • Sometimes, it has "A Ragdoll Production" (in red), with two yellow squares, under the word "Ragdoll". Other times, the slogan "works for children" appears below.
  • Promos for videos of the company's programmes have the logo on a white background.
  • On an advert for The Ragdoll Shop (a shop where you could buy merchandise based on the shows and play around, no longer open) an early prototype version of this logo is shown against a green gradient background, and the doll's overalls are red instead of blue and has a leg sticking out, the doll itself in this version does not lean on the word "D", which makes the doll itself ended up posing like the 1st logo.
  • On some direct-to-video releases using the characters from Tots TV (which were aptly named Tots Videos), the logo is much bigger.
  • On 1995 episodes of Tots TV, the logo shares the screen with the 1995 Carlton UK Productions Logo.
  • On Teletubbies, under the Ragdoll logo, the 1988 or 1997 BBC logo is underneath. "A Ragdoll Production" is seen below as usual. The background is black. Sometimes, depending on the dubbing of the show, there will be other logos, like:
    • On the Latin Spanish dub, the logo shares the screen with the logos for BBC, Discovery Kids, and The Itsy Bitsy Entertainment Company.
    • On the Dutch dub, the logo shares the screen with the 1988 BBC and 1996 Teleac/NOT logos instead.
    • On the Brazillian dub, it simply shows the Ragdoll logo on a black background.
  • On early episodes of Teletubbies prior to the BBC's logo change on 4 October 1997, the 1988 BBC logo appears below the logo.
  • On the Flemmish VHS release of Teletubbies in the Snow, the information about the BBC and the copyright is blanked out for unknown reasons.
  • On the 1998 UK VHS release of Rosie and Jim: Spring Cleaning is the byline "A Ragdoll Production for ITV", with copyright info underneath. This was also used to plaster the second logo which the episodes from the tape originally came from, and might also be intact on some other VHS releases at the time, such as the 2000 UK VHS release of Rosie and Jim: Music Party and Other Stories.
    • On the original VHS print of Stay Safe Near Water with Rosie and Jim and Duck, the byline under the logo says: "A Ragdoll Production for British Waterways". In the copyright, the numeral MCMXCVIII (1998) is misspelled as "MCMMXCVIII". However, this variant is later plastered with the next logo on DVD releases.
  • On the ten-minute edited versions of Brum series 2, the logo appears to be slightly darker.
  • On the 1998 UK VHS release of Brum - Biggest Party Video!, the brighter version of the logo is used with a 1994 copyright, although the entire logo is silent.
  • On PBS airings of Teletubbies, the byline "A Ragdoll/BBC Production for PBS in association with The itsy bitsy Entertainment Co." is under the logo. This was also localised in the French-Canadian dub.
  • On the Tots TV VHS release of Flying High and other stories, the 1993 Tots TV variant is used, but this logo covers up the 1984-1995 Ragdoll logo.
  • An in-credit version exists, which is seen on the PC version of Play With The Teletubbies. On the PlayStation version of said title, the background is solid teal.
  • On Tots TV: Big Treasure Adventure, the logo is superimposed with a shadow effect.

Technique: A still graphic.

Audio: The end theme to the show mainly, but on some shows, such as Rosie & Jim; the same music from the last logo is used (mainly the sped up version) or none.

Audio Variants:

  • On Tots Video: Tilly, Tom and Tiny's Fun With French, there is the last note of the show's end theme and then the sped-up music.
  • On Tots Video: Tilly, Tom and Tiny's ABC's, there is a music-box style tune composed by Andrew McCrorie-Shand that bears resemblance to his later compositions from Teletubbies.
  • On the Brum ten-minute versions of Series 2, as well as later Tots Video direct-to-video episodes from Tots TV, the long version of the previous music plays.

Availability: Seen on shows by the company from the time-period until 2000. It was also used to plaster the previous logos.

  • It was originally seen on 1995-1998 episodes of Tots TV (and plastered on earlier episodes), alongside the last three series of Rosie and Jim (where Neil Brewer fronted the Ragdoll boat, although on his first series, the second logo was used) and on 1997-2000 episodes of Teletubbies.
  • It is also preserved on the original 1995 VHS releases of the Tots Video direct-to-video series, although the Carlton Video re-releases remove the logo entirely (likely due to it mentioning VCI, a then-rival to Carlton Video).
  • It also plasters the previous logo on the ten-minute edited versions of Brum's Series 2 episodes, and at the end of Brum - Biggest Party Video.
    • However, it does not appear on WildBrain's recent remastered prints of the show, as they use the original logos instead.
  • This logo is also seen on the PS1 game Play with the Teletubbies, as well as its PC counterpart, but only in the end credits.
  • The red dress variant only appeared on an ad for the Ragdoll shop, which is seen on 1995-1998 VHS releases of Tots Video, Rosie and Jim and Brum released by VCI.
  • The eighth variant is only seen on the 2000 Flemish VHS release of Teletubbies in de Sneeuw (Teletubbies in the Snow).
  • This logo was also seen on the second and third series of Open a Door.
  • This logo's last appearance was on the final Rosie and Jim episode "The Magic Show".

5th Logo (Late 1990s-2000)

Visuals: On an orange background, there is a small graphic of the rag doll from the previous logo. Next to it, there is the usual "Ragdoll" logo and "Works for Children" slogan. Below this, there is the text "A Ragdoll Production" in a basic font, with copyright info below.

