Balamory is a Scottish live action television series on British television (BBC One, BBC Two and CBeebies) for pre-school children, based around the fictional small island community of Balamory in Scotland. It was produced between 10 February 2002 and 14 April 2005 by BBC Scotland, with 254 episodes made (including a DVD-exclusive Christmas episode). The series was created by Brian Jameson.
Balamory was filmed mostly in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, with the exception of scenes at Archie's castle filmed at Fenton Tower inNorth Berwick and Other Scenes like the park and Nursery Filmed in Glasgow
A select series of episodes was shown for two brief seasons in the United States on the Discovery Kids channel. It was also shown onTLC. In Ireland, episodes were shown until recently on weekdays on RTÉ Two's The Den and continue to be shown on The Den's replacement, RTÉjr.
Other than Suzie Sweet and Penny Pocket, who share a building and run Pocket and Sweet (a shop set in Balamory), each main character has their own house in the town, and each house has a distinctive colour. The colour of each character's house is the same as the clothes they wear with the exception of Penny Pocket, who lives in the Red House but wears blue, and PC Plum, who lives in the white house but wears a police uniform. They also have their own songs which they often sing during their appearances in the programme. What's the Story in Balamory is the theme of the show and a sample in the background on the credits. Sell Me A Coat (which is by David Bowie) and the coloured house song to see which coloured house they're going to (e.g. Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow, White, Blue or Green) after Miss Hoolie's vocals. Archie makes anything out of boxes, drink boxes, sausage boxes, milk bottles, pebbles, pizza boxes, tape cassette, chocolate boxes, yogurt pots, cotton reels and more and he lives in the pink house, which is actually a castle. He went up the top of the castle tower using binoculars which was seen on Symbols and Signs. Josie Jump does gymnastics (e.g. swimming, bouncing, running, exercise and more) The characters are Suzie Sweet, Penny Pocket, Archie, Spencer, Josie Jump, PC Plum, Edie McCredie and Miss Hoolie (and the nursery children).
Each show also includes the following songs:
- What's The Story in Balamory?
- Which Coloured House Are We Going To?
|Miss Hoolie||Julie Wilson Nimmo||Nursery teacher||Green house||
Nursery Song (Everybody Everyone) What Do You Want To Do Today (Day Off Song 1) Strike Up The Band (Day Off Song 2)
|Archie||Miles Jupp||Inventor||Pink castle||
I'm Archie The Inventor Great Inventions, Groovy Solutions
|Josie Jump||Buki Akib (series 1-2)
Kasia Haddad(series 3-4)
|Fitness instructor||Three-storey yellow house||
Josie Jump Is My Name (Jump A Little Higher) Cheer You Up
|Edie McCredie||Juliet Cadzow||Bus driver||Blue garage/house||
When I Honk My Horn Let Me Take You On A Journey
|PC Plum||Andrew Agnew||Policeman||White and black police station||
I'm PC Plum Follow The Clue
|Spencer||Rodd Christensen||Painter/Musician||Orange house||
Climbing Up My Musical Ladder If You Need A Little Rhythm
|Suzie Sweet||Mary Riggans||Shop and caféworkers||Red shop||
Suzie's Cooking; I'm Suzie Sweet, I'm Penny Pocket
|Penelope “Penny” Pocket||Kim Tserkezie||Sort it; I'm Suzie Sweet, I'm Penny Pocket|
A typical episode begins with Miss Hoolie opening the nursery and telling the audience what the weather is like in Balamory today, and then meeting one of the other main characters who has a "problem" that can be solved by visiting another main character. The main character with the problem sings and dances to a Calypso style song to decide which of the coloured houses "is the one for me" (i.e. is the one where the helpful character lives), and then makes a procession of visits to various characters until the problem is solved. For example, Josie Jump is looking after her neighbour's rabbit and needs to know how to look after the rabbit so she goes to visit PC Plum who advises her to feed the rabbit some vegetables. Josie then decides to go to Pocket and Sweet to buy some rabbit food, then takes the rabbit to the nursery so the children can look after the animal.
At each visit, the progress of the story to date is summarised by drawing a rainbow of balloons in the air with the hands. The balloons burst open. summary of today's "story in Balamory" narrated by the visitor. The entire story is also summarised at the end of each programme by Miss Hoolie.
Each episode of Balamory contains at least five songs;
- Opening song (What's The Story In Balamory?)
- Miss Hoolie's song (Nursery Song or a day off song depending on if it is a working day or a day off)
- Which Coloured House Are We Going To? (Sung by one of the characters. There is also an instrumental version for Miss Hoolie to narrate at the end of each episode.)
- One or more character songs (Penny and Suzie, Archie, Spencer, Josie, PC Plum and Edie)
The programme is aimed at pre-schoolers. The programme's creator had intended it as a "soap opera for children". The show can also be seen in a humorous light. The characters in Balamory are somewhat naive and light-hearted, often appearing to be children trapped in adult bodies with adult roles. The entire storyline often revolves around problems which seem obvious and simple to older viewers.
