Shaun the Sheep
|Shaun the Sheep|
An image from Shaun the Sheep.
|Genre||Animated children's comedy|
|Created by||Nick Park|
|Developed by||Richard Goleszowski
|Directed by||Richard Goleszowski
|Voices of||John Sparkes
|Theme music composer||Mark Thomas|
|Opening theme||"Life's a Treat", performed by Vic Reeves|
|Ending theme||"Life's a Treat (Whistling, Instrumental Version)|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||87 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Michael Carrington|
|Producer(s)||Julie Lockhart, Gareth Owen|
|Running time||7 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Aardman Animations|
|Picture format||PAL (576i) (2007)
HDTV (1080i) (2009–2010)
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original run||5 March 2007 – present|
|Related shows||A Close Shave
Shaun the Sheep is a British stop-motion animated children's television series produced by Aardman Animations, and commissioned by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), a constituent member of the consortium of German public-broadcasting institutions, ARD. It is a spin-off of the Wallace and Gromit franchise, starring Shaun from A Close Shave as its main protagonist. It first aired in the UK on CBBC in March 2007. The show consists of 80 episodes in 2 series, and the third series is scheduled to air on 25 February 2013. The series has also inspired its own spin-off show, Timmy Time, which is aimed at younger viewers. The show has enjoyed success all over the world and has been broadcast in 180 countries around the world.
A premise of the series is that Shaun the sheep exhibits human intelligence, creativity, and behaviour in a farm setting, which usually provides a situational comedy conflict which Shaun must resolve before the end of each episode. Recurring themes include the characters evading the sheepdog Bitzer (though he is sometimes with the sheep in their escapades) and avoiding discovery by the Farmer.
Episodes are very much a combination of slapstick and classic silent comedy in Aardman’s recognizable animation style. There is no spoken dialogue, even by human characters. In this way it is reminiscent of silent comedy films. However, simple grunts, bleats, and sighs are all used to add subtle expression to each character's moods and feelings.
Theme song 
Based on the theme song, a longer, compact disc version was released under the title "Life's a Treat", performed by Vic Reeves.
Shaun's first appearance 
Shaun the Sheep made his first "official" appearance in Wallace & Gromit's third short feature, the Academy Award winning A Close Shave as the youngest member of a flock of sheep Wallace and Gromit work to save from an evil mechanical dog that wants to turn them all into dog food for profit. He was named Shaun as a pun on the word "shorn" after he was accidentally subjected to Wallace's automated sheep shearing machine. Shaun does show a hint of intelligence, and he proves to be a major help in saving the day. Shaun and the entire herd are also seen living with the inventive duo (much to Wallace's annoyance since they eat everything in sight, including furniture and clothes as well as his beloved cheese), though none of this seems to be part of this series' canon, or it can be surmised Wallace simply sold off the flock to The Farmer where Shaun and his friends now reside.
Major characters 
- Shaun is the main protagonist of the series and the leader of the flock. He is a clever sheep and keeps his head. He has a good friendship with Bitzer.
- Bitzer is the farmer's long-suffering sheepdog and a good friend to Shaun. Bitzer does his best to keep Shaun's pals out of trouble. He wears a blue beanie hat, and like his compatriot Gromit, he acts very much human.
- Shirley can be described as an eating machine. She's so big that she often gets stuck and needs the other sheep to push, pull or even sling-shot her out of trouble, even using heavy equipment at times.
- Timmy is Shaun's cousin. He may be the baby of the flock, but is often at the center of things. Luckily his mum is always there to keep him safe. But sometimes she is not capable of it.
- Timmy's Mother wears curlers in her hair, and is a bit careless about maternal duties, even using Timmy once as some sort of a paint brush. But when her offspring goes astray, she is inconsolable until he is safely back in her care. She is also Shaun's aunt.
- The Flock are the one big happy, if slightly dopey, family: The sheep like to play and create mischief together, though it's usually Shaun and Bitzer who sort out the resulting mess. Like typical sheep, they tend to follow each other.
- The Farmer is a drum and bass-loving rural farmer (voiced by John Sparkes) who runs the farm with Bitzer at his side. He is completely oblivious to the human-like intelligence (or even the stupidity) of his flock. His disastrous attempts at dating are an ongoing joke of the series.
- The Naughty Pigs are the main antagonists of first series and secondary antagonists of series two. They're always trying to antagonize the Sheep and get them into trouble. They are, however, scared of Bitzer, who puts them in line. They are bullies to Shaun and his flock, and they got told off in "Pig Trouble" (Series 2) by the farmer.
