Shaun the Sheep
|Shaun the Sheep|
Slice of life
|Created by||Nick Park|
Wallace & Gromit and A Close Shave|
by Nick Park
Jo Allen (First Series)
|Theme music composer||Mark Thomas|
|Opening theme||"Life's a Treat"|
|Ending theme||"Life's a Treat (Instrumental Version)"|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||
1 (special) (list of episodes)
For Aardman Animations: |
Julie Lockhart (series 1)|
Gareth Owen (series 2)
John Woolley (series 3 and 4)
|Running time||7 minutes|
BBC One (special)
16:9 widescreen PAL (576i) (2007)|
16:9 HDTV (1080i) (2009–10, 2013–16)
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||5 March 2007– 18 November 2016|
Shaun the Sheep is a British stop-motion animated television series and spin-off of the Wallace and Gromit franchise, from the 1995 short film A Close Shave. The series stars Shaun and his madcap adventures around a small farm as the leader of his flock.
Having first aired in the UK on CBBC in March 2007 and broadcast in 180 countries globally, the series consists of 150 seven-minute episodes. The fifth series contains 20 episodes and has been aired in the Netherlands from 1 December 2015 until 1 January 2016.
The series inspired its own spin-off, Timmy Time, which follows the adventures of Shaun's small cousin and is aimed at younger viewers. A feature-length film, titled Shaun the Sheep Movie, was released theatrically in 2015. A 30-minute film, titled Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer's Llamas, was aired as a 2015 Christmas TV special. Pre-production for the second feature-length film, titled Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie, began in January 2017.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Production
- 3 Characters
- 4 Episodes
- 5 Reception
- 6 References to popular culture
- 7 Spin-off
- 8 Other media
- 9 DVDs
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Shaun, an unusually bright and clever sheep, lives with his flock at Mossy Bottom Farm, a traditional small northern English farm. In each episode, their latest attempt to add excitement to their dull mundane life as livestock somehow snowballs into a fantastic sitcom-style escapade, most often with the help of their fascination with human doings and devices. This usually brings them into conflict—and often into partnership—with the farm sheepdog Bitzer, while they all are simultaneously trying to avoid discovery by the Farmer.
The show was 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 has aired on CBBC in the UK from 2007 onward.
Each seven-minute episode is entirely shot in Aardman's distinctive stop-motion animation style. The comedic tone is a combination of slapstick and classic silent comedy, similar to that used in the Wallace & Gromit shorts. In this series, there is not much spoken dialogue at all, even from the human characters; simple grunts, bleats, pointing, sighs, mutterings, words, and similar wordless inflections are all used to indicate each character's moods and motives. There are also no readable words in any episode, although "Bitzer" can be seen on a dog bowl, and—in series four--"Mossy Bottom Farm" on a gate, in the original English-language title sequence. All other signage, such as on a pizza box or a bus stop, is replaced by an illegible scrawl and a picture.
Shaun the Sheep's first appearance was 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 being turned into dog food. He was named Shaun as a pun on the word "shorn" after he was accidentally subjected to Wallace's automated sheep shearing machine. This early version of Shaun shows a hint of his characteristic human-like bravado—among other things, wearing a sweater knitted from his own shorn wool—and he proves to be a major help in saving the day.
At the end of this short, Shaun and the entire flock are seen living with the duo; Shaun later made a brief cameo appearance in the "Shopper 13" episode of Wallace & Gromit's "Cracking Contraptions" web series. No official explanation has been given for the flock's later transfer to the farm.
Shaun also appears alongside Wallace and Gromit in a Japanese commercial for Glico, where he steals a pudding off Wallace's plate.
- Shaun is the protagonist of the series and, despite being the skinniest of them all, the leader of the flock. He is a clever, confident sheep, prone to mischief but equally adept at getting himself and/or his friends out of it. As there is no dialogue, like all the sheep he communicates entirely through bleating, and often explains his ideas to the flock by drawing diagrams on a blackboard. He has a good friendship with Bitzer, though this does not stop him from playing pranks on him at times.
