The Animals of Farthing Wood (TV series)

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The Animals of Farthing Wood
Animals of farthing.jpg
Genre Dramatic programming
Adventure
Created by Colin Dann (original books)
Written by Sue Butterworth
Alan Case
Valerie Georgeson
Gordon Harrison
Elphin Llyod-Jones
Jenny McDade
Steve Walker
Directed by Philippe LeClerc
Elphin Llyod-Jones
Voices of Jeremy Barrett
Rupert Farley
Jon Glover
Sally Grace
Stacy Jefferson
Pamela Keevilkral
Ron Moody
Theme music composer Dennis Cooper
Composer(s) Detlev Kühne
Country of origin United Kingdom
France
Germany
Spain
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 39 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Theresa Plummer-Andrews (for BBC)
Enrico Platter (for WDR, Season 1–2)
Siegmund Grewenig (for WDR, Season 3)
Producer(s) John M. Mills
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Telemagination
La Fabrique
Distributor European Broadcasting Union
Broadcast
Original run January 6, 1993 – December 21, 1995

The Animals of Farthing Wood is a children's animated series commissioned by the European Broadcasting Union between 1992 and 1995, and based on the series of books written by Colin Dann.[1] It was produced by Telemagination, based in London, and La Fabrique, based in Montpellier in France, but also aired in other European countries. The first countries to air the series were Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom, in January 1993.

Synopsis[edit]

The television series followed the basic plots of the series of books, although certain elements were changed. It followed the animals of Farthing Wood, who were forced to flee their homes after humans started destroying the wood in order to build houses. Led by Fox, and guided by Toad, the animals left Farthing Wood on a journey to White Deer Park, a nature reserve where they would be protected.

Unlike other children's series and films, The Animals of Farthing Wood did not feature much comedic content but rather relied on its strong storyline and plot, and multiple main characters are killed or die during the journey. The series contains mild gore in some episodes, which is one of its controversial points[citation needed], like the 1978 film Watership Down.

Series 1 chronicled the journey to White Deer Park, Series 2 took place in White Deer Park and chronicled the feud between the Farthing Wood animals and the hostile blue foxes, the third, and final, series chronicled the invasion of the rats into White Deer Park and the animals' attempts to fight them off.

The episodes were made in both the UK and France. Because of this, in Series 1 the motorway's carriageways have traffic driving on the right hand carriageway of the motorway. However, they are briefly seen in Series 3 driving on the left hand side.

Series[edit]

Three series of the show were produced, each based on one or more of the Farthing Wood books.

The first two series were seen by fans as among the best animated shows on TV at the time due to its complex and intriguing plot, solid script and generally consistent animation, along with being liked for its darker and more dramatic themes for a children's show. However, the third series was seen[by whom?] as a disappointment. Fans claimed this was due its inferior story and script as opposed to the first two series', but the change in animation also did not help.[citation needed]. The change in animation style was also an attempt for the series to fit in with the 'cartoonish' appeal of other children's shows that were being aired at the time. In Series 3, the animals appear to take on more human movements, like folding their arms, or wings (though this occurred to a minor extent in the first series).

Episodes[edit]

Characters[edit]

Cast[edit]

  • Jeremy Barrett: Mr. Rabbit, Mole, Bold, Friendly, Hollow, Mossy, Measley, Mr. Shrew, and others.
  • Rupert Farley: Fox, Hare, Mr. Pheasant, Plucky, Trey, and others.
  • Jon Glover: Scarface, Ranger, The Warden, and others.
  • Sally Grace: Owl, Weasel, Charmer, and others.
  • Stacy Jefferson: Vixen, Adder, Kestrel, Mrs. Hare, Mrs. Rabbit, and others.
  • Pamela Keevilkral: Dash, Cleo, Fido, Speedy, Whisper, Mrs. Squirrel, Mrs. Hedgehog, and others.
  • Ron Moody: Badger, Toad, Whistler, Bully, Spike, Rollo, Mr. Hedgehog, Mr. Vole, Mr. Mouse, Great White Stag, and others.
  • Maria Warburg: Whisper (Audiobook only)

Fox, the leader of the Animals of Farthing Wood, was voiced by Rupert Farley in the UK and Ireland version but in the U.S. version he was played by Ralph Macchio.