- Pidsley is the Farmer's cat, a minor character in series 1 and a major antagonist in series 2. He desires to be the sole recipient of the Farmer's attention, and is jealous of Bitzer. He dislikes the sheep, thinking of them as stupid and beneath him.
Minor characters 
- The Rooster appears at the start of the opening credits. He also has a minor role in "Sheepwalking" and a major role in Cock-A-Doodle-Shaun when the fox kidnapped him.
- The Mother Hen left her clutch of four eggs for a walk, only to find the nest empty (only eggshells were left). She then went out to look for them, posting "missing" signs everywhere, even forgetting her fear as she asked The Bull for her chicks' whereabouts, and looked for them at night. She appears in "Who’s the Mummy?" and "In the Doghouse", where the flock throw her a party in the chicken coop.
- Baby Chicks are chicks that easily annoy Shaun. They always follow wherever Shaun goes (because Shaun was the first thing they saw upon hatching), and in order to make them accept Mother Hen as their real mother, the flock turned Shaun's fleece into clothing for her (because they like Shaun's fleece). They appear in "Who's the Mummy?" and one makes a cameo appearance in "The Farmer's Niece".
- The Duck In the first series, the duck suffers collateral damage due to Shaun’s exploits in "Off the Baa!", "Tidy Up", and "Bath Time". Sometimes he is seen with his lady friends. In series two there are two ducks that act as more of a double act. In series two, the ducks have been replaced with a pure white duck.
- Mower Mouth the Goat is an unstoppable eating machine. While not an unfriendly character, all his considerable energy is focused on his next meal. He appears in an episode named after him, and also on "Saturday Night Shaun". He was also routinely causing trouble for Shaun and the flock as in Shaun the Farmer.
- The Bull is belligerent, powerful, and easily provoked by Shaun’s antics and the colour red. He appears in "The Bull", "Saturday Night Shaun", "Who's the Mummy?" and "Heavy Metal Shaun". When Shaun orders a red bed sheet, he stops chasing the other sheep (painted red) around the farm. He was an unexpected guest at the barn-turned-disco in "Saturday Night Shaun".
- The Birds make occasional appearances.
- She-Shaun/Lola is a special guest sheep in "Two's Company". She is a ewe and Shaun's girlfriend. She became part of the flock after she is mistaken to be sent to her real home.
- She-Bitzer/Ariella is a special guest sheepdog in "Fetching". She is Bitzer's girlfriend. She is leaving the farm because she's one of the unnamed family
- The Other Flock are minor sheep in "Foxy Laddie". They are in appearance different than the flock and they become adopted as part of the flock
- The Cow is the only animal on the farm who gives milk. She appeared in "Shaun the Farmer" and "Ewe've Been Framed", her head was only seen "Ewe've Been Framed".
- Pizza Delivery Boy is a young man who rides a moped and works in the local pizzeria. Also moonlights as a postman in "Saturday Night Shaun".
- The Farmer’s Niece is a young girl whose over-enthusiastic love of animals spells trouble for Bitzer and the Flock.
- Bus Driver takes the sheep to and from the fair in "Sheep on the Loose" and "Takeaway".
- The Granny is a short-tempered, short-sighted old lady, appears in "Takeaway" and "Save the Tree". She also appears in "Two's Company", holding a cart and "The Big Chase", forcing the pigs to give her a lift in their car.
- The Farmer's Girlfriend appears for the first time in Series 2.
- The Alien Family appears in "Shaun Encounters", consisting of two adults and two youngsters. They exhibit human-like behaviour and generally jovial personalities. They are green and have one large eye on the top of the head. The mother wears a granny dress while her husband wore a metal shirt. The mother is seen constantly giving the father a hard time for not watching the kids who, at the beginning of the episode, fly around in a small ship that is very much akin to a small go-kart.
- The Lone Alien appears in "The Visitor". He is similar to the members of the Alien Family but his shirt is similar to the bad children's father and flies a spaceship with a design and style that is more akin to a high-performance sports car. He appears not to originate from Earth, as Shaun has to point out to him on a picture of the solar system which planet he is currently on. He also has a handheld device that can analyse the characteristics of an animal including what it likes in life, can synthesize objects apparently from thin air and can cause objects to levitate.
- The Alien Scientists Abduct Shaun and Pidsley in "Cat Got Your Brain" (series 2).
