knock about

Brum (TV series)

Brum {pronounced Br-u-m} is the name of a children's TV programme about the adventures of a car of the same name. It is produced by Ragdoll Productions for HIT Entertainment and was first broadcast in 1991. It is directed and written by Tom Poole, and is produced by Anne Wood. It was initially narrated by Toyah Willcox. However, the recent series was narrated by Tom Wright.

The series

Brum has been written by a range of writers over the years. The last two series were written by the Ragdoll Team which included Alan Dapre and Holly Elson. There were also episodes by Alan Dapre, writer and originator on Boohbah, Steve Dorrance and Will Miller.

The title character is a half-scale replica of a late-1920s Austin 7 "Chummy" convertible. He drives by himself (in reality by radio control) and can express himself in a number of ways including opening and closing his doors and bonnet, "bobbing" his suspension, flashing and swivelling his headlamps and using his horn.

The actors in Brum do not speak; pantomime and off-screen narration help propel the story. For this reason, it has been remarkably easy to prepare episodes for airing in other countries, and, indeed, Brum has been broadcast in many parts of the world and in many languages, including Italian, Dutch, Hebrew, Croatian, Arabic, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish.

Each episode of Brum begins with the car starting its day in a garage, then sneaking out to visit the "Big Town", where it finds adventures. The opening sequence was filmed at the Cotswold Motoring Museum in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, England. The model car used in filming is kept on display there when not in use.

Originally the programme was set in the city of Birmingham in England, hence the name: in addition to its onomatopoeic nature of a car engine revving, Brum is a common colloquial name for Birmingham and its inhabitants are known as Brummies. Recent series have undergone a change of format and make no specific mention of Birmingham, calling it the "Big Town", but Brum is still filmed there and many Birmingham streets and landmarks can be seen in each episode, including Aston University.

The show's original title theme and music were composed by Daniel Jones up until the second series in 1994. The incidental music for the most recent series (but not that of the end credits) is consistently scored for piano, bass guitar, drums and saxophone ensemble, although it varies stylistically from big-band swing to disco, classical, reggae, and music-hall styles. This consistency of sound gives a very convincing and appropriate sense of a small pit orchestra or circus band, and is very much part of the series.

Brum was designed and built by Rex Garrod, and a very early prototype of Brum can be found in Rex's own series, Secret Life of Machines, dated about 1989.

Brum now is followed by a huge fanbase, the most famous of which is Tom Ronan who led the first Brum convention in 1999. The cult now has many followers including Max Baker, deputy chairman.

Opening sequence

During the once Toyah Wilcox narration,later to become the Tom Wright narration, the Brum opening sequence shows Brum in the museum first. You hear the door opening and the museum owner comes in. He turns the lights on first, then the music. Brum starts as the owner is leaving, he looks around and drives in between the other cars and out the back door when the owner turns his back, he goes over a bridge and is seen driving over fields towards the city on the horizon. Later, the museum owner was shown with Brum. He turned on the lights and Brum sneaks out. He went past some geese, around a statue and up some stairs.

In the ending sequence, brum sneaks back into the museum by the same route and returns to his spot without the museum owner knowing he's gone, except there is always some object that has fallen onto his seat during his adventures, which the owner picks up and looks puzzled about before turning out the lights.

Narration Process

It is interesting to note the recording process which took place when recording the narration for Brum. As the recent series was narrated by young actor Tom Wright, the producers felt it necessary to actually record his voice at his own residence in Birmingham, England. The reason was said to be, Mr Wright's voice sounded more 'At home' and relaxed in surroundings in which he was famillar.


  • Granny Slippers (Linda Kerr Scott) — She wears slippers wherever she goes.
  • Mr Brillo (Rob Thirtle) — He loves gnomes. He lives next door to Granny Slippers and has currently been seen wearing a colourful waistcoat, black circle glasses, a tie and blue shirt. His favourite picture is the Gnoma Lisa. He has loads of gnomes in his garden.
  • Scruffy - Brum's friend, a dog who loves burying things.
  • Big Town Manager (John Woodford) — the manager of the Big Town.
  • Mrs Posh (Iona Kennedy/Carole Davies) - A posh lady who lives in the Big Town.
  • Traffic Policeman (Mark Powlett) - A 'knock-about' policeman. He owns a horse called Arrow.
  • Gorgeous Gordon (Enoch White) - A self-centered, full of himself hairdresser.
  • Bob & Job (Kevin McGreevy & Vince Williams) — The two comically clumsy men who wear the Big Town council logo overall and help the Big Town in a slapstick way.


  • Brum and the Airport (with Johnnie Fiori as The Celebrity)
  • Brum and the Naughty Dog (with Geraldine McNulty as Scruffy's Owner)
  • Brum and the Pizzeria (with Brian Morbury as Giovanni)
  • Brum and the Gymnast (with Hannah Chaplin as The Gymnast)
  • Brum and the King of Thieves (with Dawn Morris as The Teacher)
  • Brum and the Crazy Chair Chase (with Enoch White as Gorgeous Gordon)
  • Brum and the Bank Robbers (with John Woodford as Bank Manager)
  • Brum and the Mischievous Mouse (with Iesha Green as The Girl)
  • Brum and the Cream Balloon (with Iona Kennedy as Mrs Posh)
  • Brum and the Paint Pandemonium (with Yemi Adnele as The Street Artist)
  • Brum and the Golden Loo (with Norma Cohen as Mrs Bank Manager)
  • Brum and the Snow Thieves (with Brian Ferryman as Mr Posh)
  • Brum and the Skateboarding Bride (with Squirrel as The Bride)
  • Brum and the Rampant Robot (with Tom Harman as Mr Slick)

External links

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