Dubbing Wikia

Barbapapa is a Japanese-Dutch animated children's television series that was created by the French-American couple, Annette Tison and Talus Taylor, in 1974. The series was adapted from the 1970 book series of the same name. It was co-produced by the Japanese animation studios KSS and Topcraft, and the Dutch studio, PolyScope BV.


The series follows daily lives of the extraordinary blob-shaped Barbapapa family, who can morph into other forms but retain their original colors. The Barbapapa family consists of parents Barbapapa and Barbamama and their seven children: The bookworm Barbalib; the beauty queen Barbabelle; strong Barbabravo; inventor Barbabright; animal lover Barbazoo; artist Barbabeau; and musician Barbalala. Together, the Barbapapas are a large, happy family!

Dubbing History

Barbapapa has had a total of five English dubs. The first of which aired on BBC One in the United Kingdom from January 17, 1975 to 1979. It was narrated by Michael Flanders in London, England. Its theme song was performed by Ed Stewart, Cathy MacDonald, and The London Boy Singers, and was released along with some other songs featured in the series in 1975. Outside of these songs, nothing of this dub has surfaced online. Some international dubs of the show have also used this dub as a base.

An American distributor, LBS Communications[1], who had earlier brought the Dutch cartoon Doctor Snuggles to the United States[2], would import an American English dub of the series for a syndicated run from September 4, 1977 to December 3, 1983. It was produced by Magno Sound and Video, and recorded in New York with a small cast of three people; Allen Swift as the narrator, Barbapapa, and most of the male characters, Ann Costello as the female characters, and Alexander Marshall as Barbazoo. Episodes were cut to around two minutes each in order to fit syndication.

Unlike the other dubs, this one has more witty dialogue, and all of the accents of the characters were adapted into common ones; Barbabeau and Barbabravo explicitly have New York accents, Barbabright has a British accent, and Barbabelle speaks like a southern belle. This dub also uses its own background music, and the theme song is a remix of the original and shares almost the same lyrics with the British English dub, except that there is no role-call. Outside of that however, the other musical melodies that play throughout episodes of the show were not dubbed, and were instead left instrumental.

In the same month, a Canadian English dub of Barbapapa aired on TVOntario from September 17, 1977 to September 10, 1985, and later on Knowledge Network from 1985 to 1987. The Barbapapas all have individual voices in this dub, as opposed to being voiced all by one narrator. The dub also used the same songs from the British English dub, including the theme song. None of the cast of this dub is known. This dub was released on DVDs in the United Kingdom, distributed by Spectrum in 1981, and advertised as the "Americanised version".[3]

In 2001 and again in 2005, Aniplex/Sony Music Entertainment distributed DVDs and VHSes of Barbapapa episodes in Japan that contained an English dub alongside a French and Japanese audio track. Not much is known about this specific dub, as its dubbing studio and voice actors are currently unknown, although it's likely that the dub may have been recorded at Frontier Enterprises as the voice cast sounds akin to their actors. The actors in question also often exchange which characters they play at random episodes, and it appears to have used a limited cast of around 3-4 people. All of the songs were not dubbed and were left instrumental.

In a similar matter, DVDs of Barbapapa would be released in South Korea in 2006,[4] only containing an English audio track (with English and Korean subtitles available) in order to teach Korean people English. These DVDs featured another American English dub by Centauro Comunicaciones[5] that was recorded in Miami, Florida. Like the original, the first season would have the narrator voicing all of the characters, while in the second season they were all given individual voices. However, nearly none of the cast of this dub is known either. This was the only dub to cover the entire series, unlike the others which all appear to have stopped at season one.

This dub used a lot of the 2001 Aniplex dub's script as a base, but it also has been known to take dialogue from the Canadian English dub, such as in the episode "Barbapapa's Cake". All of the songs were dubbed[6] with lyrics taken from the British English songs and changed when necessary. These songs were uploaded (albeit shortened to 30 seconds) to the official Barbapapa YouTube channel. This was the last English dub of Barbapapa to be produced, however Centauro would also dub the 1999 anime spin-off Barbapapa Around the World at the same time, and it was released on the same Korean DVDs. On July 25, 2018, the Korean streaming service Laftel started to host the Centauro dubs to both series.


U.K. Dub United Kingdom

Like the original, Flanders accordingly did the voices for all of the characters.