In France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Sweden the cast included the following:

Character German Italian French Swedish Norwegian
Fox Stephan Schwartz Michele Gammino Bernard Tiphaine Totte Wallin Hallvard Lydvo
Vixen Uschi Wolff Pinella Dragani Hildegun Riise
Badger Franz-Josef Steffens Bruno Alessandro Marc de Georgi Svante Thuresson Harald Mæle
Mole Ulli Philipp Fabrizio Vidale Serge Lhorca Michael B Tretow Åsleik Engmark
Owl Tilly Lauenstein Alina Moradei Maaïké Jansen Liv Bernhoft Osa
Weasel Marion Martinzen Laurence Badie Meta Roos Hildegun Riise
Whistler Donald Arthur Fabrizio Manfredi S 1&2: Harald Mæle S3: Hallvard Lydvo
Toad Manfred Lehmann Raoul Delfosse Bo Maniette Trond Brænne
Adder Karin Kernke Évelyne Grandjean Christel Körner Unn Vibeke Hol
Kestrel Andrea Wildner Rossella Acerbo/Federica De Bortoli Mireille Audibert Unn Vibeke Hol
Mr. Hare Horst Sachtleben Hallvard Lydvo
Mr. Vole Walter von Hauff Trond Brænne
Mr. Shrew Walter von Hauff
Mr. Fieldmouse Walter von Hauff
Mrs. Fieldmouse Isa Di Marzio
Mr. Hedgehog Martin Semmelrogge Vittorio Stagni Harald Mæle
Mr. Rabbit Michael Habeck Åsleik Engmark
Baby Rabbit Sabine Bohlmann
Mr. Pheasant Thomas Reiner Åsleik Engmark
Mrs. Pheasant Andrea Wildner Unn Vibeke Hol
Mr. Squirrel Walter von Hauff
Mrs. Squirrel Monika John
Mr. Newt Oliver Stritzel
Mrs. Newt Karin Kernke
Baby Newt Sabine Bohlmann
Scarface Benno Hoffmann Åsleik Engmark
Lady Blue Elisabeth Endriss Liv Bernhoft Osa
Ranger Oliver Stritzel S2: Harald Mæle S3: Ivar Nørve
Bounder Oliver Stritzel
Bully Otto Sander Ivar Nørve
Brat Walter von Hauff
Great White Stag Roland Hemmo Trond Brænne
Bold Udo Wachtveitl Åsleik Engmark
Charmer Anja Jaenicke Stella Musy
Friendly Axel Malzacher Trond Brænne
Dreamer Simone Weyrich
Plucky Pierre Peters Arnolds Henrik Mestad
Speedy Kathrin Ackermann Georgia Lepore Unn Vibeke Hol
Whisper Karin Kernke S2: Hildegun Riise S3: Unn Vibeke Hol
Measly Pierre Franckh Trond Brænne
Sinuous Franz Rudnick Hallvard Lydvo
Dash Madeleine Stolze
Mossy Ulli Philipp Henrik Mestad
Rek Jan Gebauer
Lustig Peter Fricke
Spike Martin Semmelrogge Henrik Mestad
Fido Alexander Brem Henrik Mestad
Cleo Sabine Bohlmann
Warden's Cat Arne Elsholtz Trond Brænne
Rollo Michael Gahr Trond Brænne
Donkey Wichart von Roell Hallvard Lydvo
Boar Stefan Orlac
Crow Tommi Piper Harald Mæle
Shadow Angelika Bender Liv Bernhoft Osa
Hurkel Helmut Ruge Ivar Nørve
Bruno Benno Hoffmann
Large rat Helmut Krauss
Chief wild cat Ingeborg Lapsien
Tom, the cat Arne Elsholtz
Bats Kathrin Ackermann
Other crow Tommi Piper Ivar Nørve
Young crows Tommi Piper
Shrike Benno Hoffmann
Ferkelchen Andrea L'Arronge

Buzz Books[edit]

These are based upon the Characters in the Television series. Some parts had happened differently.

