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Under the Umbrella Tree
Title card for the 30–minute specials
Format Children
Created by Noreen Young
Starring Holly Larocque
Bob Stutt
Stephen Brathwaite
Noreen Young
Country of origin  Canada
No. of episodes 280
Running time 15 minutes
30 minutes (special episodes)
Original channel CBC
Original run 11 September 1986 – 20 June 1993
External links
Official website

Under the Umbrella Tree is a Canadian children's television series created by Noreen Young that originally aired on CBC from 1986–1993. The show was produced by CBC and Noreen Young Productions,[1] and also later by The Disney Channel.

The series centers around a diverse set of main characters who share a house on Spring Street in a suburb of Ottawa, Ontario. The characters include Holly (a person), Iggy (an iguana), Jacob (a Blue Jay), and Gloria (a gopher). The show's title is derived from the fact that the characters live together in a home featuring a prominent indoor umbrella tree.

When production of the show ended in 1993, syndication continued on Disney Channel until 1996, and on YTV and Canal Famille until 1997. Twenty-seven episodes of the show were released to DVD by Cinerio Entertainment in partnership with Noreen Young in 2006, following a long wait for expiration of ownership rights.



The series

280 episodes were produced over the years; 270 are 15 minutes long; ten are 30-minute specials.. Every episode focuses on a different theme, such as sports, holidays, singing, dancing, exercise, and various other activities. However, valuable life lessons are often woven into every story, such as the importance of keeping promises, being considerate of others, or assuming responsibility for one's actions.

The show's characters were created by Ken Sobol, who also wrote the majority of the series episodes. Sobol had previously worked closely with Noreen Young on Readalong and Telefrancais, two other children's television series.


  • Holly Higgins (Holly Larocque) — The only human cast member. Holly serves as a parental figure and mentor for the three puppet characters. She affectionately refers to Iggy, Gloria and Jacob as her 'roommates', although she seems to handle most of the day-to-day running of the household. She is known for being funny, artistic, patient and generous. Holly also has an Uncle Jack and an Aunt Jill, who work as a performing musical duo, although only Jack has actually visited the household.
Jacob Bluejay with puppeteer Stephen Brathwaite in 2006.
  • Iggy Iguana (Bob Stutt) — Iggy sleeps on the shelf at the Umbrella Tree residence, and his characteristics include sometimes thinking too highly of himself, and unwillingly making mistakes. He enjoys playing the guitar, and often sees Jacob as a friendly rival in sports and many other activities. He also has an uncle, Rod Iguana, who lives in Arizona.
  • Gloria Gopher (Noreen Young) — Gloria is the only female puppet in the Umbrella Tree household, and lives and sleeps 'under the umbrella tree', which is located behind the couch. It is known as her burrow. Gloria enjoys music and performing arts, but can be shy with her interests, even around her best friends. She is also somewhat of a tomboy and does not like being treated any differently just because she is a girl.
  • Jacob Bluejay (Stephen Brathwaite) — Jacob is the only member of the Umbrella Tree household capable of flight, and sometimes enters the house by flying through open windows. He usually sleeps in his own bird house on the patio. Jacob sometimes invents things, but they seldom work as he plans, resulting in a humourous outcome.
  • Louis Bird (Bob Stutt) — Louis is a friend of the Umbrella Tree gang, usually involved in festivities outside the apartment, or in dialogue within several episodes. He is well known for overusing the term "indeed", and usually adds the phrase "hmm, indeed!" at the end of his statements.
  • Mitzi the Dog (Holly Larocque) — Mitzi is Gloria's best friend who is always seeming to get either herself or Gloria in trouble.

Recent developments

In 1997, Under the Umbrella Tree reruns were placed on hiatus, after the Disney Channel stopped allowing the airing of the program and shelved the episodes. Since Disney owned all rights to the show, airing reruns on another television station was not possible until the rights expired in 2005.

Starting June 1, 2009 Under The Umbrella Tree will be airing on TV3 Medford weekdays and weekends during the new children's block.

DVD Releases

In 2006, Noreen Young Productions in unison with Cinerio Entertainment began selling several episodes on DVD. To date, eight volumes have been released, with Volumes 1, 2, 3 & 4 featuring all-new introductions to the episodes with Iggy, Gloria and Jacob, played by their original performers.

Volume 1: Bird-Brain, Hamster Hullabaloo, The Trombone, The Best Hiding Place Ever, Uncle Jack Comes Back.
Volume 2: Chez Iggy, Hanky Panky, The Gingerbread House, Love-Valentine's Day (1/2 hour Special).
Volume 3: To The Dentist, Migration Party, Jacob's Girlfriends, Going Bananas, Stargazing.
Volume 4: Gloria Gets Rough, Private, The Aqua Show, Live and Learn: Back To School (1/2 hour Special).
Volume 5: Twins, Cranky Movie, Chickadee Tea, Christmas Under The Umbrella Tree (1/2 hour Special).
Volume 6: Iggy's Collection, The Princess and the Pea Soup, Sir Jacob of Blue, The Tooth Fairy, Small Worlds.
Volume 7: Growing, Gloria’s Allowance, The Accordion Lesson, Piano Lessons (1/2 hour Special featuring Jon Kimura Parker).
Volume 8: Safety Poster Contest, Gloria Can’t Sleep, Singing Telegrams, Hockey Holly, Iggy’s Airlines.


  1. ^ Under the Umbrella Tree (1986) credits. Retrieved January 10, 2009.

External links

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