Polka Dot Shorts was a children's television series from TVOntario in Canada, but which has been broadcast around the world. It was created, produced, and edited by Jed MacKay. Approximately 180 episodes were produced from 1993–2001, all of which were produced by MacKay and directed by Michael McNamara. The series won a Gemini Award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television in 2000 for "Best Pre-School Program or Series".
The series is based on Polka Dot Door, and stars the characters Polkaroo, Humpty, Dumpty, Marigold, and Bear. The characters are portrayed by "physical theater" actors in large costumes; Marigold's performer, for example, had a ballet and circus background. Charles P. Schott ("Bear") was a Gemini Awards Finalist for "Best Performer in a Pre-School Series", in 2002. Originally, each episode started with a human host (Deborah Drakeford) who would introduce each episode to a gathering of children as she was about to read the story from a book. The stories themselves were dramatized by actors in large suits, playing the puppets from Polka Dot Door, while the reader provided the dialogue. A new character was added to the Polka Dot Door family: Polkaroo's pet, named Bibble. Although Bibble was only capable of making sounds that loosely resemble "bibblebibblebibble", he was able to bibble in various tones which indicated his mood.
At one point in every episode, one or more of the characters would discover a large pair of polka dot shorts, and exclaim, "A great big pair of polka dot shorts! How did they get there?" Polkaroo's response would be, "I haven't the foggiest!"
Another special feature of the series was that some episodes were done entirely in rhyme, in which case the character who found the polka dot shorts would exclaim, "Polka dot shorts, a great big pair! How on earth did they get there?"
After the first two seasons the episodes were re-edited. The human hostess/storyteller was cut, and the show would begin immediately.
Polkaroo: (Voiced by Andrew Sabiston) A green kangaroo-like animal with yellow hair, a long yellow furry tail, a red-and-yellow polka dot on his neck and a gown covered in polka dots. He appears in every episode. He lives in a small house with his pet Bibble. He enjoys having his friends round to play and is mostly the one who finds the polka dot shorts. He sometimes talks in rhyme and when his friends argue or do something he doesn't like, he often interrupts them with "Excuse me".
Bibble: Polkaroo's mischievous pet which looks like a multi-coloured mop head covered in pom-poms. Often seen moving about making a "bibbly" sound, hence his name. He likes to pull pranks, and sometimes annoys the others with them.
Humpty: (Voiced by Tony Daniels) A big green egg with purplish hair and a white nose. He wears a burgundy coloured suit patterned with pink roses, a tie with a large H on it, and green boots. Humpty is playful and sometimes a bit mischievous, but he always goes out of his way to help his friends. When the gang start to feel scared or nervous, he often says "Pull yourself together." He is Dumpty's older brother.
Dumpty:played by Brunella Battista (Voiced by Julie Lemieux) Humpty's younger brother. He is brown coloured with a blue checked nose. He wears a cream-coloured cap with the letter D on it, a blue bow tie and a blue suit with flowers and checks on it. The youngest of the group, he loves to help and wants to fit in. He sometimes annoys his older brother Humpty, but deeply cares for him.
Bear: (Voiced by Brian Moffatt) A brown bear who wears a green bow tie with white polka dots. He has a great fondness for honey, speaks with a posh accent, and can sometimes be a bit of a show-off. He often says "Coincidence, I think not."
Marigold (Played by Alisa Walton, voiced by Deborah Drakeford) A kindhearted doll with orange yarn-like hair in pigtails. She wears a green dress with flowers on it, and yellow-and-white striped leggings. She loves gardening and grows many different plants.
Polka Dot Shorts has been screened on BBC1 and BBC2 from 1999 - 2001 with one showing at Christmas 2003, CBBC on Choice have shown Polka Dot Shorts once in 2000. CBeebies have also aired from 2002-2003 and Tiny Living in 1999-2001.