Magno Dub United States

Image Character Original Actor France Dub Actor United States
Barbapapa logo.png Narrator Ricet Barrier Allen Swift
Barbapapa ID.png Barbapapa
Barbabravo ID.png Barbabravo
Barbabright ID.png Barbabright
Barbabeau ID.png Barbabeau
Barbamama ID.png Barbamama Ann Costello
Barbalib ID.png Barbalib
Barbabella ID.png Barbabelle
Barbalala ID.png Barbalala
Barbazoo ID.png Barbazoo
Alexander Marshall

Centauro Dub United States

Just like the original, a narrator did the voices of all of the characters in the first season, while the characters were all given their own individual voices by various actors in season two. The voice of Barbapapa himself was replaced in that season while the narrator retained his primary role.

Almost all of the same actors also reprised their roles for Barbapapa Around the World, with the exception of the narrator, who was replaced by a female narrator in that series. It is not known who nearly all of these actors are.

Additional Voices

It is also known that Kais Kappler helped to sing some of the songs in this dub, namely "Colors"[9] and "Thinking".[10]


Barbapapa has a range of many musical melodies that were used throughout episodes. The British dub had originally covered all of them, and the Centauro dub had redubbed them while using mostly the same lyrics from that dub's songs. The Magno dub opted for its own original soundtrack, most notably the intro, which uses roughly the same lyrics as the British dub but with a different instrumental and no role-call; for the rest of the songs, they were left instrumental. In the Canadian dub, they used the British songs, and in the Aniplex dub, they were left instrumental (but unlike the Magno dub, it uses the same instrumental track as the original).

U.K. Dub

The vocals were provided by Ed Stewart, Cathy MacDonald, and the London Boy Singers. These songs were released on a CD at around the time of the dub's premiere.[11]

  • Introducing the Barbapapa Family (Theme song)
  • Little Shadow
  • Be a Thinker
  • Barbalib
  • The Greatest Animal Lover
  • Barbabeau's Paint Box
  • Barbapapa Rock
  • Everything Is Singing For Barbalala's Song
  • Send for Barbabravo
  • Barbabelle
  • The Barbapapa Family (Extended theme song)

Centauro Dub

At least two songs were known to be sung by Kais Kappler ("Colors" and "Thinking"), and 30-40 second snippets of them were uploaded to Vimeo in 2017. Various other songs were uploaded by the official Barbapapa YouTube channel in 2016, for a 30-second duration each.


These are the end credits of the Magno dub.


Magno Dub
Canadian Dub
Aniplex Dub
Centauro Dub


Date(s) Channel Dub Country
January 17, 1975 – 1979 BBC One U.K. dub United Kingdom United Kingdom
September 4, 1977 - December 3, 1983 Syndication U.S. dub (Magno) United States United States
September 17, 1977 - September 10, 1985 TVOntario Canadian dub Canada Canada
1985 – 1987 Knowledge Network

Video Releases

Distributor Year Format Contents Dub Region Country
Spectrum 1981 VHS.jpg Season One Canadian dub 2
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Aniplex Inc. 2001; 2005 DVD.jpg
Aniplex dub 2
Japan Japan
M&V Media 2006 DVD.jpg The Complete Series
+ Around the World
U.S. dub (Centauro) 3
South Korea South Korea


  • The transformation phrase for the Barbapapas whenever they want to shapeshift ("Hup hup hup, Barbatruc !" in the original) is translated differently depending on the dub.
    • In the British English dub, it was translated as "All Change!".
    • In the Canadian English dub, it was translated as "Clickety-click, Barbatrick!".
    • In Centauro's dub, it was simply translated as "Barbatrick!".
    • In Magno's dub, a consistent transformation phrase isn't applied; instead, they say a rhyming phrase that matches what they're turning into.
    • Similarly, in the Aniplex dub it is replaced with situational responses such as "Away we go again!" or "Well, what is that?".
  • During the theme song the roll call singer accidently says Barbabelle's name twice, in turn leaving out Barbalib's name.
  • In season 2, there are some clear mistakes with the timing of the voice actors, such as them talking for a short period of time while the character's lips are still flapping, or a character speaking when another character was meant to. A specific example would be in episode 100, where in one scene, a female squirrel was supposed to be talking but a male squirrel's voice came out as she spoke, and vice versa.
  • Starting with episode 77, Barbabright's voice actor chose to make his voice sound less nasally but more high pitched. However, the actor puts on his first voice in Barbapapa Around the World.


See also

External Links