|Premiere|| UK: 1999 - 2003|
US: 2011 - 2013
Jim Henson's Construction Site is a children's television series which ran in the UK from 1999 to 2003. Featuring animatronic puppets resembling machinery, the series focused on a group of friendly, talking construction vehicles. The show ran for four seasons; each episode was around ten minutes. 26 half-hour episodes were produced. In 2011, the show premiered in the United States. on KCET (the former Los Angeles PBS affiliate) as a part of their programming block "Captain Infinity Theatre" later renamed KCET Kids.
The series was a production between Jim Henson's Creature Shop and Jim Henson Television and was also the first production to be shot entirely with a Motion Control camera, meaning every motion control camera shot had to be timed and pre-recorded. The first two seasons were shot at the Creature Shop's own motion control studio at the Camden base, with the second two seasons shot at Millennium Studios in Elstree after the motion control camera had been acquired by them.
The fully animatronic characters were built by Jim Henson's Creature Shopä in London and were performed live by puppeteers, who also voice the characters. Uniquely this is the first time that Henson's advanced animatronic techniques, traditionally used on feature films, were used on a pre-school television production. This is the only live-action children's show shot using a motion control rig camera - a technique that allows perfection of camera moves and in-camera action, and also sits the lens inches from the floor of the set, thereby creating the correct illusion of scale for the characters. Each character cost over $30,000 to produce with new techniques having to be developed to accommodate the vast number of servos in a small area and new silicon for the tires.
Construction Site was nominated for the Live Children's BAFTA award two years running.
Several clips from the series have been uploaded to the Jim Henson Company's YouTube channel and the complete series was available for viewing via Netflix's "Watch Instantly" Internet video streaming.
| Bozer the Bulldozer
“ Bozer is the approachable, understanding leader of the construction vehicles. His authority is unquestioned and he has a great sense of his own responsibility. Fair and patient, he can be a gentle father figure to his younger charges and a good friend to the older machines. ”
Performed by Mark Jefferis
| Carl the Crane
“ Carl tends to lose track of what he is doing and where he is going. Absent minded and forgetful, he is brilliant at what he does, but must count on others to guide him. Carl is calm and philosophical when something goes wrong, and almost surprised when something goes right. ”
Performed by Mark Jefferis
| Carrie the Forklift
“ Carrie has been on the site longer than Diggs and Scooch and acts very much like an older sister to them both. Carrie can tease and gently boss Diggs and Scooch around whenever she likes; but she is not a trouble maker - just an enthusiastic kid who is a bit overzealous about proving herself. ”
Performed by Charlotte Bellamy
| Diggs the Tractor/Backhoe (Loader)
“ Diggs the Backhoe is our hero. Fresh from the factory, Diggs is thrilled to be part of the team and eager to learn everything about construction. He is always full of big - if impractical - plans; his main weakness is that he wants to 'do it all' and often does not realize his limitations. ”
Performed by Brian Herring
| Lug the (Large) Dumptruck
“ Lug lives in a self-satisfied reverie. Nostalgic through and through, he is continuously re-living the great events in his past; both in his head and to anyone who'll listen. His favourite subject is lugging dirt and he will talk endlessly of the great loads he has lifted and the grand buildings he has helped to build. ”
Performed by Mak Wilson
| Maxine the (Cement) Mixer
“ Maxine sounds mixed up but is really very wise. When she's mixing, she talks in a jumble, getting words mixed up. When she starts putting all her words in the right order, however, we know her cement is ready. She always looks on the bright side and very rarely gets flustered. ”
Performed by Angie Greaves
| Scooch the Front-End Dumper/Dumptruck
“ Scooch is the newest machine on the site and Diggs' best friend, and usual work partner. Scooch admires Diggs' confidence and versatility, and is happy to be friends with such a cool digger. ”
Performed by Mak Wilson
- 101: Who's the Boss / Cool Fuel
Carrie thinks she'd make just as good a boss as Bozer and when he gives her the chance she's determined to prove it; The machines must clear an old dumpsite to make way for a new car park in just one day.
- 102: What I Do Best / Carnival Capers
When Diggs starts treating everyday jobs on the construction site as a competition, Bozer decides to introduce a real contest -- the Machine Challenge; On Maxine's mileage day, Bozer enlists the help of the others to organize a party to celebrate.
- 103: Big Bozer Is Watching / Big Rig
Scooch is terrified to work on top of a tall building after spilling salt earlier in the day, as he believes it's a bad omen; Diggs wants to be just like his hero, Big Rig. But the machines that he "rescues" are not grateful at all. But when Scooch gets trapped in sticky cement, it's up to Diggs to pretend to be Big Rig while rescuing him.
- 104: Listening Troubles / The Way of the Bodger
When Bozer tells Diggs that he's full of good ideas he thinks he'll share them with Scooch and Carrie -- but Carrie has her own ideas, and they bicker; Diggs learns the merits of doing a job properly after he does mediocre work to save time.
- 105: Look What I've Got / Tread Carefully
Diggs is proud of his shiny new attachment. But when Bozer tells him it's needed on an important job, Diggs realizes that he doesn't know what it does; Diggs wears some new, fashionable treads, but his quest for fashion leaves Scooch in a tight spot.
