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|Created by||Dick King-Smith (Novel)
David Max Freedman
|Written by||David Max Freedman
|Voices of||Whoopi Goldberg
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Executive producer(s)||Brian Cosgrove|
|Running time||11 min|
|Production company(s)||Cosgrove Hall Films
|Original network||ITV Network (CITV)|
|Original release||9 September 1999 – 2000|
|Related shows||Bounty Hamster|
Foxbusters is a British animation very loosely based on the Dick King-Smith book The Fox Busters. It was made by Cosgrove Hall and consists of two series of thirteen 11-minute episodes each, made between 1999 and 2000. The show was co-written by the animation partnership of David Max Freedman and Alan Gilbey, and occasionally with Joel Jessup as a third writer. It was directed by Jon Doyle.
The show is primarily set on Foxearth Farm, a fictional farm based in the English countryside in the West Midlands, which is dominated by a variety of animals, particularly the chickens. The Foxbusters are three chickens, Ransome, Sims and Jeffries, who have the unlikely ability to fly. Each has a different personality; Ransome is the best flyer, Sims is the smartest and Jeffries is the comic relief. The Foxbusters also have the ability to spit grit like machine guns, and drop hard-boiled eggs like they were bombs - and these are used to effect among other methods to keep the hungry pack of foxes in Foxearth Forest at bay.
The arguments and conversations between the chickens makes an effective comedy. The foxes' attempts to get the better of the chickens are often unsuccessful, but they add a lot of humour to the show. The show itself is laden with gags and action, and is of a quality, which led to its receiving two major awards in 2000. One was a BAFTA for 'Best Animated Series' and the other was from the British Animation Awards for 'Best Children's Series'.
Despite being a critical success, the show did not enjoy the same level of commercial success as some of its competitors and ended in 2000 after just two series. In spite of this, the series is still fondly remembered by fans.
List of main characters
- Ransome - The best flyer of the Foxbusters, Ransome is cocky and arrogant; she has the biggest fanbase on the farmyard and is often looking for new ways to impress the other farm animals. She is often seen arguing with her sister Sims, and has a big ego. Unlike her British-accented sisters, she speaks in an African-American accent, due to being voiced by Whoopi Goldberg.
- Sims - The oldest, thinnest and smartest of the three sisters, Sims organises the ways the Foxbusters co-ordinate their defences on the farmyard against the foxes, and is often conniving new and inventive ways of deferring the foxes from the farm. She is the most serious of the sisters. She is voiced by Joanna Lumley.
- Jeffries - Jeffries, being the fat least capable flyer, makes her mark as the comedian of the trio. She is typically on the outside and doesn't want to seriously harm the foxes, but still defends the farm with the same vigour as her sisters when she has to. She is even friendly with Todd, one of the foxes (who is also ironically on the outside) as shown in Winging It. She is voiced by Jane Horrocks.
- King Voracious - The leader of the foxes and main antagonist of the series, Voracious is a large, handsome and charismatic red fox who is a somewhat unstable character. He sometimes appears to lose authority in the pack of foxes, but at the same time still leads them into constantly (and unsuccessfully) trying to get the better of the chickens. Despite being a fox, his appearance and model is more similar to that of a wolf.
- Attila - A young and ragged fox who notably only has one eye (how he lost his other eye is never explained), Attila is devious and cunning, but is also rather volatile, especially whenever his plans go wrong (as they often do). He is also the most likely of all the other foxes to succeed King Voracious, should Voracious lose influence. He has occasionally shown a more lighthearted and more playful side despite all this. He is usually scheming with his sister, Evita.
- Evita - A young vixen who is Attila's sister and as such they are often seen working together. She is typically humourless and practical like Attila, but has too the occasional scenes of comic relief. She is in a relationship with a fox called Vlad.
- Todd - Often working together with Attila and Evita, Todd is nothing like most of the other foxes. He is not very smart and is often accident prone. He also does not seem to understand why the other foxes are trying to capture the chickens and thus acts neutrally, but often is seen helping out in the foxes' plans, and undoing of them.
- Voracity - Voracious' mate. She is pompous, arrogant and she does not get on with Voracious very well (although the feeling is mutual).
- Ghengis - A fox cub who is Voracious' and Voracity's son. He rarely speaks, and instead appears to be more interested in biting any living thing that comes near him. Thus the other foxes are very reluctant to babysit him, as he is also hard to entertain.
- Volpone - One of the oldest foxes in the forest and Voracious' father. Is occasionally left with the unpopular task of babysitting Ghengis. Like Voracious, he looks different from the other foxes. Though unlike him, his appearance is of a brown coyote.
Other recurring characters
- Rotter - A devious and unnaturally terrestrial otter who is a recurring character in some of the episodes, serving as a middle man between the foxes and the farmyard animals. Rotter craves for chicken eggs instead of fish and small mammals like real world otter. He believes that he is a skilled eggthief and has even tried plotting on turning the foxes and chickens against each other for his own benefit, but is often found out before he can fulfil his plans. He also has a romantic interest in a female otter, named Carlotta, who occasionally has even outsmarted him.
- Icky - Ransome, Sims and Jeffries' older brother. Icky is constantly envious of his sisters taking all of the glory for tackling the fox problem on the farm. He is rather clumsy and easily gets carried away. This leads to him into getting into a fight with King Voracious, only for his sisters to rescue him.
