The Main Characters from The Ferals
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||30|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Original channel||ABC TV
|Original run||11 April 1994 – 26 June 1995|
The Ferals was an Australian children's comedy television series created by Wendy Gray and Claire Henderson and produced by the ABC. It ran from 1994 to 1995, and it featured a mixture of people and animal puppets known as the "Ferals." It was lauded for its irreverent humour and distinctive characters, some of which still feature today on ABC programming. Garth Frost was responsible for the puppet design. the series was still continued to be repeated on the ABC and ABC1 until 23 January 2004.
The Ferals are an eclectic group of animals that live together in a backyard shed. There's a rat called Rattus, a feral cat called Modigliana, a rabbit called Mixy, and a feral dog called Derryn. The humans are two university students, and their landlord, who clash with each other and the Ferals. They include the uptight, neurotic landlord Joe who is determined to remove the ferals from his garden; the affable science student Leonard, and medical student Robbie, who attempt to shield the ferals from eviction, but are sometimes exasperated with their antics.
There were also the 'Bogans From The Bush' as Modigliana liked to call them, Keith, a koala and Kylie, a kangaroo. These two characters often clashed with the Ferals, thinking they were above them due to their status as native Australian animals. They were also quite nasal and whiney in their characteristics. Other characters included White Ants (Tina Bursill, Robert Hughes), Rock Wrangler (Tina Matthews) and Fat Cat (Taylor Owens)
- Rattus P. Rattus (He's the leader of the bunch) Puppeteer - David Collins: The leather-jacket wearing leader of the ferals, Rattus is a black rat with a mischievous sense of humour and a love of foul odours. He enjoys taunting the cat Modigliana ("fur ball"), but is often thumped in return. He is obsessed with procuring a car of his own, often concocting several outlandish schemes to acquire one and jumping at any opportunity that will provide even the slightest chance of getting one.
- Modigliana (She's fluffy, but she's tough) Puppeteer - Mal Heap: A preening cat, Modigliana is also self-confident, tough and forceful, frequently clashing with Rattus. She has parallels with the Muppets character Miss Piggy, albeit with more manginess and violence.
- Derryn (A Dopey Dog) Puppeteer - Terry Ryan: Derryn is a dog who is not the brightest of the bunch and has a habit of forgetting where he buried his bone, but does occasionally show flashes of brilliance.
- Mixy (A Muddled up, mixed up Bunny) Puppeteer - Emma DeVries: Mixy is a sweet, cute carrot-loving pink rabbit, but can sometimes be neurotic. In line with the subversive black humour of the show, Mixy is named after the myxomatosis disease, introduced to Australia to reduce the population of feral rabbits.
- Joe King (played by Mig Ayesa): The Ferals' conceited, self-centered landlord who is forever trying to evict the Ferals from the shed. He is also often trying to get high-flying jobs.
- Leonard (played by Brian Rooney): Leonard is a science student who is always coming up with inventions, which rarely work.
- Robbie (played by Kylle Hogart): Robbie is a medicine student, who loves playing the guitar, and dreams of travelling the world with a rock band.
- Keith Puppeteer - Mal Heap: Keith is a koala, who loves eating gum leaves, sleeping, and playing his mum's old harmonica.
- Kylie Puppeteer - Kelly Wallwork (Season 1), Danielle Baker (Season 2): Kylie is a kangaroo, who often has to help Keith out of trouble. She also fights frequently with Modigliana.
30 episodes were produced:
Season 1 (1994)
|#||Title||Original Air Date|
|1||"A Explosion of Talent"||11 April 1994|
|New odious Landlord Joe King moves in and now owns the Ferals' shed so they have to try and get in his good books so he won't throw them out.|
|2||"The Ghost of Ironbark Lill"||18 April 1994|
|An urban legend of a local ghost named "Ironbark Lill" may not be just a legend after all. Well not if Joe or the Ferals have anything to do with it.|
|3||"Couch Potatoes"||25 April 1994|
|The Ferals want a new television, but Joe won't give it to them, so they decide to have their own game show of "Pay The Price" where the stakes are that Joe gets the television if he loses but if he wins, the Ferals move out of the shed.|
|4||"Buried Treasure"||2 May 1994|
|The Ferals find Buried Treasue that turns out to be only Chocolate Coins. Meanwhile Joe is hoping to sell his house.|
|5||"Wags to Riches"||9 May 1994|
|6||"Happy Birthday!"||16 May 1994|
|Joe makes the Ferals do chores to earn their keep for staying in the shed. Leonard's birthday is coming and Robbie decides to use Joe's house for a party while he's out, will it all go to plan?|
|7||"Fifteen Seconds of Fame"||23 May 1994|
|The gang are trying to be noticed with their talents on television, Leonard and Robbie with their magic act and The Ferals with Modigliana's Country Western singing.|
|8||"Rock Horror"||30 May 1994|
|A living pet rock causes trouble for the Ferals.|
|9||"Modigliana"||6 June 1994|
|An X-ray shows Modigliana to have brain damage, but the gang later find out what's really been going on.|
