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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Bob the Builder-Skateboard Spud (2003)

Bob the Builder-Skateboard Spud (2003)

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Released 2-May-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Childrens Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 50:15
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Nick Herbert
Sarah Ball
Liz Whitaker

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Neil Morrissey
Kate Harbour
Rob Rackstraw
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Nick Herber
Sarah Ball
Liz Whitaker

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Starting in 1999, this popular BBC series has taken the world by storm over the last 4 years. The key to this series is the great camaraderie of  the main characters, who seem to interact with each other in a fun and  friendly way that can be admired and emulated (unlike something such as The Power Rangers) by the viewer. Here in this colourful world can be found a range of characters and personalities that would mirror our own. We have the hyper extrovert in Dizzy the Cement Mixer, the laid back and super calm Roley the Roller, the continuously nervous Lofty the Crane, the enthusiastic Scoop the Excavator, and Muck the Earth Mover. Also along for the ride are the mischievous Spud the Scarecrow, his partner Travis the Tractor, Pilchard the Cat, Bird and last but certainly not least Bob the Builder (voiced by Neil Morrissey of Men Behaving Badly fame) and his work partner Wendy. Together, it's all for one and fun for all as the gang continue on their never-ending quest to fix it all!

    This first DVD release presents us with a new set of adventures from the gang, so we aren't starting from the beginning of the series. Here's what's going on in this collection:

1. SkateBoard Spud   :  10:03   Written by Ross Hastings
Directed by Nick Herbert

    Travis and Spud are taking a load of rubbish to the recycling bins. As they are trying to figure out what bins each piece of garbage goes into, Spud spies some discarded things that he can make into a skateboard which would make him the 'fastest scarecrow in the world'!  Although Travis has his reservations about Spud being a 'skateboard expert', Spud won't be deterred and he goes about making his skateboard. Meanwhile, Bob has been commissioned by the city council to construct a traffic speed control device in the main street. That way, people will slow down and the streets will be safer. The trouble is, Spud is just about to take his new skateboard on a test run, and he doesn't know that Bob is working on the speed hump...right in his path!

2. Scruffty's Big Dig   : 10:03   Written by Diane Redmond
Directed by Nick Herbert

    Dogs love to dig, and Scruffty is no exception. But as Farmer Pickles has work to do, Scruffty has to make his own fun for the day, and after chasing some rabbits around the farm, he finds himself in trouble after falling down into a rabbit burrow. Scruffty's dug himself into a spot of bother, and it falls to Muck to get him out. But poor Muck, thinking that Scruffty's howls for help are in fact a ghost, runs back to Bob and Wendy who are fixing a wall for Mrs. Broadbent. With Bob in tow, they soon realize that there are no ghosts at all, and it's just poor Scruffty stuck in the rabbit hole. Muck must use his superior digging ability to save Scruffty!

3. Cock-A-Doodle Spud   :  10:03   Written by Diane Redmond
Directed by Sarah Ball

    Continual joker Spud can be attributed with many qualities, but is motherhood one of them? Farmer Pickles has hired Bob to make a new chicken coop for him. One of his hens is about to lay her eggs, and Farmer Pickles wants to have a good place for her to keep them safe and warm. But while on a walk with Scruffty, the farmer discovers that the hen couldn't wait and she has already laid her eggs in a nest in the field. Once back to the farm with the eggs, it's up to Muck to keep them safe while Bob finishes the coop. But Spud, wanting to keep the eggs warm as well, has taken Farmer Pickles' feather doona for a place on which to place the eggs. But in typical Spud style, he trips over the doona, ripping it apart and covering himself in feathers. Just then, one of the eggs hatches, and seeing Spud covered with feathers, immediately thinks that he's its mother. Spud will have to put all his tricks and jokes aside to keep the little chick safe and warm until the mother hen returns. But will Spud want to give up his new-found little friend when she does comes back?