- Dog - The farmer's sheepdog who has a good relationship with all of the farmyard animals, and as such is in command of the farmer's sheep. He is usually seen with the farmer. He was elected to be leader of the farm by a landslide (his opponents were Ransome and Sims respectively), but soon resigned when he realised he could not fulfil the promises he made, and subsequently handed the role of leader back to the Foxbusters.
- Farmer Farmer - The constantly cheerful owner of Foxearth Farm, Farmer Farmer is totally oblivious to the fox problem in the nearby forest and the fact that three of his chickens can fly. He spends most of his time with his dog, lazing about and eating picnics in the nearby fields, but is occasionally seen doing farmwork.
List of voice actors
- Whoopi Goldberg - Ransome
- Jane Horrocks - Jeffries
- Joanna Lumley - Sims/Evita/Voracity
- Jimmy Hibbert - Voracious/Attila/Volpone/Rotter/Various others
- Rob Rackstraw - Tod/Ghengis/Farmer Farmer/Various others
Series 1 (1999)
|At a party, Sims finds the charming cockrel Wilby who lures her to the treacherous foxes. Ransome rescues Sims and the Foxbusters repel the fox invasion.|
|2||"Where Egos Dare"||16/09/1999|
|After a lot of showing off, Ransome lands herself right into the foxes, then her comrades get caught. The Foxbusters escape after they cause the foxes to squabble.|
|Todd accidentally flies on a glider, which impresses the foxes and catches the Foxbusters by surprise. On his third flight Jeffries rescues him from the jealous King Voracious.|
|4||"Icky's Sticky Situation"||30/09/1999|
|Icky feels jealous of his sisters and gets himself into a challenge with the foxes. With discrete help from his sisters, Icky is convinced he beat the fox pack.|
|5||"A Fete Worse Than Death"||07/10/1999|
|The Farmer gets a new hen called Blue, who is very snooty and conceited. A capture from the foxes followed by a Foxbuster rescue teaches Blue a lesson.|
|6||"Follow My Leader"||14/10/1999|
|The sheep become in awe of Ransome for saving a lamb. Voracious uses this ruse to turn the sheep against the Foxbusters, but Dog takes care of that and gets back his job.|
|7||"The Ring Cycle"||21/10/1999|
|Fabio's nose ring is swiped by a magpie. As the Foxbusters pursue the magpie, the ring is tossed all around the forest going from one person to another until Fabio reclaims it.|
|8||"The Trojan Chicken"||28/10/1999|
|Rotter gives the foxes failed passages to the barnyard via a Trojan Chicken, whilst tipping the Foxbusters in return for some eggs. When both sides see they've been duped, they deliver payback to Rotter.|
|The foxes have been kidnapping rabbits and forcing them to dig a tunnel to the farmyard. The Foxbusters get trapped entering the tunnels until Moleier rescues them and they all thwart the foxes' scheme.|
|10||"See The Dog, See The Dog Run"||11/11/1999|
|A long democratic campaign battle ends up with Dog winning leadership of the Foxbusters, which backfires when the foxes come for their gain. The Foxbusters regain their positions and fight off the fox invasion.|
|11||"The Long Walk Home"||18/11/1999|
|12||"Three Hens And A Baby"||25/11/1999|
|The little fox cub Genghis strays from the pack and ends up at the farmyard and regards Sims as his mother. After the foxes pay a ridiculous ransom, Sims reluctantly hands back Genghis.|
|13||"Passing The Buck"||02/12/1999|
Series 2 (2000)
|Sims' new invention accidentally makes King Voracious huge and Ransome dinky till she travels through space. After an escalating growth battle between Sims, Jeffries and Voraciou,s they grow the earth to fit their scale.|
|3||"Day Of The Hunter"||15/9/2000|
|Hunter Hawk is about to have the Foxbusters grounded, but they thwart his attempt. They then have to rescue Hunter's wife and child from the foxes.|
|4||"Fear Of Flying"||22/9/2000|
|5||"The Not So Great Escape"||29/9/2000|
|Todd gets taken by accident into the farm. He has no luck escaping and ends up being staying there mistaken for a chicken.|
|The Foxbusters get all foxes and vixens to fall in love to create a ceasefire, but it only improves their efforts against the chickens. The Foxbusters get the couples to break up.|
|7||"Eggs, Lies And Videotape"||13/10/2000|
|A zoologist is astounded by the flying Foxbuster hens. The Foxbusters try to avoid a flying pose for the zoologist's camera until they give him flying foxes to film.|
|8||"Of Mice And Hen"||20/10/2000|
|Jeffries is starting to feel overlooked. She goes on a freelance mission to rescue field mice from an owl. After she rescues them, they all rescue Sims and Ransome from the foxes.|
|9||"Some Like It Otter"||27/10/2000|
|Carlotta is through with Rotter and moves in with the Foxbusters. Rotter uses this as an opportunity to grab some eggs. Then Carlotta double crosses everybody.|
|Ransome has been taken away to an automatic farm, which acts like a prison. All Ransome's attempts to escape fail until she makes the systems go haywire.|
|King Voracious has enough of chicken fighting and declares peace with the Foxbusters, but both Sims and Volpone break it all up.|
|12||"One Paw In The Grave"||17/11/2000|
|13||"In The Beak-ginning"||24/11/2000|
|Sims tells an ugly duckling a story of how she and her sisters were raised by traditionalist parents and became a disgrace to the farmyard due to their flying talent, but gained their placed after rescuing the hens from the fox pack and gained the title as Foxbusters.|
In 2003 the first series was released in the UK on DVD. The second series has currently not been released.