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This DVD is well worth buying for under £3 now in some places if you loved Bertha like I used to as a child. Bertha was a British stop motion animated children's television series that focuses on a factory maching. Unfortunately they only made thirteen episodes between 1985 and 1986 but was great fun. The series itself was set in an industrial unit in the Spottiswood Company which was a small manufacturing plant which produces a wide range of goods that range from clocks to deposit boxes. The show primarily focused on the star of the show that was Bertha who was an extremely clever and capable machine that worked in the factory. Each episode would last around fifteen minutes so there was no room for boredom and involved some sort of daily crisis within the factory production lines. Bertha enlists the help of her friends in the factory that also work there and solves these problems. As far as the audience saw Bertha was the only machine in the factory except for one episode. As well as Bertha there were various other characters in the show that were humans and not machines. These included Mr Willmake, the manager of the factory, Miss McClackerty, Mr. Willmake's assistant, Mr Sprott, the Chief Designer, Mr Duncan, the foreman and Mrs Tupp the tealady amongst others. The narration for the show was by Roy Kinnear. I really enjoyed this show when it was on as it was a great fun and interesting with original stories each week. If you liked Bertha as a child then I'm sure your kids will love it and this DVD is well worth purchasing.
As a child this was one of my favourite programmes. My dad painted Bertha on my Wellington boots at one point. I used to dream of having a machine like Bertha - bear in mind I was 4 at the time! Back in the mid-1980s and to a 4 year old, Bertha did seem like a very advanced piece of technology and I loved her! -----General Information about the series----- This is one of those children's programmes which involved very few people. Created by Woodland Animations (Ivor Wood), the company responsible for Postman Pat, Charlie Chalk and Gran. Voices ROY KINNEAR AND SHEILA WALKER Narration ROY KINNEAR Title song vocals GUY FLETCHER Sound CLIVE PENDRY Film Editor MARTIN BOHAN Writer ERIC CHARLES Director of Animation DEREK MOGFORD Series Designer and Director IVOR WOOD WOODLAND ANIMATIONS LIMITED Bertha was first shown on BBC1 on 1st April 1985 at 3:55pm (to be specific - got this from Wikipedia!) There were 13 episodes in total each lasting just under 15 minutes - The Great Painting Job, More Speed, Less Work, The Windmills, The Big Order, A Mouse in the Works, The Burglars, The Best Machine Competition, Bertha's Birthday Party, TOM Gets Lost, The Big Sneeze, The Flying Bear, TOM's New Friend, The Tea Nurse Bertha is a machine which produces anything and everything, so it is set in a factory. -----The DVD----- Unfortunately there are only 4 episodes of Bertha on the DVD, and there are no other Bertha DVDs available. The four episodes do include the first one, but otherwise appear to be picked randomly. The DVD lasts 59 minutes. The picture is not great quality because it hasn't been re-mastered - but this doesn't really bother me as it adds to the authenticity, although young children today night be bothered by that. There are no extras. Bertha can be bought for £3.97 on Amazon, and £2.99 on Play.com. I think I probably paid about £5 when it first came out - for me it was worth that for the childhood memories! -----The Theme Tune----- If you remember one thing about Bertha (other than Bertha herself) it will be the theme tune - a happy and catchy little tune which will have you singing along. Here are the words - they might jog your memories (Hubby was soon singing along)! "Bertha, lovely Bertha, you are a lovely machine Any anyone who works with you will know just what I mean. Bertha, lovely Bertha, sometimes I think you're a dream When we work out what you have to do, You can always turn the goods out, always turn the goods out, We can depend upon you. Clicking in the day and flashing in the night, Your computer is shining brightly, Some people say you've a mind of your own, And I think that's very likely, likely. Bertha, lovely Bertha, sometimes I think you're a dream, When we work out what you have to do, You can always turn the goods out, always turn the goods out, We can depend upon you." -----The Characters----- Bertha - the big green machine with purple arms, big eyes and a big red nose! Bertha is a computer operated machine with a conveyor belt - she can make and reproduce anything! Mrs Tupp - the tea lady TOM - Talk Operated Machine - is invented by Tracy in episode 1 and becomes a permanent fixtureTed Turner - Bertha's Operator Mr Sprott - Chief designer Tracy - Mr Sprott's assistant Mr Duncan - the foreman - a grumpy Scotsman - he is very picky and insists that everyone works hard Nell - The Packer Flo - The Stacker Roy Willing - Ted's assistant - he's not the brightest button Mr Willmake - Manager of Spottiswood and Company - the factory owner Miss McClackerty - Mr. Willmake's secretary Panjit - In charge of the fork lift truck and dispatch Characters' expressions are so funny. The expressions are drawn on the faces with a marker pen (it seems) and don't move as they speak. If you haven't seen Bertha, the characters are very similar to those in Postman Pat. The voices are done well, and although it is a children's programme, I can see adults in the 1980s laughing at it. -----The Episodes----- The Great Painting Job: The first episode, sees Bertha making jigsaw puzzles - Ted puts the picture in one end, and Bertha cuts out the shapes. Roy checks, Nell packs, and Flo stacks! Problems arise as one of the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle is missing in each puzzle. Bertha churns out the missing puzzles as she's been making a picture of her own. So the workers have to try and fit the missing parts back in the jigsaws. Mr. Willmake and his secretary are getting ready to decorate and have covered the room with sheets -losing the telephone in the process. Mr Sprott is designing a painting machine which ends up causing havoc. However menawhile his clever assistant Tracy designs TOM (Talk operated machine), a robot who can do much more than painting. Bertha is given the task to make TOM, and then TOM features in every episode. The Windmills: Bertha is making musical money box windmills (which play the Bertha theme music), and TOM is cleaning. Flo's out shopping. Roy and Nell are eating sandwiches. Roy has an interesting combination of peanut butter and cornflakes. Roy and Nell put their money in the money box to listen to the music, but can't get their money back as there is no key. Mr Sprott forgot to include a way to get the money out when he designed it. Or did he? Always remember to read the instructions on the box! Mouse in the Works: There seems to be a problem with the Jack in the Box toys which Bertha is making, as the jacks keep jumping out - but what is causing the problem? It seems that there is a mouse in the works destroying the boxes, so Mr Sprott is told to design a mousetrap (an elaborate and humane design)! Meanwhile TOM is chasing a rather cute looking knitted mouse! This episode had me in stitches as the characters dawdle around wondering what to do, and Mr Duncan trying to catch the "wee mousie!" who disappears inside Bertha along with the mop. The Best Machine Competition: Betha is making garden gnomes. Panjit decides that if he had a gnome, he would need a turban, so he asks Bertha to make one (Bertha can do anything) - thus not doing 'real' work. Mr Duncan is in charge of the factory while the boss is away and has been watching the workers working and recording them - he thinks that everything is "all too slow". As a result he wants to close down Bertha as he thinks she is too old and too slow. The other workers are devastated and start a protest shouting "Bertha's Best!" He also cuts down tea breaks. However, when Mr Willmake returns Mr Duncan looks really stupid as he has lost his notes inside Bertha! Of course Bertha is the best machine! ---Summing up--- If you remember Bertha from your childhood then it's worth getting this if it only costs £3 or £4, and it might appeal to some young children today. However, if you have no idea what I'm talking about and who Bertha is, then I wouldn't bother! Also published on Ciao as marymoose99