Technique: A still graphic.

Audio: Unknown.

Availability: Only known to appear on several Brum VHS releases that were released in the Netherlands, plastering the third logo.

6th Logo (5 June 2000-)

Visuals: Over a yellow background, there is the black word "Ragdoll" (in Futura EF Heavy New). Above it, there is a child-like drawing of a rag doll with red hair and black eyes. A smiling mouth is then drawn below the eyes. Copyright info is on the bottom of the screen.

Trivia:

  • This logo was made by Lambie-Nairn.
  • The Ragdoll Shop used this logo on the hanging sign from 2000 until its closure in 2005.

Variants:

  • A longer version exists, in which three shots of the hair are shown being drawn in. Then it cuts to the logo itself, as the last of the hair is drawn (the camera zooms out during this). "Ragdoll" fades in before the mouth is drawn in. This is mainly seen on VHS and DVD releases of Ragdoll shows, but is also intact on non-UK prints of Twirlywoos before the DHX Media logo.
    • On home media releases, extra copyright information reading "Video Compilation" appears below, or replaces the copyright as a whole.
    • On Introducing In the Night Garden..., a bonus feature from the "Who's Here?" DVD, the smile is already drawn when the logo zooms out.
    • On the company's official YouTube channel, the logo starts on the third shot and has a contrast boost.
  • On Teletubbies, below is "for", and the 1997 BBC logo between the Ragdoll logo and the copyright info on a black background; along with a yellow-orange box for the company's ident.
    • On the 2003 Discovery Kids airing of the aforementioned show, the URL is absent.
  • On the Teletubbies: Bedtime and Go! Exercise with the Teletubbies VHS releases, the variant appears on a yellow-orange background.
  • On the final series of Open a Door, the logo once again appears in-credit, but features the entire print logo on the bottom in white.
  • On Boohbah, the logo is still with the words "A Ragdoll Production in association with GMTV" on the bottom. On some VHS or DVD releases, the long version (described above) plays afterward.
    • On a PBS airing of that programme, the long version plays, but the mouth is already drawn and there's a PBS copyright in uppercase.
  • In the Night Garden uses a logo that is the same as the previous one, but with "for BBC" and the 1997 BBC logo below. DVD and international airings also use this version, while CBeebies UK airings use the CBeebies logo in place of the standard 1997 BBC logo.
    • The latter version of the variant is also intact on The Adventures of Abney and Teal.
  • The variant which is seen on Twirlywoos has the logo on the left, next to the DHX Media logo and the CBeebies logo appears on the top. The text "A Ragdoll production for BBC" appears on the top of the CBeebies logo, and the text "produced in association with DHX Media" appears on the bottom of the Ragdoll and DHX Media logos, below that is the copyright date, all on an ocean background.
  • On What Should We Do With The Angry Monster?, the logo is much bigger and also appears on a white background.
  • On B.O.T. and The Beasties, the logo is on a white background, while the next "A Ragdoll Production for BBC" is below the logo, with "Ragdoll" in its normal typeface. The CBeebies logo is below, alongside a copyright date.
    • On international airings, the logos are shrunken down in order to fit in the Cake Entertainment logo.
  • On DeAgostini VHS releases of Teletubbies, the early-1997 Teletubbies variant is used, but this covers up the 1995-2000 Ragdoll logo, thus resulting in it being used alongside the 1988 BBC logo.
  • On Tots TV reruns on CBeebies, the logo is still with the words "A Ragdoll Production for CARLTON" on the bottom. However, for some unknown reason, "CARLTON" is not in the form of its 1993 logo.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: The ending theme of the show or none.

Audio Variants:

  • The animated variant has a drawing sound, followed by various squeaky party blower-like sounds.
  • On seasons 3-5 of Brum, the last sound from the long version plays over the standard variant.
  • Teletubbies Everywhere uses a pan-drop sound.
  • On Rosie & Jim repeats on CITV from the early 2000s, the harp music from the second logo plays as it plasters over the previous logo.
  • The Teletubbies variant sometimes has the last two sounds from the long version play over it.

Availability: Seen on shows from the company since 2000.

  • The long version debuted on Rosie and Jim: Big Video Box, while the short one first appeared on the Series 4 Teletubbies episode "Mum's Portrait".
  • The full version is intact on Ragdoll VHS and DVD releases from VCI and Carlton Video/Granada Ventures from this time period.
  • Shows that have the full orange background version are Series 3-5 of Brum, Teletubbies Everywhere, Boohbah, Blips and DipDap.
  • It also plastered the 4th logo on early 2000's CITV airings of Rosie & Jim.
  • The black background boxed variant is seen on In the Night Garden, Tronji and The Adventures of Abney and Teal.
  • The end credit versions are seen on the special Badjelly the Witch, the final series of Open a Door, Twirlywoos and B.O.T. and the Beasties.
  • It is also preserved on a short film titled What Should We Do With The Angry Monster?, produced for Disney Channel and HopeWorks.
  • The Teletubbies plaster variant with the 1988 BBC logo is known to appear on DeAgostini VHS releases of Teletubbies in Italy.
  • This logo with the harp music also does not appear on VCI releases of the Neil Brewer era of Rosie & Jim, as the full version is used instead.
  • As of 2023, this logo still appears at the end of CBeebies airings of In The Night Garden, only the variant where the smile forms.