Tree Fu Tom
|Tree Fu Tom|
|Developed by||CBeebies In House Production, FremantleMedia Enterprises|
|Written by||Daniel Bays, Douglas Wood, Ian Carney, Moya O'Shea, Darren Jones, Allan Plenderleith, Corey Powell, Richard Preddy, John Loy, Sindy McKay, Richard Dinnick|
|Directed by||Adam Shaw|
|Voices of||Sophie Aldred, David Tennant, Tim Whitnall, Samantha Dakin, Sharon D Clarke|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||52|
|Running time||22-25 minutes|
|Original release||5 March 2012|
Tree Fu Tom is a live-action/CGI CBeebies children's television program which has been shown on BBC and CBeebies in the UK and Sprout and NBC Kids in the USA. It is set in a miniature magical countryside and village area (Treetopolis) on the top of a part of a trunk of a big tree in a British-type woodland, where the trunk turns horizontal and then vertical again. Its characters are mostly anthropomorphized arthropods (which are not to size scale with each other as in reality). The programme is aimed at 2-6 year olds.
In each episode, Tom (live-acted) comes out of his house's back door, puts on a power belt, and runs across his lawn into a woodland. In there is the tree with Treetopolis on, protected by a magic shield. Using the power belt he jumps up, shrinks to insect size as he flies into the tree, and enters the world of Treetopolis, where he has adventures. He is skilled in that world's magic, and often gets characters out of scrapes. The tree's sap is shown as a glowing orange magic liquid. Sometimes he has to call on "the big world" for magical help: breaking the fourth wall, he asks the audience to make magical moves and say magical words to assist the necessary magical actions. The magical power is shown as orange stuff appearing from around the camera and flying at Tom, who collects it in his arms in a ball, and uses it for whatever he needs it for. The movements which the audience are called on to make are particularly beneficial for the development of children with developmental coordination disorder.
The scenario includes magical hoverboards (called "leafboards").
At the end he flies up, and out of the tree's magic field, reverts to full human boy size, lands, runs out of the wood and across his back lawn, jumping over a bicycle lying on the lawn, and in through his back door.
The series's two main voice actors each previously played major roles in Doctor Who; Sophie Aldred (who voices the animated Tom) as Seventh Doctor companion Ace and David Tennant (who voices Twigs) as the Tenth Doctor. The actor who plays Tom in the live action opening and closing sections of the show, Adam Henderson, is Sophie Aldred's son.
The series was developed in conjunction with the Dyspraxia Foundation with the aim of promoting movement. Foundation specialists Sally Payne and Dr Lynda Foulder-Hughes worked with the series creators to develop the movements Tree Fu Tom uses to create magic. Five percent of children have developmental coordination disorder, and these movements are similar to those used by occupational therapists to help child development. It is also hoped that the spells will help get exercise into the lives of young children.
Tom, the main character. He uses a magical belt to transport into Treetopolis and cast spells with help from the 'big world'. Though he's usually the best at spells, he's a modest character and often has to turn to his friends for advice when things go wrong. Voiced by Sophie Aldred, live actor Adam Henderson.
Zigzoo, an eccentric tree frog who is the local inventor at Treetopolis, though not all of his inventions work out quite as well as he (or others!) hope. Though it has never officially been confessed, certain episodes seem to suggest he may have a crush on Ariela. voiced by Tim Whitnall.
Squirmtum, a pill woodlouse who is a miner and general-purpose workman, and not the most intelligent of creatures. He can curl into a ball, and in that form he can roll fast. He wears a miner's helmet with a firefly called Flicker as his helmet light. Voiced by Tim Whitnall.
Ariela, the alpha female character, a beautiful but feisty butterfly in charge of the Branch Ranch at Treetopolis, generally doesn't accept help from others, and likes to get her own way; but she's always there when her friends need her. She's highly competitive and rather impatient. voiced by Samantha Dakin.
Rickety McGlum, an elderly spider of Treetopolis; he used to be thought of as scary, but is now a close friend to Tom and his friends. He is also a Squizzle expert and trainer. Voiced by Tim Whitnall.