Two seasons of Shaun the Sheep, consisting of 40 episodes each, aired between 2007 and 2010. The third season is also in production. A series of 15 1-minute 3D shorts were released on Nintendo's Video service for the Nintendo 3DS between March and June 2012. Another series of 21 1-minute sports-themed shorts, named Championsheeps, aired on CBBC during the Summer of 2012.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired (United Kingdom dates)|
|Season premiere||Season finale|
|1||40||5 March 2007||14 September 2007|
|2||40||23 November 2009||17 December 2010|
|3||TBA||25 February 2013||TBA|
Region 2 (Europe) 
- Off the Baa! (12 November 2007): Timmy in a Tizzy / Buzz Off Bees / Things That Go Bump / Mower Mouth / Fleeced / Shaun Shoots the Sheep / Mountains out of Molehills
- Shape Up with Shaun (17 November 2007): Shape Up with Shaun / Bathtime / Fetching / Take Away / Still Life / Scrumping / Little Sheep of Horrors / The Kite
- Shaun the Sheep Box Set (12 November 2007): Off the Baa! / Timmy in a Tizzy / Buzz Off Bees / Things That Go Bump / Mower Mouth / Fleeced / Shaun Shoots the Sheep / Mountains out of Molehills / Shape Up with Shaun / Bathtime / Fetching / Take Away / Still Life / Scrumping / Little Sheep of Horrors / The Kite
- Saturday Night Shaun (10 March 2008): Saturday Night Shaun / Stick with Me / Shaun the Farmer / Sheep on the Loose / Tidy Up / Snore-Worn Shaun / Camping Chaos / If You Can’t Stand the Heat
- Abracadabra (20 October 2008): Abracadabra / The Bull / Who's the Mummy? / Hiccups / Heavy Metal Shaun / Troublesome Tractor / Sheepwalking / Save the Tree
- Wash Day (17 November 2008): Wash Day / Tooth Fairy / The Farmer's Niece / The Visitor / Helping Hound / Big Top Timmy / Bitzer Puts His Foot in It / Shaun Encounters
- Shaun the Sheep – The Complete First Series (17 November 2008) (Letterbox/Widescreen)
- Spring Lamb (29 March 2010): Spring Lamb / Sheepless Nights / Bagpipe Buddy / Party Animals / Strictly No Dancing / Draw the Line / Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow / Who’s the Caddy? / Cheetah Cheater / Everything Must Go
- We Wish Ewe A Merry Christmas (3 October 2011): We Wish Ewe A Merry Christmas / Snowed In / Whistleblower / Pig Swill Fly / Shirley Whirley / Foxy Laddie / Shaun Goes Potty / Fireside Favourite
Region 1 (U.S. and Canada) 
- Party Animals (7 September 2010): Double Trouble / Strictly No Dancing / Party Animals / Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow / Pig Swill Fly / Shaun Goes Potty / Operation Pidsley
- One Giant Leap for Lambkind (2010): Shaun Encounters / The Bull / Hiccups / Bitzer Puts His Foot In It / Save The Tree / The Visitor
- Shaun the Sheep: Season 1 (19 October 2010) (Full Screen)
- Shaun the Sheep: Season 2 (15 November 2011) (Full Screen)
Reviews of the series were consistently positive. Harry Venning of "The Stage" found "characterisation charming and the animation superb. All this before even a mention of how funny and splendidly slapstick the script is." The Guardian noted that the series "hits the four-to-seven-year-old age group smack in the eye." Charles Arthur wrote "classic Aardman style that leaves me laughing out loud."
References to popular culture 
As with the series' parent show Wallace and Gromit, there are many allusions to scenes from movies such as Star Wars, The Lion King, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, The Matrix, and Pulp Fiction. These include:
- Shirley's training in the episode "Shape Up with Shaun" is based on the film Rocky.
- The paintings parodied in "Still Life" include the Mona Lisa and Constable's The Hay Wain.
- In "Buzz Off Bees", the Farmer appears in his hooded beekeepers outfit, with accompanying Darth Vader-style heavy breathing.
- The infamous shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is spoofed in the episode "The Little Sheep of Horrors", whose name is based on the 1960 film The Little Shop of Horrors and its 1986 remake.
- In "Hiccups", Shaun turns his guitar amplifier up to 11 in a reference to a scene in This Is Spinal Tap.
- In "Fleeced", the Farmer drags one of the sheep away for shearing, slamming a large metal sliding door closed behind him. This is particularly reminiscent of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
- In "Supersize Timmy", when Timmy ate a tomato he becomes big like King Kong. This is similar to the 1933 film King Kong and its 1976 and 2005 remakes.
- In "The Visitor", the alien thrashes his car with a tree branch in the same way as Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers.
- In "Mountains out of Molehills" a sheep is reading a magazine called "Bleat", a spoof of celebrity gossip magazine "Heat".
