Humphrey B. Bear is an Australian children's television series and its fictional character namesake is an icon of Australian children's television. Humphrey B Bear was first broadcast on Adelaide's NWS-9 on Monday, 24 May, 1965. In the early days the character was known as Bear Bear and was named Humphrey B Bear as the result of an on air competition. The show became one of the most successful programs for pre-schoolers in Australia.
The character of Humphrey is a tall, shaggy brown bear with a large plastic nose, straw boater, tartan waist-coat and over-sized yellow bow-tie. His television show always features a companion who assists and narrates Humphrey's various adventures in the "magic forest" including his brightly coloured tree house. The show is shot on television studio set.
Each episode of Humphrey is designed to entertain and educate its audience as they join in the fun with the character of Humphrey B. Bear. Humphrey enjoys exploring and pretending. He likes playing, singing, dancing and being with his friends. The writers of Humphrey attempt to set up each show as a new adventure for Humphrey that parallels the needs, fears and fun of the average four year old child. The character of Humphrey Bear explores life as they do, trying to reinforce their self esteem and showing them it's all right to make mistakes (after all everyone does). The series attempts to show that it is not always necessary to be the best at everything, but that it's more important to simply take part.
Humphrey still appears on Australian television during the Summer hiatus of Mornings With Kerri Anne, and is a standard aspect of Australian culture.
On 14 February 2007 it was reported that the Nine Network would record a new Here's Humphrey series for the first time since 2003.
Typical complaints about the Humphrey character include the character failing to wear pants and the fact that he is mute. The latter has drawn the most serious criticism, mainly relating to concerns children may be negatively affected by a role model that does not communicate properly.
Over the years (presumably to fend off criticism that the show does not teach children a great deal) more educational content has been injected, but some still counter that this is still at best superficial. The combination of muteness and lack of educational content has caused at least one character to disappear from Australian network television (namely Fat Cat, from Fat Cat and Friends), which clearly has been a guiding factor in the recent development of the show.
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