  • "Farewell to the Wood" (based upon The Wood in Danger)
  • "The Adventure Begins" (based upon The Journey Begins)
  • "Fire" (based upon Through the Fire and Water)
  • "A New Friend" (based upon Friend in Need)
  • "Heroes" (based upon Whistler's Quarry)
  • "The Silent Field" (based upon A Deathly Calm)
  • "The Storm Shelter" (based upon Pandemonium)
  • "Journey's End" (based upon So Near and Yet So Far)
  • "A New Home" (based upon A Hero's Welcome, Winter, and Survival)
  • "Badger in Danger" (based upon Winter, and Survival)
  • "Unwelcome Visitors" (based upon New Enemies)
  • "Spring Awakening" (based upon Home is Where the Heart Is)
  • "Bold" (based upon The Feud Begins)
  • "Trouble in the Park" (based upon Like Father, Like Son, Narrow Escapes, and Shadows)
  • "Showdown" (based upon Blood is Thicker Than Water)
  • "Peace" (based upon Reconciliation)
  • "Strangers in the Park" (based upon Comings and Goings)
  • "The Weasels' Adventure" (based upon The Missing Fox's Friend, Tiffs and Tempers, and The Long Tailed Visitor)
  • "To the Rescue" (based upon The Missing Fox's Friend', Adventure for the Birds,' and Scared by Silly Snakes)
  • "The Rat Spy" (based upon The Long Tailed Visitor and The Mole Game)
  • "What is Buzz Book 21 Called?" (based upon The Worst Kind of Hurricane, Homeward Bound, and Bully, Bully, Bully)

Broadcasts and releases[edit]

In France the programme is known as Les Animaux du Bois de Quat'sous ("The Animals of the Wood of Quat'sous"). It first aired on France 2 in 1994, and in Switzerland at the same time on TSR. It also aired in the following countries:

  • Belgium Belgium (BRTN and RTBF), as Beestenbos is boos (for BRTN) and Les Animaux du Bois de Quat'Sous (for RTBF)
  • Bulgaria Bulgaria (Канал 1), as Животните от старата гора
  • Croatia Croatia (HRT), as Pustolovine Šumske Družine
  • Denmark Denmark (DR), as Dyrene Fra Lilleskoven
  • Finland Finland (YLE), both in Finnish and Swedish, as Kaukametsän Pakolaiset and De Vilda Djurens Flykt respectively
  • Sweden Sweden (SVT), as above
  • Germany Germany (ARD) and Austria (ORF), as Als die Tiere den Wald Verließen
  • Hungary Hungary (MTV), as A Gyűszűnyi Erdő Lakói
  • Republic of Ireland Ireland (RTE), both in English and Irish, the latter as Cairde Na Coille (The Woodland Friends or Friends of/from the Woods)
  • Italy Italy (RAI), as Le avventure del bosco piccolo/Volpe, Tasso e compagnia
  • Netherlands Netherlands (NOS), as Beestenbos is Boos and Het Wakkere Woud
  • Norway Norway (NRK), as Flukta frå Dyreskogen (Season 1) and Dyra frå Hjorteparken (Season 2 and 3) (in Nynorsk)
  • Poland Poland (WOT), as Zwierzęta z Ginącego Lasu, later (Polsat), as Zwierzęta z Zielonego Lasu
  • Portugal Portugal (RTP2), as Animais do Bosque
  • Spain Spain (TVE), as Los Animales del Bosque
  • Turkey Turkey (TRT), as Gürültülü Ormanin Hayvanlari
  • Canada Canada (Télé-Québec) as Les Animaux du Bois de Quat'sous
  • Japan Japan (SATV), as ファージングウッドのなかまたち (Farthingwood no Nakamatachi)

It also aired in Brazil (TV Cultura, Os animais do bosque dos vinténs), featuring Élcio Sodré (Fox), Vanessa Alves (Vixen), Maximira Figueiredo (Owl), Francisco Bretas (Toad), Neuza Azevedo (Mole and Adder), Eudes Carvalho (Badger), Zaíra Zordan (Lady Blue) and Fábio Tomazine (Scarface). The series was broadcast by the ABC in Australia where it also became popular. 26 episodes were also broadcast in Japan by Shizuoka Asahi Television.

Adventures of Fox[edit]

Comes last on the Greatest BBC Children's Video ever along with Fireman Sam, Pingu, Spider, William's Wish Wellingtons, Clangers, Nursery Rhyme Time, Noddy's Toyland Adventures, Funnybones, Hairy Jeremy and The Little Polar Bear. It has clips from the following episodes:

  • Beginning and end of The Wood in Danger (Loggers attack the Wood, Owl informed about the pond filled in, Assembly)
  • Beginning of The Journey Begins (Leaving the Wood)
  • End of Snare for the Unwary (Kestrel spots river, Animals cross River, Fox and Badger hit by driftwood)
  • Beginning of Who Shall Wear the Crown? (Badger found in reeds, Kestrel loses Fox, Animals move on)
  • Some beginning and Middle of New Friends, Old Enemies (Fox arrives at Town, Fox put onto truck, Fox meets Vixen)
  • Some parts of Friend in Need (parts with Hunting, Meeting Big Owl, Searching, Fox Hunt and the ending)

Merchandise[edit]

Apart from books and videos, there was also a Farthing Wood CD and in the mid-1990s, a 130-part magazine for children entitled "Farthing Wood Friends" was also developed. Audio tapes recapping the first two seasons were released, with the story being told to young fox cubs by several of the cast who would also debate the events and mimic some of the other characters.

