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Thursday, 30 July, 1998, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Reigning cat and dog
Custard
The arch cynic: Custard takes centre stage
They're back! Roobarb and Custard - Britain's answer to Tom and Jerry - are returning to television.

Recall, if you will, the bouncing, scuzzy guitar theme tune, the wobbly animation and Richard Briers's impassioned narration.

It's been more than 20 years since the cartoon couple first found fame, on BBC children's television. Since then they have assumed a cult following.

For those too young to remember, the series is based on the age-old rivalry that exists between cats and dogs.

Roobarb is a frantic romantic - a nervous, acid-green hound who is constantly trying to better himself in the face of adversity.

Looking down on him is next door's lurid pink cat, Custard.

A slothful, jaded creature, Custard can usually be found perched out of the way, observing Roobarb's eager antics with an air of cynicism and disdain.

The rivalry led the show's director, Bob Godfrey, to draw parallels with the television comedy series, Hancock's Half Hour.

"It has a basic triangular structure. Roobarb is the Hancock figure, a kind of holy fool," he says of writer Grange Calverley's characters.

"Then there is the Sid James character, an odious pink cat, and on the fence sit the lunatic birds, who will always go with whoever is winning."

Roobarb
Master of disguise: Roobarb up to his old tricks
It's a little-known fact that Godfrey's trademark wobbly animation style was born of necessity.

When the series was finally commissioned - after a year of pitching for it - Bob Godfrey's Movie Emporium was granted only a small loan. Undaunted, Godfrey made the most of his resources by using Magic Markers and paper, rather than acetate, for his drawings.

Now 77 and still working, Godfrey is pleased to see the series back on British TV. "It's got a timeless quality which means it will appeal to young people as much today as when it was first shown," he says.


Roobarb and Custard begins on Channel 5 at 9am on Sunday, August 2.
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