Bob the Builder (found original pilot of British children's TV series; 1997)
Bob The Builder was an animated stop motion children's series that premiered on November 28th, 1998 on BBC in the United Kingdom and in 2001 on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. block in the United States and would go onto produce 250 episodes from it's November 1998 premiere to it's December 2011. An American reboot of the show would premiere on September 1st, 2015 and air until December 30th, 2018 on PBS Kids. In order to pitch the show to HiT Entertainment, a pilot was filmed in 1997. The pilot was screened to HiT Entertainment executives on on May 15, 1997.
Information on the Pilot
The pilot starts with Bob waking up Digger, the Bob (who was voiced by Neil Morrissey, who also voices him in the series) turns on the radio, then trips, Digger (who was voiced by Stuart Greenall) drops a shovel, Bob gets a ladder to get a bird's nest out of a nearby rain drain, Digger hand's him a shovel, Digger knocks the ladder Bob was on, Bob falls into Diggers scope and the bird's nest falls on Bob's head.Curtis Jobling, the former designer of Bob the Builder was asked about the pilot and said:
"Bob had very red lips in the pilot, Curtis didn't design it, the pilot was produced in 1997 (1 year before the actual first episode, "Pilchard in a Pickle", was produced), the pilot wasn't very good and nearly got the show cancelled."
It never aired on television or was released on DVD and for over twenty years was never seen by the public.
Before December 2020, the only glimpses of the pilot was a behind the scenes photo, a photo of Digger's model and concept art of Digger and was originally thought to be 90 seconds long. Jobling said he has a copy of the pilot while being asked about it.
On December 22nd, 2020, after being sent a copy by one of the producers, the full pilot was found by user kingmrharvey and was uploaded to archive.org by Mike Shmit. It is revealed that Bob and Digger were the only characters in the pilot, though Digger was redesigned as Scoop, Rob Rackstraw was cast as the character in the series UK dub, while Alan Marriott took the mantle for the show's US release in 2001.
- Bob the Builder Wiki page on the pilot. Retrieved 06 Mar '21
- A tweet with a behind the scenes photo from the pilot. Retrieved 02 Mar '21