There are also three TV tie-in books available, one to accompany each of the TV series:

The Animals of Farthing Wood links with Series 1.
The Further Adventures of The Animals of Farthing Wood links with Series 2.
The Animals of Farthing Wood - Spirit of Survival links with Series 3.

These follow the same storylines, but are presented in a comic-strip style.

Watered-down versions of episode storylines were also featured as a running story in 'Farthing Wood Friends', illustrated using photographic stills from the series. Between magazine coverages of second and third series episodes, abridgements of Colin Dann's original stories were used to fill the void, entitled 'Tales From Farthing Wood'. Another book adaptation of the running story employed for series one was released by Ted Smart Publishing, with illustrations by Stuart Trotter.

Episode stories were also abridged for Buzz Books, Reed Children's Books' range of storybooks based on popular children's characters. The Farthing Wood stories in this range started with five books to begin with, then steadily expanded to cover the remainder of series one and series two. Illustrations were produced by William Heinemann in favour of using stills from the series.

Hornby, known mainly for its model railways, produced collectable figurines of the series ensemble, released in batches or 'presentation packs'. They were as follows:

1st Series: Fox, Badger, Mole, Weasel, Toad & Owl

2nd Series: White Stag, Scarface, Kestrel, Adder, Whistler & Rabbit

3rd Series: Bully, Vixen, Plucky, Fido, Cleo, Rollo, Measly, Speedy, Hollow, Hurkel, Dash & Sinuous

The characters were also released in twin packs and later in the run, Hornby produced compatible play-scenes. Early in the run, almost simultaneous with the first series being shown in the UK, they released plush toys of Badger, Fox and Mole. Although these were rare finds in toyshops, they were the subject of a running promotion in 'Farthing Wood Friends', enabling readers to win them.

Despite the show being very popular, the series did not see any form of DVD release until 2009, with the episodes on VHS hard to find up to then (in particular the last two collections). However, there had been an increase in unofficial DVDs available on eBay.[citation needed]

Series 1 came out in France in February 2009.[2]

Series 1 was released in Germany on 25 September 2009,[3] Series 2 was released in Germany on 27 May 2011,[4] and Series 3 was released in Germany on 24 February 2012.[5] The German DVD releases offer both English and German audio options.

Differences between the books and the series[edit]

There are a number of differences between the books and the television series, most notably the changing of a number of characters from male to female. This included Adder, Weasel, Owl and Kestrel, who retained the markings of a male kestrel. Owl had also been known as Tawny Owl in the books. In addition to this, the books featured a family of lizards who became the newts of the television series. New characters like the Shrews, Hurkel and Measley were introduced. Plucky is also changed from being Bold's grandson to his son. There are females that are Males now. They are Sinuous, The Big Owl and Hollow. The Fieldmice are now known as the Mice. Holly is now known as Hollow.

Minor plot changes also exist, such as the order of the pheasant's deaths, the deaths of Badger and Moley, and the motives of certain characters. Scarface has a different reason for attacking the Farthing Animals and Bold leaves the Park after an argument with his father, rather than to find a mate as he does in the books. In contrast to Badger's death, Toad and Mossy survive the television series, the former befriending the rat who killed him in the books. The cause of Sinuous death was also changed. Of the rats, Brat originally returned to the sewers instead of being killed by Sinuous, while Bully had his tail bitten off by Cleo rather than being killed by Vixen.

Scarface and his tribe were rival red foxes in the books. His mate was not also named in the books and her personality is not so developed. Too many red foxes would have been confusing for viewers, so the animators made Scarface and his family distinguishable by making them "blue foxes" (actually "silver foxes", a species with a greyish coat which is normally found only in fur farmings). Speedy was also unnamed. There are also one-episode characters that didn't appear in the books such as The Red Squirrels, Stoat and Scragg the Rat who is killed on his one-time appearance.

