Watership Down (TV series)
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The Watership Down title card. From left to right: Pipkin, Bigwig, Hazel, Blackberry, and Fiver.
|Created by||Richard Adams (book)|
|Written by||Mary Crawford
|Directed by||Troy Sullivan|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||39|
|Running time||23 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Alltime Entertainment
Funbag Animation Studios
|Original channel||CITV, YTV|
|Original release||September 28, 1999 – December 4, 2001|
Watership Down is a British-Canadian animated fantasy children's television series, adapted from the novel Watership Down by Richard Adams. It was a co-production of Alltime Entertainment of the United Kingdom and Decode Entertainment of Canada, and produced by Martin Rosen, the director of the 1978 feature film adaptation.
Watership Down aired for 39 episodes and three series from 1999 to 2001, on both YTV in Canada and CITV in the UK, though the latter did not broadcast the third season. It starred several well-known British actors, including Stephen Fry, Rik Mayall, Phil Jupitus, Jane Horrocks, Dawn French, John Hurt, and Richard Briers, among others. Hurt and Briers also starred in the film. Stephen Gately sang a new arrangement of Art Garfunkel's "Bright Eyes", which had been included in the 1978 film, while Mike Batt (who wrote "Bright Eyes") and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra contributed a completely new score. In 2003, composer Eric Robertson as well as David Greene and Mike Batt were nominated for a Gemini Award for Best Original Music Score for a Dramatic Series for their work on the show.
- 1 Plot overview
- 2 Voice cast
- 3 Characters
- 4 Episodes
- 5 Soundtrack
- 6 International television
- 7 Differences from the novel
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Following the basic plot of the novel, Watership Down follows the lives of a group of rabbits as they leave their endangered warren in search of a safe new home. They travel across the English countryside, braving perilous danger, until they find a hill called Watership Down, where they begin a new warren. However, they are endangered by another warren, Efrafa, which is led by the authoritarian General Woundwort, and they are soon forced to defend their home and lives.
Although the first season concerned themselves mostly with elements taken from the original novel at first, later on in that same series as well as the second and third deviated almost entirely, with many episodes focusing solely on new characters and situations. For instance, in the second episode, "Home on the Down," Hazel realizes that having their own doe, Blackberry, do all the digging for their new burrow, the traditional role of does among rabbits, is unfair as well as counter-productive. Thus, he and Fiver must find a way to convince the other bucks to help her.
In addition, the third season featured a new opening sequence and style of animation, along with many of the original voice actors leaving, only leaving a handful of the original cast to remain. The programme became noticeably darker in tone, adding elements of mysticsm and magic, such as Campion's encounters with the Black Rabbit of Inle, Silverweed's psychic powers, though these would be similar to Fiver's own psychic powers and Hannah's learning of hedge magic.
Although the series was praised by younger audiences at the time of the series' air, fans of both the novel and the movie gave it mixed reviews due to drastic changes from the novel (like Blackberry changed from a buck to a doe) and its more child-friendly tone as compared to the violence of the movie. The third season changed this for a darker tone.
Watership Down was voiced by many familiar faces in the world of British film and television. John Hurt, the voice of Hazel in the film, was reappointed for the series as the voice of General Woundwort, and Richard Briers, the voice of Fiver in the film, appeared in the series as Captain Broom. Dawn French, Jane Horrocks, Stephen Fry, Phil Jupitus and Rik Mayall all provided voices, as Buttercup, Hannah, Cowslip, Dandelion and Kehaar, respectively. To a lesser extent, the late former Boyzone member Stephen Gately, who performed the re-working of "Bright Eyes", provided the voice of Blackavar, and comedy actor Stephen Mangan provided the voice of Bigwig and later, Silverweed, replacing Tim McInnerny who provided Silverweed's voice for one episode in Season 1. Actor Kiefer Sutherland was involved and played the role of a new rabbit called Hickory, but only for 3 episodes, to be replaced in Season 3 by Rob Rackstraw who also provides the voice for Captain Campion and various other characters. By Season 3 most of the celebrity voices were gone and were replaced by new actors, with only a few of the original cast having decided to stay and reprise their roles and provide additional voices.
All Seasons Cast NOTE: These are the only actors to appear on all 3 seasons of the TV show.
- Rob Rackstraw as Campion, Hickory (Season 3), Raincloud, Granite
- Stephen Mangan as Bigwig, Silverweed (Season 3), Shale
- David Holt as Vervain, Bluesky, Boxwood, Darkling
- Andrew Falvey as Fiver, Flax
- Sue Elliot Nicholls as Blackberry
- Lee Ross as Hawkbit
- Richard Briers as Captain Broom
Seasons 1/2 Cast NOTE: The actors on this list only portrayed characters in the first two series of the show. These roles were either dropped or recast for Series 3.
- Ian Shaw as Hazel
- Rik Mayall as Kehaar
- Elliot Henderson-Boyle as Pipkin
- Stephen Fry as Cowslip
- Kiefer Sutherland as Hickory
- Stephen Gately as Blackavar
- Kate Ashfield as Primrose
- Tim McInnerny as Silverweed
- Dawn French as Buttercup
- Stephanie Morgenstern as Marigold
- Anthony Barclay as Culoci
- John Hurt as General Woundwort
- Matt Wilkinson as The Weasel
- Phill Jupitus as Dandelion
- Jane Horrocks as Hannah
- Tom Eastwood as Moss
- Jo Rodriguez as Clover
- Robert Harper as Strawberry
- Janet Dale as Bark, Tassle, Frost, Katrina
- Alice Welsh and Sean Welsh as Primrose's Bunnies
Season 3 Cast NOTE: These are the actors who either played new characters or replaced the majority of the celebrity cast from Season 1 and 2. These names come from the official end credits of this series.
- Anthony Jackson as Kehaar, Cowslip
- Maria Darling as Hannah
- Paul Panting as Strawberry
- Penny Freeman as Marigold
- Nigel Pegram as Moss
Hazel - Fiver's older brother. He leads the rabbits from Sandleford and eventually becomes Chief Rabbit of Watership Down. Although he is not the strongest or smartest of the bucks, Hazel is a charismatic leader who recognizes and employs the skills of his fellow bucks to great success. He is shot while freeing the hutch rabbits at Nuthanger Farm and almost dies, but is saved by his younger brother Fiver. Although lamed by this injury, he leads the foray to Efrafa and comes up with the final, successful strategy to defeat General Woundwort. Hazel's beautiful mate is Primrose whom he freed from Efrafa.
Fiver – Hazel's younger brother. A small runty rabbit whose visions of the destruction of the Sandleford warren lead him to leave, along with his older brother Hazel and several other rabbits. He appears to be more prescient than his novel counterpart, and his visions come in rhymes. He often feels responsible for foreseeing terrible things or blaming himself for their outcome. He and Hazel are very close.
Bigwig – Formerly an officer in the Sandleford Owsla, so-called because of the large amount of hair surrounding his face, giving him the appearance of a lionhead rabbit. The largest and most powerful of the Sandleford survivors, he is often blunt and impatient for dangerous action and fighting. After nearly getting killed in a snare in episode 3, he realizes that Fiver is right more often than not. He quickly befriends Kehaar and often asks for his help on Hazel's behalf. Hazel often selects him for the most dangerous missions, such as the infiltration of Efrafa. Later, he becomes captain of Watership Down's Owsla and falls for Spartina, a doe from Darkhaven.
Blackberry – Blackberry is a doe who is skilled with herbs and is referred to as the digging expert. She is the most intelligent of the rabbits, and often comes up with ingenious ideas. She is the only doe to go to Watership Down with Hazel and the others. Later in the series she falls in love with Campion. She is devastated when she thinks Campion is dead, but is rejoined with him when she is taken prisoner in Darkhaven. At the end of the series she and Campion return to Watership Down together.
Dandelion - Dandelion is an accomplished storyteller. He is a joker and a wise guy and provides much of the series' comedy relief. He is a good friend of Hawkbit, despite their mutual attraction to former Efrafan doe Heather (who later leaves with Moss to start a new warren). He and Hawkbit serve in Bigwig's Owsla together.
