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Rex the Runt

All you'll ever
need to know!

The Premise
Four plasticine dogs have exotic and exciting adventures, firstly for The Man Who Runs Television, and then just off their own bat to make their lives a little less dull. All of them are fully aware of their plasticine nature and seem able to cope with maimings, crushings and other unpleasantness with no ill effects.

Background
Aardman Animations, feeling the need to do something a little different after their incredible success with Wallace and Gromit, decided to run with an idea from Richard Golezewski, Golly for short. Of course, Aardman had been going strong since creating Morph for Tony Hart's art shows, moving on to Creature Comforts and related Heat Electric ads before hitting the big time. Rex the Runt was a chance to do something a little more outlandish, and it certainly created a stir when it premiered in BBC2's Christmas schedules of 1998. Adults whose children tuned in found it wasn't quite the sweet and innocent kids' show they believed it would be.

First Run
The first series began on 21st December 1998 and ran daily through the Christmas period.

Number of Episodes
So far 26 across two series, but more are planned. Each episode lasts about eight to nine minutes.

The Good Guys
Rex (voiced by Andrew Franks, then Colin Rote for series two), the leader of the group because no one else wants the job. Can be rather world-weary. Wendy (Elizabeth Hadley), a go-getter of a dog who isn't overly enthused about living with a bunch of unhygienic blokes. Bad Bob (Kevin Wrench, now Andy Jeffers), chubby and with an eyepatch but friendly and not really as bad as his name suggests. And finally Vince (Steve Box), a toothy, slightly strange dog with a penchant for Tuesday and jam. Usually converses in single words.

The Bad Guys
No one is really all bad in Rex the Runt, although Dr Dogg, the gang's medical practitioner who won't do anything for more or less than 10 quid, can be a little creepy at times.

And Isn't That…
Paul Merton voices Dr Dogg. The show has also featured guest turns from comedians Arthur Smith, Eddie Izzard, Graham Norton, Morwenna Banks, Kathy Burke, Phill Jupitus and Simon Day among others, such as TV luminaries Jonathan Ross, Loyd Grossman and Bob Holness.

Overdone Clichés
Bad Bob's food addiction can become a poor plotting point sometimes, as can Wendy getting all grumpy with the boys. Not really cliché-ridden, though.

Fashion Statements
Nothing. In the main the characters are clothes-free. Or so it appears.

From Cult Times #75

Rex the Runt: Bob, Rex, Wendy & Vince. Yowser.
 
Jam

Holiday in Vince
A freaky journey into Vince's warped psyche. The model for many episodes to come.

Under the Duvet
Rex and pals visit Auntie Brenda to find out all about love while Vince, left at home, discovers it in his own special way.

Patio
Rex and company take on a group of psychotic Welsh ants unhappy about patio slabs being dropped on them.

Holiday in Vince
 
Cobblers

Johnny Saveloy's Undoing is a bit of a dodgy entry into series one, and The City Shrinkers is rather a one-joke tale. Series two somehow never hits the humour level of the original 13 outings, though, possibly because of Golly's lesser involvement.

 
 
 
 

BBC2 LogoRex the Runt
Sundays, 11.25
& 23.25

Official site (Aardman)

 
 

It's Paul Spragg, everybody!

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Photos © Aardman Animation

Feature © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction.