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British TV series
 

        Merlin the Magical Puppy

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Merlin the
  Magical Puppy      
  (2001)

  
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    producers: Little Entertainment Company
                      for Entertainment Rights
   animation: stop-motion animation

     episodes: 26 x 10mins

 

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    "Merlin the Magical Puppy,
     He's the puppy for you..."

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    Merlin the little black Labrador puppy lives with Ernie the Harbour Master
    in Sandy Bay Harbour. Merlin's a mischievous doggy, always on the hunt for
    sausages and prone to digging up gardens, so Ernie decides to get him a
    collar. But he doesn't get him a regular, everyday collar, oh no. Merlin's
    red collar is accrued from an antique shop, and purports to have been the
    selfsame collar procured by Merlin the Magician, for his own little dog
    who kept wandering off. Which means it's a magic collar, and the dog
    that wears it and utters the magic word can be instantly transported
    away - anywhere you please. And that means, rather than reining his
    the puppy in, Ernie's given the chap freedom to roam!

    Merlin regularly encounters prim Miss Parkway, and her cute golden
    Labrador Kizzie, whom Merlin rather fancies. Mr Pickles and Mr Crabtree
    provide the comic relief around town, and Mrs Crabtree and their
    enthusiastic young niece Charlotte regularly join in the fun. Merlin's
    animal pals include the worldly-wise seagull, Gull, and Reg the Hedge,
    the hedgehog. But stalking the same streets is Oscar the irascible
    ginger tomcat, who's always out to spoil the fun...

     Ernie considers the collar...

    What a treat this is. The first stop-motion series from Keith Littler and his
    Little Entertainment Company has some lovely puppets, great sets and super
    subtle jokes and japes. Merlin gets up to all kinds of mischief in and
    around Sandy Bay. And the great thing is, although he knows his collar
    is magical, he doesn't understand how it works. He'll try chasing his tail,
    or waggling his ears and repeating his request, over and over - anything
    he can until he's exhausted himself. Whereupon he'll wish aloud, out of
    frustration, without realising that's all he has to do!

    When ever Merlin's wish is granted the collar sparkles and flashes.

    It transports Merlin and his pals to a Winter Wonderland, a Wild West
    film set, on picnics and explorations. But he's still such a naive young
    pup, things never quite go as he planned.

    Merlin roams and wags and yaps so much like a real young pup, and Martin
    Clunes gives him the perfect breathless puppy voice - a lovely blend of
    enthusiasm, and puppy frustration. The narration reveals the inner workings
    of his puppy mind too - anyone who has a young dog will recognise the
    thought processes!

    
» Martin Clunes is rather fond of puppy dogs...

    
» Keith Littler and company went on to bring us Stan and his pal,
        Little Red Tractor...

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    Albert

    That Magical collar

    In the very first episode "The Lost Bone" we learn exactly how Merlin
    got his magic collar. After bone-hunting Merlin digs up Miss Parkway's
    garden, and outrages the Sandy Bay residents, they bring pressure to
    bear on Ernie. He pays a visit to a curio store, where Albert the proprietor
    hands him a certain red collar:

    "According to legend, this very collar was made by Merlin the
     Magician in the court of King Arthur. He made it for his own
     puppy. It's supposed to be... magic."


    And he goes on:

     "You see, his puppy used to wander off and get lost all
      the time, so Merlin gave the puppy this magic collar so
      that he could wish his way home again..."

    Well, the first thing our modern day Merlin does
is to return to Ms Pathway's
    garden to hunt for his bone. Then he pays Oscar an invisible visit, and taunts
    him with his own fish dinner. And then, why, all sorts of magical
    adventures beckon!...

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    Magical detail

    
» Take a look at that harbour. Every time there's an establishing shot
        you'll spy a gaggle of tiny coloured critters moving about the beach
        and the boats - hermitcrabs and suchlike..
   
    
» We don't meet Kizzie until episode two "Merlin on Ice". It's also the
        first episode in which Mr Pickles and Mr Crabtree are named...