|10||"Exam Fever"||13 June 1994|
|Dopey Derryn drinks an intelligence elixer that makes him extremely clever, much to everyone's amazement.|
|11||"Double Trouble"||20 June 1994|
|As if one Rattus wasn't trouble enough! Rattus and Joe's 'get-rich-quick' scheme goes awfully wrong — it's just as well that the Digital Duplicator has a reverse mode.|
|12||"The Rat in the Moon"||27 June 1994|
|Things go haywire when the Ferals think aliens have invaded.|
|13||"True Romance"||4 July 1994|
|It's Valentines Day which is supposed to be a day of love, but turns into a day of frenzy with the Ferals involved.|
|14||"April Fools"||11 July 1994|
|It's April Fools day and everyone is suspicious of each other's practical jokes. But Rattus has an even bigger joke planned for them.|
|15||"Seasons Greedings"||18 July 1994|
|It's Christmas and the Ferals are anxious to get their presents. Meanwhile Joe has made up a very special Christmas dinner that doesn't turn out to be as happy as he thought.|
Season 2 (1995)
|#||Title||Original Air Date|
|1||"The Dentist"||20 March 1995|
|Rattus is entering a cheese-eating competition, but when he suffers from toothache, the Ferals must resort to various measures- culminating in having Mixy posing as Rattus- to keep the competition going due to Rattus's fear of the dentist.|
|2||"Man's Best Friend"||27 March 1995|
|The health inspector pays a surprise visit. Which can only means one thing - he has come to discover if any Feral animals are currently living on the property, which means trouble for Derryn.|
|3||"A Change is a Good as a Holiday"||3 April 1995|
|Robbie goes away on a holiday. Wanting to have her flat to themselves for the Winter, the Ferals decide to trick Lenny into going away as well. The problem is - once they are gone - they totally trash the place.|
|4||"Home Truths"||10 April 1995|
|Robbie and Leonard lock up the Ferals' shed until they can pay to rebuild the damage caused to their flat.|
|5||"Rent A Pet"||17 April 1995|
|When Rattus borrows money from Joe in all the Ferals' names, they are all deep in debt and have to do several jobs to get the money back. Meanwhile Leonard creates a special Robot and Joe sees this as another get rich quick scheme.|
|6||"Let's Get Physical"||24 April 1995|
|7||"School's Out"||1 May 1995|
|The Ferals must pass an exam or else be sent to School. Luckily Robbie and Leonard are on hand to help them out...|
|8||"Rich and Infamous"||8 May 1995|
|Joe's won the lottery of a million dollars, so the Ferals, Robbie and Leonard use this to their advantage to buy stuff in his name, until they find out what he's really won and destroy Joe's new car.|
|9||"Feral TV"||15 May 1995|
|The Ferals decide to cheat to get on television.|
|10||"Mixy Mania"||22 May 1995|
|Robbie has entered 'Totally Cool's' talent competition. But so has Mixy — and she's taped over Robbie's entry! When Mixy ends up winning the competition, the promise of stardom goes to her head, and sets feral against feral in the battle for the spotlight.|
|11||"Ratty Ratty Bang Bang!"||29 May 1995|
|Joe has a part time job in a Food warehouse — and he's bringing home the goodies! When it is discovered that a coin-sized terrorist bomb has been planted somewhere in the food, there's mayhem because Rattus is ticking...!|
|12||"Four Ferals and a Wedding"||5 June 1995|
|Joe falls in love, but his relationship is complicated by his attempts to keep the Ferals away from the bride|
|13||"Prime Suspect"||12 June 1995|
|After watching some strange goings on at Robbie and Leonard's flat, Mixy thinks that Robbie is a murderer.|
|14||"Joe's Army"||19 June 1995|
|To get back at the Ferals for stealing a turn in their car, Keith and Kylie take over their favourite rubbish tip. The Ferals turn to Joe (who is currently an army cadet in training) for help, but things get worse when he switches sides, kidnaps Mixy and Kylie steals Leonard's new invention: The Solar Neutronic Integrated Force Field.|
|15||"Fossil Fools"||26 June 1995|
|When Derryn finds a dinosaur bone buried near the shed, the Ferals decide to open a dinosaur theme park with Joe as their partner. But Joe gets greedy and is determined to find more bones even if it means destroying their home and Robbie and Leonard's flat in the process. (Final Episode of the Series)|
Later in 1995 a five-minute show called Feral TV was launched. The Ferals had been exploring the sewers, and had discovered the cable to a TV station. They started their own TV channel, calling it Feral TV, running under the TV boss Kerry, a loud gruff toad with an explosive temper, and his obsequious assistant the cockroach Rodney. Kerry's character is modelled on the Australian media magnate Kerry Packer, who at the time, was the owner of Channel Nine. Keith from the original show also returned for this show.
After the Ferals
Although few of the human actors went on to achieve successful television careers, some of the puppet characters continue to feature regularly in ABC programming. Mixy, in particular, was used as a host introducing the shows on the ABC Kids programming block, as well as having her own show and website. Rattus and Modigliana were featured in the ABC School's education maths program, "Numbers Count". Also Modigliana went on to feature as co-host of the show Creature Features.