Treetog The Tree Spirit. The plump friendly leader of Treetopolis. She also acts as the schoolteacher, teaching the young sprite creatures and Tom tree fu spells. Voiced by Sharon D Clarke.
The Mushas (Puffy and Stink). Brother and sister, forever arguing, and the main antagonists, two naughty animated toadstool-type fungi who cause trouble, though occasionally, Puffy seems to be the true antagonist. voiced by Sophie Aldred and Tim Whitnall.
Sprites Including Chezz, Bertie, Hazel, Lavender, and Goose Throughout the first series, these were only background characters, but they began to make more frequent appearances in the latter series. Chezz In particular is a very arrogant sprite, who likes to show off.
- Episode 1: May The Best Berry Win: the Biggest Chuckleberry In Treetopolis contest.
- Episode 2: Squizzle Quest: A game projectile goes astray
- Episode 3: Zigzoo The Zero: Zigzoo gets tired of inventions failing
- Episode 4: So Long Greenhorns: Tom and Twigs swap Spell School for running Ariela's ranch, and vice versa.
- Episode 5: Hide And Squeak: A game of hide and seek; Squirmtum's fear of the dark gets the better of him..
- Episode 6: Wishful Thinking: The Mushas get hold of a magic pebble, meanwhile, the pixies bring disaster when they practice a new spell..
- Episode 7: Zigzoo's Robot: Zigzoo builds a robot that causes more problems than it solves.
- Episode 8: With Friends Like These: Some go off to play Squizzle when they are supposed to be helping Squirmtum. Stink and Puffy see a chance.
- Episode 9: Buzzworthy: Bees get into the ranch
- Episode 10: Winging It: Squirmtum tries to fly using a jetpack with wings
- Episode 11: Crystal Catastrophe: Treetog's casting crystal gets broken.
- Episode 12: Fungus Among Us: The Mushas trick Tom and Twigs into making a mess of Treetog's castle.
- Episode 13: The Big Ranch Rodeo: Trouble organizing a rodeo.
- Episode 14: One for All!: Tom leads his under-performing squizzle team on a quest to find the enchanted squizzle.
- Episode 15: Treefle Tom: Tom and his friends' greed for tasty treefle treats leads to trouble.
- Episode 16: The Great Journey: Tom and Twigs get a crash course in being ranchers as they lead an epic baby beetle drive.
- Episode 17: Not So Fast: Ariela's impatience causes trouble for Tom and Treetopolis!
- Episode 18: Hovering Humblebugs: Tom's attempts to attain perfection cause problems for the humblebugs.
- Episode 19: Treasure Hunt: Treelings and Mushas are thrown together to compete in Treetopolis' annual treasure hunt.
- Episode 20: Tom's Big Mess: It's the Annual Tidy Up and Tom's careless cleaning efforts lead to disaster.
- Episode 21: Sappy Day: Preparations for Sap Day are thrown into turmoil when the Mushas get up to mischief.
- Episode 22: Grubble Trouble: Tom and Twigs' friendship isn't the only thing threatened when Twigs gets a new pet.
- Episode 23: Rickety Rescue: When Tom and friends get into trouble it's up to Rickety to leap to the rescue!
- Episode 24: Weather Bother: Zigzoo invents a weather machine to create perfect conditions for each of his friends.
- Episode 25: Tiny Tom: Tom tackles titanic troubles as he is accidentally shrunk to the size of Twigs' toes.
- Episode 26: The Lost Stone: A calm, quiet pond creature accidentally absorbs Tom's sapstone.
- "Dyspraxia Foundation welcomes innovative CBeebies programme: Tree Fu Tom". Dyspraxia Foundation. Retrieved June 2013.
- "Tree Fu Tom Episode list". David Tennant Radio Plays. Retrieved June 2013.
- Anuji Varma (2012-03-16). "Solihull occupational therapist behind kids' smash hit show Tree Fu Tom". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved June 2013.
- "Children’s animation could help dyspraxic kids". SEN Magazine. 6 March 2012. Retrieved June 2013.
- Official site at the BBC
- Tree Fu Tom: the boy with magical powers comes to CBeebies
- Tree Fu Tom Episode list, images
- Tree Fu Tom at the Internet Movie Database