Pipkin - A very young and adventurous rabbit eager to prove himself in the eyes of his bigger companions—particularly Hazel and Bigwig. He is the youngest of the Watership Down rabbits and has the gift of making friends with everyone including other animals in the Down area, to the point that when he is in trouble they will immediately join together with the Watership Down rabbits to come to his rescue. Even General Woundwort found he was not immune to Pipkin's charm and refused to kill him, saying that it would be like killing a part of himself. During the last season Pipkin grows up to be a responsible rabbit, even leading the 'Junior Owsla'.
Hawkbit – He is a pessimistic, grouchy and sarcastic rabbit who always has a biting comment for every situation, but is a dependable member of the warren whenever help is needed. An outstanding example of the effect Hazel has upon those rabbits who would otherwise have been totally disregarded in the warren hierarchy. He later becomes a good friend of the more cerebral Dandelion and during the last season, he settles down with Clover.
Holly – Former captain of the Sandleford Owsla, Holly has only a minor role and is mostly used as a background character, He formed a key part of the Watership Down defenses in the last season.
Clover – A former hutch rabbit rescued from Nuthanger Farm. She and Hawkbit settle down at the ending of the series.
Primrose - Born at Redstone and a captive in Efrafa until her rescue by the Watership Down rabbits. Primrose is very supportive of Hazel, who becomes her mate and is also a dedicated mother to her three children Snowdrop, Mallow, and Gilia (who were fathered by Hazel). She and Campion also have a strong bond due to her being saved by him multiple times back in Efrafa. In Efrafa she showed a rebellious and stubborn attitude toward Vervain, who bullied and tormented her at every given opportunity. Despite her deep hatred for Vervain, she, Fiver, Holly, and Captain Broom saved his life when he was caught in some wire, although she originally protested the idea of helping the rabbit "that made her life miserable." Later she hates herself for letting him go when she finds out he formed an alliance out of fear with Woundwort. Primrose replaces the character of Hyzenthlay from the novel and film.
Strawberry - A orange rabbit who leaves Cowslip's warren after meeting Hazel and Bigwig and joins them in Watership Down. Initially lazy from his time with Cowslip, he later proves to be an accomplished digger and serves in Bigwig's Owsla.
Captain Broom - The former captain of the Redstone Owsla. When Primrose, now free from Efrafa, returns to see her old friends Broom informs her that an unspecified illness has wiped out the entire warren but him. He joins the Watership Down rabbits at Hazel's invitation. He usually bores them with his tall tales, but does have wisdom (his knowledge about sheep helps avert a disaster) and can be relied upon in a crisis. He and Captain Holly also get along with each other.
Kehaar – A black-headed gull who is forced by an injured wing to take refuge on Watership Down. He is characterized by his frequent impatience, guttural accent and unusual phrasing. Eventually, after Hazel and the others befriend him, he flies over the countryside in an attempt to discover other warrens where the rabbits might find does to mate with. He discovers the Efrafan warren and after helping the rabbits he meets a gull called Gluk and flies to the city to settle down with her because she likes life in the city better.
Hannah - is a brown mouse. She is a good friend of Kehaar and has a kind of love/hate relationship with Bigwig who feels she is too small to be of any use in a fight, but her bravery more than makes up for her size. After Kehaar's departure, Hannah tries to learn magic to help her friends on the Down. Silverweed instead takes her magic into himself to save the Down. Although a mouse featured in the novel, it appeared only briefly, and spoke with a thick Italian accent.
Snowdrop - is a white, female kit: one of Hazel and Primrose's.
Mallow - is a dark tan, male kit: one of Hazel and Primrose's.
Gilia - is a tan, female kit: one of Hazel and Primrose's.