   
» Charlotte first appears in episode four "Merlin's Movie Magic" .
        That's when we also learn that Mr Crabtree's first name is Stanley...

     
» In the episode "King of the Castle", Merlin wishes himself King and
        wants only to spend his days listening to his royal bark, echoing
        through the castle. But alas, he has to thwart a threat from King Fido
        the Fiercesome from the kingdom next door. The scoundrel wants all
        of Merlin's sausages and his big orange ball, by teatime. Or else..

    
» And in "Captain Merlin" we learn that Ernie's boat is called..
      er-hum.. The Salty Sea Dog
.. apparently...


    
» In "Twin Merlin", our pup wishes for an identical twin of himself.
        And he gets one. He's called Max. This is also the episode in
        which we get to hear Merlin's favourite joke:

      Why do people who play golf always take
      an extra shoe with them?

      In case they get a hole in one!


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    Magical episodes

    The Lost Bone
                        Merlin and the Ghost
    Merlin on Ice                          Pavadoggi
   
Merlin and the Summer Fair       Merlin the Artist
   
Merlin's Movie Magic                Merlin and the Big Top
    Merlin and the Picnic
                
Merlin and the Island of Sausages
    King of the Castle
                   The Well Behaved Puppy
    Captain Merlin
                        Merlin Goes Camping
    Merlin and the Magic Show
       Merlin the Chef               
    Inspector Merlin
                      Merlin and the Hot Air Balloon
    
Twin Merlin                            Merlin in Space
   
 Secret Agent Merlin                 Desert Island Dog
   
Merlin the Explorer                  Merlin the Decorator
    
Merlin and the Gold Medal         Merlin and the Wizard
            

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Merlin on DVD


     UK DVD

     Vol 1 - Merlin the Magical Puppy

     Region 2 / 5 episodes / 4 Front / May 2004


     Vol 2 - King Of The Castle

     Region 2 / 5 episodes / 4 Front / August 2004


     Vol 3 - Merlin's Snowy Tails
     
Region 2 / 5 episodes / 4 Front / November 2004


    
Merlin the Magical Puppy - Triple Set
     Region 2 box set /  Voumes 1 - 3 / 4 Front / April 2005

    
Vol 4 - Merlin Goes Camping
     Region 2 / 5 episodes / 4 Front / March 2005

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      The Little Entertainment Company
      for Entertainment Rights

     producer:                Keith Littler
     exec prods:             Jane Smith, Allison Williams
     writer:                    Keith Littler
     merlin theme
      composed by:
          Michael Cross, Stan Cullimore,
                             
      Keith Littler
     performed by:          Martin Clunes
     incidental music:      Michael Cross
     dir of animation:       Russell Haigh
     animators:               Dave Scanlon, Laurie Sitzia
     asst anim:                Katy Maxwell
     puppets
      & machines:
             Roger Tarry, Richard Modlen,
                                    Kieron Thomas, Chloe Downs,
                                    Jo Emberson, Martin Adamson
     set design
      & construction:
        Rupert Lampard
     costume design
      & props:
                  Louise Benton
     design:                    Valerie Chandler, Phil Littler
     storyboards:            Vincent James
     d.o.p:                      Colin Holloway
     camera:                   Mark Pullon
     stills photography:   James Lampard
     prod accountant:      Malcolm Sage
     assistant:                Nikki Brisland
     project manager:     Tony Church
     asst to the prod:       Ellen Collins
     prod assistants:       Samantha Hawkes
                                    Karina Stanford-Smith
     prod runners:           Susan Garrett, Sam Stevens
     audio post-prod:      Jon Fox, Ruth Matthews
     editor:                     Fred Tay
     voices:                    Martin Clunes
                                   (Merlin)
                                    Dawn French

                                   (Kizzie/Miss Parkway/Charlotte)
                                   Rob Rackstraw
                                   (Narrator/Ernie/Oscar/Gull etc)


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     On the web

 
      Merlin the Magical Puppy
      The official site, with games and info for fans ...

      The Little Entertainment Group
      Keith Littler's production company...


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