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British TV series

    "The Ark Stories" by John Ryan


   
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The Ark Stories     (1981)
  
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producers: Trident TV / Yorkshire TV
    animation: animatic animation

      episodes: 10min episodes

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    "Remember now" said Mr Noah,
    "no animals may eat any other animals..."

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    John Ryan presents and illustrates his tales about Noah's Ark, just prior to and
    during the Great Flood. On board are Mr and Mrs Noah, Mr and Mrs Ham, Mr
    and Mrs Shem and, of course, a horde of animals - from dormice to spiders to
    elephants. Tales focus on young Jaffet and Jannet and their best friend a baby
    crocodile called Crockle who is, in reality, a stowaway but who proves himself 
    more-than seaworthy by saving the Ark from an early demise...

    The animals are a friendly co-habitable bunch, kept in line by Mr Noah's decree
    that no animals shall eat any other animal. That means a vegetarian diet for
    most, and "special tasty porridge for the fiercer animals". Although
    based on Biblical source material, Mr Ryan ensures that the stories avoid
    any theologising or browbeating, and indeed "God" doesn't even merit
    a name-check

      Mr Noah   Jaffet, Jannet and Crockle

    What a fascinating series this is. John Ryan, the master of "caption" animation
    (see Captain Pugwash, Sir Prancelot, Mary Mungo & Midge) steps out from
    behind the camera to present his stories, and draw for us too. With his greying
    hair and dapper cravat he actually reminds one of Tony Hart. Each episode we
    find him in his studio seated close to his drawing board, referring to a selection
    of toy animals he has accumulated to represent the animals in Noah's Ark.
    Then it's off to the drawing board to commence a sketch before we embark
    on another story.

    The animation is basic. Ryan's illustrations are filmed under a rostrum camera,
    but the panned and zoomed artwork is terrific, the stories very sweet and Mr Ryan
    is a most agreeable storyteller. That master-mimic Percy Edwards provides
    appropriate animal sounds and effects on the soundtrack - Percy was a regular
    feature of teatime tv throughout the seventies and early eighties. The production
    reminds one of Bleep And Booster and proves again that sometimes simple
    can be best...

       John Ryan at his drawing board   John Ryan draws Crockle

    "The Ark Stories" was actually an early production from Anne Wood, who has
    since brought the Teletubbies and whizzing-whirring Boohbah characters to
    life via Ragdoll Productions. "John Ryan's Ark Stories" were first published by
    Beaver Books in 1979, and at the conclusion of each broadcast our famous
    storyteller is always to be seen holding a copy of the book from which he's
    been reading.
   
    Do keep your eye on Mr Ryan's drawing board. If you look closely you'll see
    that each sketch has been pre-drawn in soft pencil prior to his arrival!

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   'The Weather Forecast' by John Ryan

    John Ryan's Ark Stories

   All Aboard                  Crockle Saves The Ark
   Roll Call On The Ark     The Weather Forecast 
   Crockle Tales A Swim   The Haunted Ark 

   Mr Noah's Birthday
   
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     created, drawn and presented by John Ryan

     director:          Paddy Russell
     producer:        Anne Wood
     exec prod:       Joy Whitby
     designer:         Agnes Hall
     music:             Robert Hartley
     film dubbing:    Alan Bedward
     film editor:       Pam Haswell
     rostrum cam:   John Mardsen, Mike Gates
      told by:            John Ryan
                            Percy Edwards (animal sounds)


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©  John Ryan / Yorkshire TV / F2010