Cowslip's Warren (The Warren of the Shining Wires)
Cowslip - the so-called leader of the warren, there is some doubt as to whether he is insane or totally evil. Hazel, Fiver and Bigwig first encounter him when they accompany Captain Holly to recover an injured Sandleford rabbit left there, only to learn the warren's terrible secret when Bigwig nearly becomes a victim and that the missing rabbit was a victim. He becomes angered by Hazel's warren when they help a group of his rabbits escape from his warren, and even helps Woundwort to get his revenge on them, however, as he himself states, "I'm a plotter, not a fighter" and he uses both sides for his own gain. Later he trades his seer, Silverweed, to Woundwort in exchange for the destruction of his escaped rabbit's warren.
Silverweed – he is a seer with mental abilities similar to Fiver, in particular possessing the ability to see into another rabbit's mind by touch. He is traded to Woundwort to help him seek his destiny and was taken away from the Warren of the Shining Wires to Darkhaven, but later ends up on Watership Down and becomes a good friend of the rabbits there, even sacrificing most of his youth to help save the warren from Woundwort.
General Woundwort – He serves as the main antagonist of the series. A brutal and tyrannical leader who sees himself as the one doing everything for the best of his warren, Woundwort strives to destroy Hazel and his 'outsiders' because of the hope for free life they represent for his own subjects. He has black, ragged fur and is blind in his left eye. He deeply respects Campion, even after his betrayal by him, and he often punishes and threatens Vervain, but still values him as an adviser and loyal subject despite this. He briefly shows a softer side after Pipkin tells him that his mother was killed by a weasel (a fate that Woundwort himself went through), and for a brief moment before Efrafa's destruction sees himself for what he is and what he has brought Efrafa to. After the destruction of Efrafa, Woundwort becomes obsessed with seeking his destiny of destruction, which leads him to the warren he was born in: Darkhaven. In the end, he is taken by the Black Rabbit of Inlé along with most of the Darkhaven rabbits.
Campion – Campion sees that Woundwort's leadership is destroying Efrafa, but is torn between his feelings for the free ways of Watership Down and his loyalty to his chief. He met Blackberry and it was love at first sight, but he sacrificed himself to save his chief from a cave in. He survived and was taken to Darkhaven, as was Blackberry soon after, and they sealed their love in Darkhaven and escaped to Watership Down. He fought in the last battle against Woundwort. Afterwards, he and Blackberry settled down together.
Vervain - is a cowardly and sneaky rabbit, more adept at spying on others and threatening the weaker ones then in actual combat and is (next to Woundwort) the most hated and despised rabbit of the Watership Down story. Despite his shortcomings, Woundwort values him (though he would not show this) for his loyalty to him. Although Campion saved his life on more than one occasion, Vervain hates him with a passion and would like nothing better than to make Woundwort realize Campion is a traitor. Kehaar is particularly not fond of Vervain and calls him an 'ugly bunny'. After Efrafa's destruction, Vervain tries to live on his own but quickly loses hope, until he is saved by Woundwort from a weasel. Although somewhat shocked by his master's increasing madness, Vervain continues to serve him, though more out of fear than respect, and he secretly longs to lead a different life, even if such thoughts are futile. At the end, Vervain flees from the final battle and is not seen again.
Duster - the farm's dog. He first appears in the first episode "The Promised Land" where he chases after the rabbits but fails in the process. He then has a small appearance in the episode "The Raid" where he barks at Hazel as he escapes from the barn. He also appeared in the episode "A Tale of a Mouse" in which he is guarding the farm's vegetables. At the end of the episode, he chases after the farm's cat, Tabitha. Duster's breed is somewhat of a Rottweiler.
Tabitha - the farm's cat. She also first appears in the first episode "The Promised Land" where she attacks Kehaar when he is trying to steal her bowl of fish. She then had a larger role in two episodes, "The Raid" and "A Tale of a Mouse". In "The Raid", she tries to attack and eat Hazel, Fiver and Pipkin when they are trying to free the hutch rabbits but fails. In "A Tale of a Mouse", she goes after the rabbits again, and also after Hannah. At the end, she is chased by Duster around the farm. Tabitha appears again in "The Betrayal" when she attacks Spartina in a barn on Nuthanger Farm, and is driven off by Bigwig and the others. Tabitha's breed is somewhat of a Tabby Cat or a Calico. Unlike Duster, she can speak (except her appearance in "The Promised Land").