- Also in "Mountains out of Molehills" Shaun tries to catch the mole with a fishing rod and line. When the first "bite" is shown, the first two notes of the Jaws theme are played.
- Near the end of "Off the Baa", the well-known Nessun Dorma theme from Puccini's opera Turandot is used, which was the musical theme of the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
- At the end of "Mower Mouth" the shrubs are clearly reminiscent of those in Edward Scissorhands.
- In "Saturday Night Shaun" Shaun rips off his coat and tosses it away as he is dancing, only to have tossed back. This is reminiscent of the scene in the 1980 movie Airplane!, where Robert Hays tosses his white sport-coat away, only to have it tossed back in his face.
- in "Party Animals", one of the sheep is dressed as a crude version of a Dalek trying to get up some stairs but failing because of the suit.
- in "Zebra Ducks of the Serengeti", the Farmer's signpost over the gate falls over Bitzer - à la Buster Keaton in Steamboat Bill Jr.
- in "An Ill Wind", towards the end of that episode, when the power supply to the farmhouse blows up (due to the wind turbine the Farmer had built to power the farm being thrown into a ludicrously fast speed by Shirley), the Farmer grabs an axe and chops his wind turbine in a similar fashion to The Shining (a further reference was that the Farmer had been watching TV at the time).
- in "Shaun Goes Old-School" one of the Nintendo Video shorts the theme and sound effects from the NES Game Super Mario Bros. are played while Shawn jumps and runs around like he was Mario
In January 2011, BBC reported that Aardman had started developing a feature film version of Shaun the Sheep, with a plan to be ready for 2013/2014 release. In April 2013, it was announced that the film, written and directed by Richard Starzak and Mark Burton, will be financed and distributed by French StudioCanal, and will be released in spring 2015. The film will follow Shaun and his flock into the big city to rescue their farmer, who was forced by Shaun's mischief to leave the farm.
Theatre show 
On 9 March 2011 Shaun the Sheep made its theatre début in live Shaun's Big Show. This 1 hour and 40 minutes long musical/dance show features all favourite characters, including Bitzer, Shirley and Timmy.
Video games 
On 16 June 2008, D3 Publisher of America, which published a game based on Aardman's 2006 film Flushed Away, announced that it would also release a video game based on the television series. The Shaun the Sheep game was developed by Art Co., Ltd exclusively for Nintendo DS, and was released in autumn 2008. The Shaun the Sheep website also ran a contest which offered five packages containing a Nintendo DS and a copy of the game as a prize.
A second game for Nintendo DS, named Shaun the Sheep: Off His Head, was released on 23 October 2009, exclusively in Europe.
See also 
- "Carrington Commissions Shaun". by Rick DeMott (AWN News). 19 October 2005.
- Shaun the Sheep (5 December 2011). "@ntvntv great, glad you enjoyed it :D Series 2 is also available and series 3 is on it's way (shhh!)". Twitter. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- "Shaun The Sheep Championsheeps". BBC. 10 February 2012. Retrieved 12 September.
- Jones, Rachel (16 February 2013). "Shaun the Sheep makes TV comeback". Farmers Weekly. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- "Shaun the Sheep: Season 1". Amazon. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- "Shaun the Sheep: Season 2". Amazon. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- TV Review The Stage. Harry Venning. 12 March 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2007
- Banks-Smith, Nancy (6 March 2007). Last Night's TV. The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 3 April 2007.
- Charles Arthur (20 March 2007). Roll over, Pixar – Shaun the Sheep’s here to tickle your funny bone CharlesArthur.com. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
- "Aardman Animations plan new Shaun the Sheep film". BBC Online. 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
- "Shaun the Sheep set for big-screen adventure in 2015". BBC. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- BWW News Desk (2011-02-22). "SHAUN'S BIG SHOW Debuts at Stoke-on-Trent's Regent Theatre, Mar. 9 -13". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
- Remo, Chris (2008-06-16). "D3 Announces Coraline And Shaun The Sheep Adaptations". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
- "Shaun the Sheep: Off His Head". GameSpot. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Shaun the Sheep Flash game".
- "Shaun the Sheep iOS game".
- Loveday, Samantha. "Timmy Tales". Licensing.biz. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- Main page of the Japanese site for Shaun the Sheep
- Official website
- Shaun's Big Show
- Aardman Animation official website
- BBC Press release (animation series)
- Shaun the Sheep at BBC Online
- Shaun the Sheep at the British Comedy Guide
- Shaun the Sheep at the Internet Movie Database
- Shaun the Sheep at TV.com