Monday, 12 September 2011

Olly the Little White Van

As I've said before, though I'm still a nostalgic chap at heart - whether for the 50's Golden Age to the 90's Silver Age, or the surrealism of the 80's - there are times when a modern-day show still manages to get my attention by achieving in two vital areas: namely animation and scripting.

And this little pre-school series seems to be another runaway success from what I can make out!

Olly the Little White Van tells of a cheery, helpful van, and his Driver Stan, who is "always glad to lend a hand" to his friends in the cheery town of Bumpton. With a mixture of vehicle and human characters, there's plenty of friends for Olly to help - including best mate Bazza, Jethro the Tractor, Royston the Fire Engine, Miss Florette the Greengrocers, and many more!

The characters' voices are all brought to life by Justin Fletcher - already famed over on CBeebies for developing and starring in Tikkabilla, Something Special, Gigglebiz and the Tweenies, to name but a few.

Created by Ideas At Work, the series aired on the CITV Channel sometime in early May, and apparently has gained quite a fanbase from viewers since. Having eventually got round to watching several episodes from ITV Player, I can see many reasons why!

The stories maybe short, running just over five minutes, but the writers clearly pack in a lot of energy and fun dialogue to keep the kiddies' interest, and don't shove lessons down the throats of their viewers. From that, you can tell that this is a wholly British Product to be sure of!!

Each episode contains a brief song to drive (no pun intended) the story along, with everyone bouncing and bobbing like a black and white "rubber hose" 'toon from the 1930's.

Mind you, in the vehicles' case, they literally do just that - swaying and rolling and jumping like mad, giving the series a true "animated" feel from your average pre-schooler show. The team behind the superb CGI quality seem to have been inspired by Pixar's popular Cars movies - with perhaps a touch of Chuggington to boot - in terms of adding more character to their...erm...characters. The vehicles may not appear or move very realistic, but the animation team at Birmingham are clearly having fun all the same! ;-)

In short, I'd recommend Olly to anyone looking for a suitable series for youngsters. It's fun and colourful with likeable characters, and an amazing look and style that you simply can't help but grin at. It's another series that you can watch with your kids without being bored by it!

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