- Bitzer is the farmer's loyal, long-suffering sheepdog, dressed for work in a blue knit cap, black collar, knitted wristlet and large official-looking wrist-watch, carrying a clipboard and walking upright or on all fours as needed. He communicates, canine-fashion, via barks, growls, and the occasional whimper. He also gives instructions to the flock by blowing a whistle. Despite a tendency to be caught out listening to music, he takes his job very seriously, to the point of occasionally letting his power go to his head. He is however a generally good friend to Shaun and does his best to keep the whole flock out of trouble.
- The Farmer is a bespectacled, balding man who runs the farm with Bitzer at his side and acts as the flock's primary if unwitting nemesis. His livestock's main concern is to ensure he remains completely oblivious to their unusual sentience, a task made easier by his conventional, unobservant nature but complicated by his enthusiasm for picking up new hobbies. He can be heard frequently making wordless noises or muttering under his breath just audibly enough for the viewer to pick up on his meaning. His disastrous attempts at dating are a running joke of the series. In the 2015 movie, he is referred to as Mr. X by those who don't know his identity.
- Shirley is the largest member of the flock. A gentle giant, she is usually seen placidly eating, though she's intimidating enough to have defended Shaun from Pidsley the cat. She's so big that large objects routinely disappear into (or are deliberately hidden in) her fleece, and she quite often gets stuck herself, needing the other sheep to push, pull or even sling-shot her out of trouble. However, her size can also come in very handy when what's needed is a battering ram or similarly immovable object.
- Timmy, Shaun's cousin, is the flock's only lamb, and thus often the innocent centre of the chaos. He appears to be a toddler in this series, and is often seen sucking a dummy. The spinoff series Timmy Time chronicles his later adventures in preschool.
- Timmy's Mother, Shaun's aunt, wears curlers in her topknot and is a bit careless about maternal duties, even using Timmy once as a makeshift paint brush. But when her offspring goes astray, she is inconsolable until he is safely back in her care.
- Nuts is quite an eccentric, but useful sheep and usually like the rest of the flock, accompanies and helps Shaun. But the thing that makes him stand out from the flock is that he has two different shaped eyes and a different shaped nose.
- Hazel, Hazel's nerves often get the better of her – she's a timid little sheep who jumps at the slightest thing and can frequently be heard bleating nervously. When Farmer's caravan rolls off towards the city, Hazel can barely contain her fear – this is the stuff of nightmares! But when she finds herself carried along with the rest of the Flock in hot pursuit of a runaway caravan, Hazel discovers she's much braver than she ever imagined, and that while life in the city might be scary, it's good to face your fears every now and again.
- The Flock, like typical sheep, tend to follow Shaun and one another, are obedient to orders and generally form one big happy if sometimes fractious family group. Unlike Shaun, however, they are not particularly bright, which becomes a problem when combined with their ongoing fascination with the human world. It's usually Shaun and Bitzer who sort out the resulting mess.
- The Naughty Pigs, whose pen is adjacent to the sheepfield, are bullies to Shaun and his flock, always trying to antagonize them and get them into trouble. They are, however, scared of Bitzer (though they still take the chance to bully him whenever possible), and they get told off by the Farmer in "Pig Trouble".
- Pidsley is the Farmer's orange cat, a minor character (without fur) in Series 1 and the main antagonist of Series 2. He desires to be the sole recipient of the Farmer's attention, and thus is jealous of Bitzer. He also dislikes the sheep, thinking of them as stupid and beneath him.
- Mower Mouth the Goat, who first appears in the episode of the same name, is an unstoppable eating machine. While not an unfriendly character, all his considerable energy is focused on his next meal. He thus routinely causes trouble for Shaun and the flock, as also seen in "Shaun the Farmer" and "Saturday Night Shaun".
- 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".
- The Ducks make frequent appearances. In the first series, a single 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; in series three, they have once again been replaced with a single, pure white duck.
- The Aliens appear in "Shaun Encounters", "The Visitor" and "Cat Got Your Brain" and briefly in "Spring Lamb". They are green and have one large eye on the top of the head. Despite their clearly advanced scientific technology—which frequently causes trouble for the farm animals—they exhibit human-like behaviour and generally jovial personalities.
- The Granny is a short-tempered, short-sighted old lady, appearing 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. She is renowned for hitting people (or animals) with her handbag when they annoy her by mistake.
- The Pizza Delivery Boy is a young man who rides a moped (which Bitzer often "borrows" to chase after the sheep) and works in the local pizzeria. He also works as a postman in "Saturday Night Shaun".