- 106: A Good Mixer / Almost Famous
The new machines have a lot of bricks to move, so many in fact that Diggs thinks they could use a little help from Maxine; When Diggs, Carrie and Scooch dig a trench in the wrong place they think they've struck oil and dream of riches.
- 107: Sunk / What's the Plan
When the younger machines accidentally knock a load of oil drums into the dock they are too scared to own up to their mistake; Diggs and Scooch thing they're saving Bozer some time by digging a pond, but they put it in the wrong place.
- 108: Idle Time / A Riveting Story
When there's cement mix to be moved and Carrie's feeling fired up, nothing can stop her -- nothing except a dead battery that is; Carrie chooses to horse around when the machines are clearing out an old dock, and has to be rescued by Carl.
- 109: No Place Like Home / Truckmate
Preoccupied because he misses his birth site, Carl almost drops a pipe on Diggs, leading the others to try and cheer him up; Diggs is jealous when Scooch chooses to work with Carrie instead of him, so Diggs impersonates Carrie to win back his friend.
- 110: Grown Up for a Day / Mid-Mileage Crisis
When Diggs saves Carl from a nasty accident, the older machines decide it's time he started hanging out with them; After reflecting on his carefree youth, Lug decides that he's not ready for old age and joins Diggs and Scooch for some 'top gear' fun.
- 111: Loud and Clear / Junkyard
Scooch's voice is too quiet to stop Lug from crashing, and Scooch worries that the older truck will never forgive him; Diggs frightens Carrie and Schooch on a junkyard run with tales of a scary monster named "Truckzilla."
- 112: From Start to Finish / Out with the Old
Diggs, Carrie and Scooch are tired of the old machines always telling them what to do, and want to prove to Bozer they can work on their own; Bozer tells the machines that it's "out with the old and in with the new," to Carl and Lug's chagrin.
- 113: Feeling Flat / One Roll at a Time
Scooch wants to find something he can do that Diggs can't. But when he tries to max out his load all he ends up with is a flat tire; Diggs discovers Bozer is scared of water, but in an effort to help Bozer conquer his fear, Diggs ends up in trouble.
- 201: Changing Vrooms
Jealous when the bigger machines get to landscape a new park, Carrie decides to invent her own forklifting style; Carl's inventions are legendary...for being a disaster. And when he unveils his new Carl Wash, the young machines are his test dummies.
- 202: Finding the Funny
Bozer gives Scooch the morning off so he'll be rested for a big job in the afternoon, but the other machines ask for his help and he doesn't get much rest; It's time for the CCT (Construction Certificate Test) and Carrie's convinced she won't pass.
- 203: Warm Up
When Diggs discovers that Bozer has accidentally dozed a load of gravel over some important bridge roads he faces a dilemma; Bozer goes off site and leaves Carl in charge -- which always leads to total chaos. So Maxine steps in to help.
- 204: Dream Machine
When Lug tells Scooch that grading a road on your own is what every dumper dreams of, the little truck decides to do a bit of solo grading; When a daredevil dump truck comes to town, Scooch is thrilled to find out that Lug used to be one himself.
- 205: Warble While You Work
Carrie teaches Diggs that even his boring job of moving stones can be fun when she turns it into a game; A site scattered with materials inspires Diggs to turn it into an obstacle course, and Scooch wonders if he's up to the challenge.
- 206: Good Hiding
Diggs has to venture into an old mine to clear it, but whinds up trapped in there by himself. Scooch has to help him get free from the outside; When a big storm hits the Construction site, Diggs has to pretend to be Big Rig once more.
- 207: Secrets
When Carl and Lug have a falling out, Diggs can't help but try to bring them back together, despite Bozer's warnings; Diggs plays a prank on Scooch, encouraging him to pursue the mysterious "call of the forest."
- 208: There's No Bossiness Like Show Bossiness
Scooch would like a bit more space in the idle house but Diggs and Carrie aren't giving an inch; When the young machines decide to tell stories, Scooch shows that sometimes the smallest truck has the biggest imagination.
- 209: Thought for the Day
With Bozer off-site, Diggs mistakenly thinks Maxine has told him it's OK to do a job on his own; Carrie doesn't understand how to work her flashy new recharger -- so Diggs takes charge, despite the fact he has no idea what he's doing.
- 210: Diggs Should Be So Lucky
Carl has to knock a chimney down on the site today, giving him a chance to show why he is nominated for Crane of the Year; Due to a wall of ice that Carl can't even shift, the machines get stuck on a slippery mountain road.
- 211: We Can Be Heroes
When Diggs overhears Bozer talking to himself, it seems that their beloved boss is going to be leaving; The machines are shocked to find that during the night the new multistory parking garage they were building has been destroyed.
- 212: Catch That Phrase
A new dump truck has come to the site -- Skatch. He's so exciting and fun that Diggs and Carrie seem to be ignoring their old pal, Scooch; Bozer returns from a servicing only to find that his deep voice has changed and is now high and squeaky.
- 213: A Gloopy Mess
On a cold day, Bozer reminds the machines to put in their antifreeze. Trouble is, he's so busy reminding everyone else that he forgets to put some in himself; The young machines procrastinate on a job, and pay the price when a thick fog rolls in.
- Writers: Jocelyn Stevenson, Laura Beaumont, Mark Seal, Paul Larson, P. Kevin Strader
- Directors: Simon Spencer, Mak Wilson, Dirk Campbell, John Stephenson