Thursday 20 October 2011

The Bopps!

The Bopps are back with a second series on Nick Jr! The Bopps duo are Stan Cullimore (founding member of 80s British pop group The Housemartins)and Keith Littler (producer of hit UK kids shows such as Merlin and Little Red Tractor). Each episode begins with a slapstick comedy sketch usually featuring Stan Bopp playing a trick on poor Keith Bopp. Expect squirrel costumes, invisible bikes and even a magic remote control that changes people’s clothes! The Bopps then go on to perform one of their catchy songs, which will bring out a love for music in pre-schoolers.... Hungry Squirrel, Dizzy the Dragon and The Holiday Song are among the favourites!

I was given the fantasic opportunity to ask Stan Bopp and Keith Bopp some questions, Here's what they had to say....

What Inspired you to start the Bopps?

(SB) Well, while Keith Bopp (KB) isn’t here – I’ll tell you the truth... It was all my idea – don’t listen to any strange, bizarre and probably untrue things that KB will say. It was ALL MY  IDEA... ahh. Oh no, he’s coming back . Sssh. Don’t tell him I said that.

(KB) It was all Stan Bopp’s idea….it says on this cheap hand written poster. The true answer is that we chatted for a couple of years about working together and then we finally decided to make an online series about music…which  Stan Bopp then  accidentally sold to Nickelodoen over a lunch (not sure any food was involved if you get my drift)

I love the songs you do in the show, I think music and songs really help children with learning, did you sing to your children to encourage learning?

(SB) Yes all the time. And now I sing to my grandkids. I totally agree that it helps them learn. My 20 month old granddaughter loves “heads, shoulders, knees and toes” and dancing along to our songs when we come on the telly.

(KB) When my son was very young I wrote songs for all of the banal things we did…cleaning teeth, bedtime, getting dressed (that’s where the Vest and Pants song came from). Now he’s seven…just tonight when I told him it was time for bed he sang back, “I’m not sleepy, I’m not sleepy!”

Both my little ones and I love the bright stripy outfits you wear as the Bopps. My son’s favourite colour is Red so he loves Keith Bopp! Did you argue over who got to be red and who got to be blue?

(SB) No – we never argue (do we KB? Oh hang on. I think he’s still sulking because of my first answer above.. I was only joking KB) Anyhow, I’m glad your son loves the red outfit. I think most of our audience seem to prefer KB to me. I even saw a petition in the office the other day – asking me to stop picking on KB and to leave the show...  I was very upset for a bit, but then I realised that it was all done in KB’s handwriting .. so I calmed down a bit.

(KB) We have a superb team at Nickelodeon who do all the real work…a lovely lady called Johanna designed the colour palette based on our original ideas (series 1)…only her ideas were better and her crayons were sharper than ours. Can’t remember why Stan got blue except he barged in front of me during the fitting screaming “I have to be blue! Blue is soooo me”

Do you have children of your own and do they watch the show? What do they think?

(SB) I am lucky enough to have four kids (2 girls, 2 boys – which seems fair) They’re all grown up now – and my daughters have presented my wife and I with four fantastic grandkids ( 3 girls, 1 boy – which still seems pretty fair). My grandkids love watching the show but they do get a bit confused about whether I’m Granddad or Stan Bopp.

(KB) Stan Bopp’s family account for 98% of our ratings. My son loves The Bopps and has appeared a couple of  times (he is dancing with the children during the song element and has red hair). Plus I ran many songs by him when we were composing them

They say never work with children or animals, Have you had any unplanned funny moments while filming?

(SB) They probably should have said; never work with children, animals or KB. He’s always telling me to go outside just before the cameras start rolling. (I don’t know why). The kids are great fun when we’re filming cos they have no idea about acting up for the camera. They’re totally natural. So if they get bored they’ll yawn. And if they have a question they’ll start talking to you in the middle of a shot. It really is a lot of fun working with them – cos you never get bored.

(KB) I’m already making series 3 and Stan Bopp doesn’t know. Ha!  In one of the music clips we had 30 children and Milo the dog…that was a long morning! During shooting a little girl smiled at me. I asked, “Are you enjoying yourself?” She nodded and then added, “But I prefer The Wiggles.”

What was your favourite sketch of The Bopps to make?

(SB) For me it was the squirrel ones. I love that squirrel suit.

(KB) I really enjoyed the Ladder sketch, there were dance moves, stunt falls and general silliness. Great fun. I have to say they were all fun to do…it’s not just Luvvy nonsense – our crew is genuinely superb and we really enjoy ourselves which, I think, you can see on screen.

How different is it touring with the live show to filming it for Nick Jr, and which do you prefer?

(SB) I think they’re both equally excellent, tiring and great fun.

(KB) Telly is fun and I’ve done for over 20 years. But I prefer live…meeting the families, chatting and hanging out is the best bit. As parents ourselves we find there is a real “gang” atmosphere and we all tend to get on really well. Lastly, you can’t beat the interaction of a live show…that’s an addiction all of its own. The studio is usually warm and dry though!

Do you have any plans to release a DVD of the Bopps or a second CD of more  catchy songs from the show?  

(SB) KB says we’re not allowed to release any more CD’s or even a DVD until I sign a bit of paper admitting that he is cleverer than me, better looking than me and taller than me. I don’t know why. Why is that KB?

(KB) Ahhh I was really hoping you’d just sign it and not read it. We’re working on album 2 now so hopefully you’ll see it shortly…it just takes time deleting all of Stan Bopp’s bits J

Well I don't know about you but I can't wait to hear the second Album, I wonder if it will be as catchy as the first?!

The Bopps album from the first series went to number one on the Amazon Children’s Chart and you can buy it for just £7.69, an ideal stocking filler for a music loving pre-schooler! 

Over the summer The Bopps played three big family festivals and they are continuing their tour of numerous theatre across the UK, remaining dates include...

22nd Oct
    Grand Pavilion Theatre
   01656 815 995
24th Oct
Theatre Royal
   01522 519 999
12th Nov
Carnegie Hall
East Port
01383 602 302

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