- The Farmer's Girlfriend appears for the first time in Series 2. She appears to be adventurous and an animal lover, patting Bitzer and Shaun and offering food to Timmy.
- The Farmer's Niece appears in "The Farmer's Niece", "Bitzer's New Hat" and "The Rabbit". She appears to be a fan of horses and causes irritation to Shaun, Bitzer and the flock. The Farmer's Niece is also a spoiled brat, as she screams and wails every time things don't go her way. She is also one of the few humans who know what the flock are up to.
The first two series consisted of 40 seven-minute episodes each, and the third 20 episodes. The fourth series debuted on 3 February 2014. The fifth series aired in ABC Australia in January 2016. A series of 15 1-minute 3D shorts were released on Nintendo's Video service for the Nintendo 3DS between March and June 2012. The Nintendo shorts will be released in early 2016 on the official Shaun the Sheep YouTube channel under the name "Mossy Bottom Farm Shorts". Another series of 21 1-minute sports-themed shorts, named Championsheeps, aired on CBBC during the Summer of 2012.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||41||5 March 2007||15 September 2007|
|2||40||23 November 2009||17 December 2010|
|3||20||25 February 2013||21 March 2013|
|4||30||3 February 2014||19 December 2014|
|5||20||5 September 2016||18 November 2016|
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."
Gareth Owen, the producer of the series, said Shaun the Sheep is aimed at viewers "aged four to seven, though in reality, the age range is four to 87", as the series became popular among all different age-groups.
Charles Arthur wrote "classic Aardman style that leaves me laughing out loud."
|Award||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result|
|British Academy Children's Awards||Animation in 2010||Gareth Owen, Richard Webber, Chris Sadler||Won|
|British Academy Children's Awards||Animation in 2014||Richard Starzak, Jay Grace, John Woolley||Won|
|British Academy Children's Awards||Animation in 2015||John Woolley, Steve Box, Lee Wilton||Nominated|
|International Emmy Awards||Kids:Animation||Won|
|British Academy Children's Awards||Animation in 2016||Nominated|
References to popular culture
As with the series' parent show Wallace and Gromit, there are many allusions to other aspects of popular culture and 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 Psycho is spoofed in the episode "The Little Sheep of Horrors", whose name is itself based on the film and play The Little Shop of Horrors.
- In "Hiccups", Shaun turns his guitar amplifier up to 11 in a reference to a scene in This Is Spinal Tap.
- In "Fleeced", at the beginning of the episode the farmer switches on the shearing machine in front of the frightened flock. This is a very obvious reference to Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, especially when the farmer grabs a sheep, drags it into the shearing room and jerkily closes the metal door after him. By comparison, in the corresponding scene from the same film, the crazy masked killer with a chainsaw captures his poor victim in his killing room and jerkily closes its metal doors after him. When the sheep break out during the same episode, the accompanying music is very reminiscent of British World War II prisoner of war films (e.g., The Great Escape).
- In "The Visitor", the alien thrashes his car with a tree branch à la Basil Fawlty.
- In "Mountains out of Molehills" a sheep is reading a magazine called "Bleat", a spoof of celebrity gossip magazine "Heat". In the same episode, Shaun tries to catch a 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 "Nessun Dorma" theme from Puccini's opera Turandot is used, which was the musical theme of the BBC's coverage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup. The episode itself featured Shaun and the rest of the flock engaging in a football game with Bitzer as the referee.
- 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 it 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 "Bitzer from the Black Lagoon", Shaun cannot start the Farmer's truck and hits his head on the horn to get it started. This is a reference to a similar scene in Back to the Future.
- 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", when the power supply to the farmhouse blows up, the Farmer grabs an axe and chops his wind turbine in a similar fashion to The Shining.
- In "Shaun Encounters", two alien kids throw a bone for Bitzer. He catches the bone to Also sprach Zarathustra music. The scene is close related to the first scene with the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- In "Pig Trouble," the background music when the Farmer makes the pigs in charge of the flock is the song "If I Had Words". This is a reference to the movie Babe, which is about a pig becoming a sheep-herding pig.
Beginning in 2009, Aardman Animations produced a spin-off CBeebies series aimed at pre-schoolers, based on Timmy's own small adventures as he attends preschool for the first time and learns how to interact and play with a variety of young animal friends.
Aardman developed a feature film Shaun the Sheep Movie, written and directed by Richard Starzak and Mark Burton, which was financed by French StudioCanal, which was released on 6 February 2015. The film received very positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 99% of critics have given the film a positive review. The film opened to $3.2 million in the UK and grossed $22 millon in the UK and $106 million worldwide.
On 14 September 2015, StudioCanal announced it is working with Aardman on a sequel. On 25 October 2016, Aardman announced that pre-production on the film, titled Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie, will begin in January 2017. Richard Starzak, director of the first film, will also return for the sequel.
On 16 June 2008, D3 Publisher of America, which had previously published a game based on Aardman's 2006 film Flushed Away, announced that it would also release a video game based on Shaun's escapades. 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 web site is also home to several Flash-based games, including Home Sheep Home, which was also made available at the iOS App Store for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad in April 2011. A sequel, Home Sheep Home 2, was released in December 2011 for Windows PCs, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It was released on the Steam digital distribution platform for Windows PCs in February 2014.
On 9 March 2011, Shaun the Sheep made its live theatre début in Shaun's Big Show. The 100-minute-long musical/dance show features all the regular characters, including Bitzer, Shirley and Timmy.
Shaun the Sheep Experience
In 2015, a family attraction based on Shaun the Sheep, called "The Shaun the Sheep Experience" opened at Lands End, rebranded "Lamb's End" for the duration of the attraction. It features original sets, models, and characters from many Aardman productions. Using green screen technology, guests are able to "star" in a scene from the show, as well as meet other characters from the Aardman filmography including Wallace and Gromit, as well as Morph.
On 26 September 2013, the International Rugby Board and Aardman Animations announced that Shaun and other characters from the franchise would be used in a merchandising programme to promote the 2015 Rugby World Cup to children.
In 2015, Shaun the Sheep appeared as the face of the "Holidays at Home are Great" directive. In the advert, seeing the Farmer going away, Shaun and the flock decide to have their own holiday around the UK before the Farmer got back.
Shaun in the City
In 2015, Shaun the Sheep starred in two public charity arts trails to raise money for sick children in hospitals across the UK. Organised by Wallace & Gromit's Children's Foundation in collaboration with Aardman, Shaun in the City saw 50 giant artist and celebrity-decorated sculptures of Shaun appear in London in the spring, before a further 70 appeared in Bristol throughout the summer. All 120 sculptures were auctioned in October 2015, raising £1,087,900 for Wallace & Gromit's Grand Appeal and Wallace & Gromit's Children's Charity.
Shaun the Sheep Land
Region 2 (Europe)
|DVD name||# of episodes||Release date|
|Shaun the Sheep: Shape Up With Shaun (8 Baa...rilliant Adventures!)||8||12 September 2007; Re-Release: 23 July 2018|
|Shaun the Sheep: Off The Baa! (8 Woolly Adventures!)||8||12 November 2007; Re-Release: 23 July 2018|
|Shaun the Sheep: The Box Set! (Includes Shape Up With Shaun (8 Baa...rilliant Adventures!) and Off The Baa! (8 Woolly Adventures!) DVDs)||16||12 November 2007|
|Shaun the Sheep: Saturday Night Shaun (Fleece Is The Word!)||8||10 March 2008; Re-Release: 23 July 2018|
|Shaun the Sheep: Abracadabra||8||20 October 2008; Re-Release: 23 July 2018|
|Shaun the Sheep: Wash Day||8||17 November 2008; Re-Release: 23 July 2018|
|Shaun the Sheep: Triple Pack (Includes Saturday Night Shaun (Fleece Is The Word!), Abracadabra and Wash Day DVDs)||24||17 November 2008|
|Shaun the Sheep: The Complete First Series||40||17 November 2008|