4. Wendy's Surprise Party   :  10:03   Written by Ruth Estevez
Directed by Liz Whitaker

    Wendy's sister Jenny is coming to town to visit, and Wendy has planned a surprise party for her. To make her party the best ever, Wendy and Dizzy go to work making a new outdoor barbecue to cook the food for the party. Meanwhile, Bob and the rest of the crew are hard at work at local rock superstar Lenny Lazenby's house building him a new circular driveway. The gang are always excited to work at Lenny's house, but as he's out on tour with his band The Lazers, it's all work and no play as the crew work to get the driveway done in time. Having finished the barbecue, Wendy and Dizzy start to hand out invitations to all their friends in the town, and Wendy has saved the most special invites for last. But by the time the crew has gone back to the yard, having finished the driveway at the Lazenby Mansion, they are almost ready for bed after such a hard day at work. When Bob makes a solo appearance at the party without his famous crew, Jenny is disappointed. But after a little persuasion by Jenny, Bob and Wendy agree to take her to the yard to meet the crew.

5. Muck's Monster   :   10:03   Written by Ben Randall
Directed by Nick Herbert

    Bob has had a very hard night, laying linoleum at an office so as not to disturb the normal working times of the workers. This leads Bob to come home from work in the morning, the time that he would usually go to work. Thankfully, Wendy is on deck and has Muck and Dizzy organized to help clean a blocked stormwater drain in town. This frees up Bob to catch up on the sleep he missed out during the night. With Bob out like a light and Wendy, Muck and Dizzy on a job, the rest of the crew are left at the yard with nothing to do. This doesn't last long though, as Spud comes calling. He's just had a great time beating Farmer Pickles at a game of checkers, and now he's on the lookout for some more fun. He challenges Lofty to a game, but as he (and the rest of the machines) are too big to move the pieces on the board, the gang have to come up with a bigger board. Some left over linoleum, some witches hats and a few spare tyres come in handy and now the crew have the biggest checker board in town!  Meanwhile, Wendy, Muck and Dizzy are hard at work trying to clean the blocked drain in town. As hard as they try, they can't seem to clear it up. And to make matters worse, the drain makes a horrible gurgling noise, and Dizzy has Muck convinced that there is a monster in the drain!  Poor Muck is terrified, but they'll all have to work hard to clean the drain out, no matter what it takes!

    This is a wonderful show. Each episode is short, just 10 minutes in length, so littlies with short attention spans don't have time to get bored. Still, in that short time, there is plenty of time for fun, laughs and adventure as Bob and the gang go about their work. Believe it or not, this show has great repeatability and children can enjoy these episodes many times. As a parent of a toddler, I know how tedious some children's programming can be over 5000 viewings. Thankfully, Bob is one that I still can watch with my boy over and over again and still enjoy it with him. For those who have a need for quality children's programming, you need look no further than here. Hopefully this will be the start of a range of Bob the Builder packages made available here. Long overdue, in my opinion, but it's good to finally get it. Go on, get out there and pick this one up. Great entertainment value for the little ones.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    We get a reasonably good video transfer with this program.

    This program is presented in its original full frame (1.33:1) aspect ratio as the intended audience are children watching free to air television. Of course, there is no 16x9 enhancement to be seen here.

    Sharpness of image here is very good with a quite clean and clear picture available throughout the entire program. This show is created with the classic stop motion technique, so the action is a bit jerky much of the time, but this soon becomes unnoticeable and far from a distraction. Many of the episodes take place in well lit locations, so shadow detail doesn't really have a chance to go wrong on this disc, but what darker areas are there are well done with the appropriate level of detail available. Low level noise wasn't a problem with this disc.

    Colour use with this show does stray from the natural, but then, this is a fantasy world created for children. The use of bright, solid colours is quite appropriate for the material and really attracts the eye of the young ones. Colour's portrayal on this disc is quite good with a nice level of colour brightness throughout. The colour is just slightly more subdued than that seen in the VHS versions of this program, but then we don't have all the colour bleeding and chroma noise issues that plague the Very Hazy System.

    The quality of compression here is very good, with an average bitrate of 7.78 mbps over the entire program. Because of the shortness of the material, we don't have a great need for a second layer and at 50 minutes total running time, the data has plenty of room to breathe. This material could have been MPEG artefacted to death and the little ones would still watch with glee. Thankfully, we don't have to endure this. Interlacing seems to be the major issue with this show. We get the ghost of the next frame mixed with the current frame, but this is really only seen if looked for and is not a terrible drama in terms of the quality of this disc. The print used to transfer this to disc is quite clean and I can't remember seeing any nicks or flecks during the show.

    This show features an English subtitle stream, and I sampled this from time to time. Even though the dialogue is fairly basic, the subtitles can be even more so, but they are still very close to the regular dialogue and quite good.

    This disc is single layered, and as such there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio here is reasonable, but not of any sort of reference quality.

    There is only one audio option available on this disc, that being a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded mix. It's unfortunate that there weren't any other languages offered for those little ones whose first language isn't English, but then this might be the perfect show for just such persons to watch while they are learning English.

    The dialogue quality during the programme is good with the spoken word quite understandable throughout the show, despite the various funny voices and accents. Understandability is not a problem here. Audio sync is a harder one to pick. As this show is animated, we aren't going to get any sort of perfect dialogue sync, but as far as I could tell, the sync was quite good with no issues of note.

    Music for the show comes from Paul K. Joyce, whose light body of work is of fairly recent vintage. That said, the music for this show is totally appropriate and suits each episode and scene very well. One couldn't possibly imagine this show with any other kind of music and what we do have works very well.

    Even though this disc is surround encoded, there isn't much available in terms of surround activity. What little we do have is of a totally atmospheric nature. I was able to get a bit more of the music soundtrack out of the rears (particularly the guitar) using the Neo:6 option on my receiver, and you might get a similar effect out of Pro Logic II, but otherwise there isn't all that much there.

    The subwoofer didn't get all that much work with this disc, and about the only time that I really heard the subwoofer was during some of the musical passages.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     We get no extras here on this disc, much to the disappointment of my son (and myself). I was hoping that we might get the video of the Bob the Builder song 'Can We Fix It!', but alas, this is one of those bare bones discs with nothing on board other than the original program.


     The menu is fairly basic. After the distributor's logos, we are taken to a short compilation of scenes from other shows in the ABC Children's Program line-up. After this, copyright warnings and then on to the Main Menu. This is a simple affair with a brief animated introduction from Dizzy and Bob, then we get a listing of the episodes in the collection. These can be played in succession or selected individually from the Main Menu. Also available at the bottom of the Main Menu is a Subtitles On / Off option.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    At this time, this package of Bob the Builder hasn't been released in Region 1. There have been 8 previous releases of Bob the Builder programs in Region 1, but all of these have been dubbed into 'American', which would automatically make our version the preferred choice. While I have heard the dubbed voices before, to take away the original voices is criminal and destroys the care and attention to detail that goes into each episode from all those involved in voicing the characters. With this in mind, Region 4 is the clear winner.


    This is a great show that will stand the test of time. Making this show doubly good is the accessibility of the program to its intended audience. Here is a show that children of (almost) all ages can sit down and enjoy. With this now available on DVD, the fun can now go on and on. Go out and get it...and enjoy.

    The video is fairly good with an image free of MPEG artifacts and other common video nasties.

    The audio is good, but lacks a real degree of surround sound. DSP programs might be able to help you get something good out of your rear speakers, but without using some fancy processing, basic atmospheric surround is all that is available.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Monday, July 14, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD RP-82 with DVD-Audio on board, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko TRW 325 / 32 SFT 10 76cm (32") 16x9. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RX-V2300 Dolby Digital and dts.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2300 110w X 6 connected via optical cable and shielded RCA (gold plated) connects for DVD-Audio
SpeakersVAF DC-X Fronts, VAF DC-6 Center, VAF DC-2 Rears, VAF LFE-07 Sub (Dual Amp. 80w x 2)

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