There are many songs in Balamory, mainly sung by the actors. These songs are used consistently throughout the series when characters or circumstances are introduced to the episode. In the run starting from September 2004, new songs were introduced. These songs are longer and take up more time in the episode, so the old versions are still used often. The end credits show Miss Hoolie leaving the nursery for hometime and going to Miss Hoolie's green house and say goodbye to Miss Hoolie. Home sweet home. Then the clips show saying goodbye to Edie McCredie, PC Plum, Josie Jump, Spencer, Archie and Pocket and Sweet. A picture of Josie's yellow house is real and turns back into a painted picture frame like at the beginning. Then the camera zooms out of the island and then a ferry passes by like on the beginning. Some multi-coloured closed captions slide along and the production logo, credit names and a Balamory logo appears at the end reading www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies Corpus Christie Primary School Choir, Knightswood, Glasgow sang the theme tune 'What's The Story In Balamory?'
In addition to the character-specific Balamory songs mentioned above, there are many more general songs:
- "What's The Story In Balamory?" is the main theme song of the show (with the dolphins diving on the beginning where the ferry is)
- "Coloured House Song (Which Coloured House Are We Going To?)" (several slightly different versions, depending on who is singing it and which house they're going to, red, pink, orange, yellow, white, blue or green) (Archie, Edie, Josie, PC Plum, Spencer, Suzie and Penny(separate and together)
- Everybody Everyone
- Strike Up The Band
- What Do You Want To Do Today
- I'm PC Plum
- Follow The Clue
- Josie Jump Is My Name (Jump A Little Higher)
- Cheer You Up
- When I Honk My Horn
- Let Me Take You On Journey
- Climbing Up My Musical Ladder
- If You Need A Little Rhythm
- I'm Archie The Inventor
- Great Inventions, Groovy Solutions
Suzie Sweet and Penny Pocket:
- I'm Suzie Sweet, I'm Penny Pocket
- Suzie's Cooking
- Sort It
Some of these songs are available on a CD named Balamory: Strike Up The Band.
|What's The Story In Balamory?||All|
|Everybody, Everyone (Nursery Song)||All|
|What Do You Want To Do Today?||(Miss Hoolie's Day Off Song 1)||1-2|
|Strike Up The Band||(Miss Hoolie's Day Off Song 2)||3–4|
|Which Coloured House Are We Going To?||10 slight variations
Archie PC Plum Spencer Josie Jump Penny and Suzie (both individually and together) Edie McCredie
|I'm Archie, The Inventor (Archie's Song 1)||Archie||All|
|Great Inventions, Groovy Solutions (Archie's Song 2)||Archie||3–4|
|I'm PC Plum (PC Plum's Song 1)||PC Plum||All|
|Follow The Clue (PC Plum's Song 2)||PC Plum||3–4|
|Climbing Up My Musical Ladder (Spencer's Song 1)||Spencer||All|
|If You Need A Little Rhythm (Spencer's Song 2)||Spencer||3–4|
|Josie Jump Is My Name (Jump a Little Higher) (Josie Jump's Song 1)||Josie Jump||All|
|Cheer You Up (Josie Jump's Song 2)||Josie Jump||3–4|
|I'm Suzie Sweet, I'm Penny Pocket (Pocket and Sweet's Song 1)||Suzie Sweet/Penny Pocket||All|
|Suzie's Cooking (Suzie Sweet's Song)||Suzie Sweet||3–4|
|Sort It (Penny Pocket's Song)||Penny Pocket||3–4|
|When I Honk My Horn (Edie McCredie's Song 1)||Edie McCredie||All|
|Let Me Take You On A Journey (Edie McCredie's Song 2)||Edie McCredie||3–4|
Very few episodes feature actors other than the main characters and the children. Terry Wogan made a guest appearance in one episode (The Game Show) as a television director. This episode also features Greg Hemphill who is Julie Wilson Nimmo's husband in real life, and John Altman who plays Nasty Nick Cotton in Eastenders. Keith Floyd also appears in Suzie Sweet's song "Suzie's Cookin'".
Occasionally, the shots of children entering the nursery are cut down for repeats for time reasons.
On 30 April 2005 the BBC announced that it would not order another season of the series, citing they wanted to experiment and create more new programme ideas, though many of the cast wanted to move on. Miles Jupp, who played Archie, has stated that his role caused some problems when he was performing stand-up on the Edinburgh Fringe, due to parents who recognised him from Balamory assuming his show was child-friendly, and bringing their children to see it. Julie Wilson Nimmo, who played Miss Hoolie, complained that she couldn't take her children to the local play area without being mobbed. In the same year the series ended, the cast went on tour named 'The Balamory Tour'.