|Shaun the Sheep: Spring Lamb||8||29 March 2010|
|Shaun the Sheep: Two's Company||8||6 September 2010|
|Shaun the Sheep: Party Animals||8||8 November 2010|
|Shaun the Sheep: The Gift Set (Includes 3 DVDs: Spring Lamb, Two's Company and Party Animals)||24||8 November 2010|
|Shaun the Sheep: The Big Chase||8||4 April 2011|
|Shaun the Sheep: We Wish Ewe A Merry Christmas||8||3 October 2011|
|Shaun the Sheep: The Complete Second Series||40||3 October 2011|
|Shaun the Sheep: Spring Cleaning||10||7 April 2014|
|Shaun the Sheep: Shear Heat||10||21 July 2014|
|Shaun the Sheep: Christmas Bleatings||10||3 November 2014|
|Shaun the Sheep: Flock To The Floor||10||26 January 2015|
|Shaun the Sheep: Picture Perfect||10||30 March 2015|
|Shaun the Sheep Movie||1 Movie||1 June 2015|
|Shaun the Sheep: Complete Series 3&4 Boxset||50||24 October 2015|
|Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer's Llamas||1 Special + 15 Shorts||8 February 2016|
|Shaun the Sheep: Pizza Party||10||13 February 2017|
|Shaun the Sheep: Spoilsport||10||10 April 2017|
|Shaun the Sheep: 10 Years (Episodes Re-Release)||10||12 February 2018|
Region 1 (U.S. and Canada)
- Off the Baa! (11 November 2008): 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
- Back in the Ba-a-ath (10 February 2009): Shape Up with Shaun / Bathtime / Fetching / Take Away / Still Life / Scrumping / Stick With Me / The Kite
- Sheep on the Loose (9 June 2009): Sheep on the Loose / Saturday Night Shaun / Tidy Up / Shaun the Farmer / Camping Chaos / If You Can't Stand the Heat
- Little Sheep of Horrors (1 September 2009): Little Sheep of Horrors / Abracadabra / Things That Go Bump / Heavy Metal Shaun / Troublesome Tractor / Sheepwalking
- A Wooly Good Time (16 February 2010): Washday / Tooth Fairy / The Farmer's Niece / Snore-Worn Shaun / Helping Hound / Big Top Timmy
- One Giant Leap for Lambkind (8 June 2010): Shaun Encounters / The Bull / Hiccups / Bitzer Puts His Foot In It / Save The Tree / The Visitor
- Party Animals (7 September 2010): Double Trouble / Strictly No Dancing / Party Animals / Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow / Pig Swill Fly / Shaun Goes Potty / Operation Pidsley
- Shaun the Sheep: Season 1 (19 October 2010, Full Screen; 24 November 2015, widescreen )
- Spring Shena-a-anigans (25 January 2011): Spring Lamb / Supersize Timmy / Bagpipe Buddy / Cheetah Cheater / Lock Out / Draw the Line / Ewe've Been Framed
- The Big Chase (19 April 2011): The Big Chase / Bitzer from the Black Lagoon / Zebra Ducks of the Serengeti / Bitzer's Basic Training / The Magpie / The Boat / Hide and Squeak
- Animal Antics (26 July 2011): Foxy Laddie / Whistleblower / Frantic Romantic / Who's the Caddy / Everything Must Go / In the Doghouse / Cock-a-Doodle Shaun
- We Wish Ewe A Merry Christmas (18 October 2011) We Wish Ewe a Merry Christmas / Snowed In / Fireside Favorite / An Ill Wind / Bitzer's New Hat / Chip Off the Old Block / Shirley Whirley
- Shaun the Sheep: Season 2 (15 November 2011) (widescreen)
- Shear Madness (17 April 2012): Pig Trouble / Sheepless Nights / Party Animals / Cat's Got Your Brain / Two's Company / What's Up, Dog! / Draw the Line
- Shaun the Sheep: Seasons 3 & 4 (7 February 2017) (widescreen)
Region B (Europe)
- Shaun das Schaf – Special Edition 2 (complete Series 2) (Germany, 25 March 2011) (16:9 widescreen)
- Shaun das Schaf – Special Edition 3 (complete Series 3) (Germany, 5 November 2013) (16:9 widescreen)
- Shaun das Schaf – Special Edition 4 (complete Series 4) (Germany, 5 November 2015) (16:9 widescreen)
- Shaun das Schaf – Die Lamas des Farmers (Germany, 10 March 2016) (16:9 widescreen)
- Shaun das Schaf – Special Edition 5 (complete Series 5) (Germany, 8 March 2018) (16:9 widescreen)
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- Bennet, Geoff (29 October 2014). "Bristol's Shaun the Sheep to be star of new family tourist attraction". Bristol Post. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
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