The only main plotline that is left out of the series is the plot of The Siege of White Deer Park, in which the character known as 'The Beast' (a big wild cat) attacks the park causing further trouble for the animals' survival. The storyline of this book is presumably removed because of too much horror and peril themes and the sub-plots that occur in the book (such as Badger mistaking Mossy for Mole) are broken down into small plot changes in the other book storylines for the series.

Credits[edit]

  • Based on the Books by: Colin Dann
  • Written by: Alan Case, Steve Walker, Sue Butterworth, Jenny McDade, Gordon Harrison, Elphin Lloyd-Jones, Valerie Georgeson
  • Adapted by: Steve Walker
  • Music Composed by: Detlev Kuhne
  • Theme Music Composed and Arranged by: Dennis Cooper
  • Recorded by: WDR Orchestra, KRO Cologne
  • Directors: Elphin Lloyd-Jones, Philippe LeClerc
  • Assistant Director: Emile Bourget
  • Animation Director: Alan Simpson
  • Character Designs: Elphin Lloyd-Jones, Philippe LeClerc, Patrick Michel
  • Storyboard: Gordon Harrison, Jean Francois Laguionie, Claude Aufrere
  • Backgrounds: Ian Henderson, Richard Mithonard, Valerie Carmona
  • Layouts: Sue Butterworth, Gordon Harrison, Ted Pettengell, Trevor Ricketts, Patrick Michel, Gerard Kiszel, Christian Ragoust
  • Animation: Thomas Barker, Monica Brutton, Alison De Vere, Andy Eraclerus, Christopher Evans, Joan Freestone, Tony Guy, Peter Hale, Arthur Humberstone, Simon Loxton, Fraser MacLean, Charlie MacRae, Janet Nunn, John Perkins, Mike Pocock, Paul Stone, Rosemary Welch, José Xavier
  • Key Animators: Chris Clarke, Gary Hender, Nathalie Biston, Marian Brooks, Valerie Pouyanne, Jean Francois Galataud, Monica Moinar, Lea Movement
  • Assistant Animators: Philippe Archer, Jean-Yves Regnault, Laurence Commeyras, Isabelle Pouyanne, Didier Chenu, Catherine Halvic, Muriel Chevallier, Sega Favre, Sylvia Bottiau, Sim Lignon
  • Trace & Paint: Audrey Hammond, Pat Arthy, Pete Arthy, Lynda Marmont, Chris Jones, Ross Marks, Sharon Martin, Becky New, Vivienne Redmond, Jenni Steers, Dominique Lenoble, Clarie Dame, Nancy Rey, Frederic Jaubert, Suzy Kopp, Sophie Beltran, Brigitte Boursereau, Rodney Crofton, Carole Dorange, Nathalie Finiels, Cathy Gentric, Isabelle Landmann, Claire Larnelle, Cathy Rigall, Maria Stockman, Mireille Valentin
  • Checking: Ann Kotch, Janine Arthy, Isabelle Perrichon
  • Rostrum Camera: Chris Williams, Anthony Hagen, Jacques Armand, Yves Francon, Jean Paul Rossard
  • Software: Animo Cambridge Animation Systems
  • Production Supervisor: Jean-Paul Gaspari
  • Production Coordinator: Dominique Edmond-Marlette
  • Production Accountants: Helmut Breuer, Philippe Marteaux
  • Editing: Theresa Plummer-Andrews, John Daniels, Ken Morgan, Tom Oliver
  • Special Effects: Stephan Hartl, Malcolm Beattie
  • Picture Editor: Fiona Keene
  • Videotape Services: Video Time
  • Line Test Camera: Plaza Synchron
  • Dialogue Editor: John Daniels, Hilary Daniels, Hans-Peter Kaufman
  • Track Readers: Otto Sander, Ulli Philipp, Tilly Lauenstein, Martin Semmelrogge, Helmut Ruge, Wichart V. Roell, Karin Kernke, Franz-Josef Steffens, Stephan Schwartz, Marion Martinzen, Manfred Lehmann, Peter Fricke, Benno Hoffmann, Thomas Reiner, Horst Sachtleben, Michael Habeck, Tommy Piper, Arne Elsholtz, Ingeborg Lapsien, Stefan Orlac
  • Associate Producer: Wolfgang Wegmann
  • Producer: John M. Mills
  • Production: Telemagination (London), Praxinos (Montpeller)
  • EBU Coordinator: Marie-Claire Vionnet
  • Executive Producers: Siegmund Grewenig, Theresa Plummer-Andrews
  • Film Laboratories: European Cineman, Television Year

References[edit]

External links[edit]