All of our readers, no matter how stupid you are, no doubt have some TV show you held with reverence as a child. Know its name? Great! The difference here is this is one show you don’t know the name of. Yet you want to hunt it down for nostalgia’s sake to rekindle some remnant of your youthful self! This is The Dreamstone for us. And we just rediscovered it.
Okay, picture the scene. It’s the early 1990s. Our esteemed editor, Mr. Wapojif, is not even 10 years of age yet. He attends a primary school in Lancashire. After school, he returns home to (like any healthy individual) stare at the television for escapism and creative enlightenment.
Oh, there were loads of shows back then. Garfield and Friends, Art Attack, The Animals of Farthing Wood, Round the Twist, Raggy Dolls, Bananaman, Bodger and Badger, Knightmare… you get the idea. We remember all those names, you see? Never had any problem with that lot!
But The Dreamstone? That one mysterious TV show with the unbelievably elongated intro (that plays for every episode) just didn’t slot into place. This year (2018) in particular we’ve hunted around for it to no avail. We were getting desperate – weeping ourselves to sleep! And then…
The recognition was immediate. Over a decade of searching around and wracking our brains, but one Instagram post later and we were in the know. It was kind of a fuzzy recollection – Mr. Wapojif knew of the fuzzy green bear creature riding on a magic carpet at the start of the episodes. But what was the goddamn name!?
So, many excellent thank yous to that Instagram channel right there. Hey, they did a post as well – Forgotten Classics That We Used To Watch.
After this discovery, we did some research and found there were four series that ran between 1990 and 1995. Mike Jupp was behind the concept and artwork (here’s an Artist’s Interview with him from 2016). The show’s trip into reality went as follows:
"I was commissioned as the Art Director, character designer, and storyboard artist on a couple of Dutch TV series . That resulted in me being sent to California where I had the good luck to work for Jerry Smith, the owner of The Mill Valley Animation Studio’. His great friend was George (Star Wars) Lucas. As luck would have it I’d taken the designs for my own TV series with me. To cut a long story short, Lucas was impressed and that resulted in ‘The Dreamstone’ being commissioned by ITV. It went on to broadcast 52 half hour episodes, making it Britain’s longest ever cartoon series."
So, this is an American whose concept went on to have a primtime spot over here in the UK. There was a promo in 1985, funnily enough, you can see below. This was before the idea was finalised.
This clip features a 12 year old Christian Bale, shortly before the young actor got his star making turn as Jim in Empire of the Sun. But for us, no war got in the way of afternoon viewings of this series.
A very happy childhood memory indeed, for which we thank Mr. Jupp immeasurably. May death come quickly to his enemies (that’s a Futurama reference – Morbo)!