The Promised Land Seven rabbits from Sandleford Warren set out on a search for the 'High Lonely Hills' which Fiver has seen in a vision as being a place of safety. Along the way, they encounter many dangers such as the river and a dog. They finally reach the hill called Watership Down.
Home on the Down The rabbits begin to settle into their new home on the down. However problems become apparent: the burrows need digging, but there's only one doe and bucks don't dig! A weasel also arrives at the down and everyone must work together; Meanwhile, a mysterious visitor is looking for Bigwig. It was Caption Holly who escapes from Sandleford.
The Easy Life In search of Pimpernel, the rabbits travel to a nearby warren believed to be a place of safety. This warren led by Cowslip, seems a little too good to be true ... and it is! Bigwig nearly dies in the process of realizing this.
Strawberry Fayre Free from Cowslip's warren, Strawberry begins to settle in at the down, albeit lazily. Meanwhile, Bigwig hears of a vicious warren called Efrafa and investigates further.
The Shadow of Efrafa Hazel, Fiver and Bigwig decide to visit Efrafa, after hearing reports that Efrafa want to kill all outsiders. Hazel encounters General Woundwort and asks him a few questions, Unaware Woundwort is set out to kill him. Hazel falls in love for a rabbit called Primrose. After Fiver has a vision about Woundwort's past (which is unlike any others he's had before), they escape having made a new enemy. Hazel promised himself he will come back for Primrose to be free.
The Raid Having a lot on his mind, Hazel travels to Nuthanger Farm with Pipkin and Fiver to get some hutch-rabbits to come and join them, fearing that if they don't have enough rabbits living with them, they will be wiped out by Efrafa. Hazel ends up being shot in the leg and is separated from Fiver, Pipkin and Clover, a hutch rabbit who escapes with them. Pipkin and Clover, leave for watership down while Fiver and Keehaar look for hazel. They find him, but he is badly injured. Keehaar heals him and they go home.
The Challenge to Efrafa Hazel, Bigwig, Fiver, Hawkbit and Blackberry all set off to help rescue Primrose and Blackavar from Efrafa. However, they get trapped under a stone bridge. Bigwig and Hazel have yet another argument and Bigwig storms off forming a plan to rescue Blackavar and Primrose.
Escape From Efrafa Bigwig joins Efrafa and plans to help Primrose escape. Hazel and the others are still stuck under the stone bridge with the Efrafan guards on top of it. They hatch a plan with Kehaar and flee towards the grounds of Efrafa to meet Bigwig, where he tells them his plan to free Primrose and Blackavar. After some time, they finally flee from Efrafa and make their escape on a boat leaving Woundwort raging, Hazel and Primrose happily to be together at last.
The Vision Primrose feels a little homesick for her former home Redstone, so Hazel agrees to take her back despite Fiver telling them the place is empty. On the down, Fiver has another vision: that one of their past enemies will return (the weasel they defeated last spring). Fiver begins to feel even guiltier than usual after Hawkbit accuses him of being bad luck (despite the fact that if Fiver had never told them about the visions they'd all be dead by now); however, Hawkbit was just angry at Bigwig for working them too hard. Meanwhile, Hazel and Primrose travel onward, She nearly drowning after falling into the river along the way, but Hazel leaps in and rescues her. They are shocked to find that Fiver was right about Redstone being empty. The only one left there is Captain Broom. So they went back to the Down to tell Fiver that his visions aren't wrong and he felt much better.
A Tale Of A Mouse Hazel decides to take a trip to the farm with Bigwig, Fiver and Hawkbit to find some good food for the new baby rabbits. Everything seems to be going well, until they encounter a dog and cat. Hannah gets herself into trouble too. But she been saved by Fiver and together they escaped with a help from Hazel and others to make a hole underneath the garden fence.
Lost Wandering through the burrow, Hawkbit discovers a strange chamber and believes he saw The Black Rabbit of Inlé. Concerned, Hawkbit goes to check it out again with Hazel and Fiver; They encounter a cave-in and are trapped. but Bigwig believes Hazel, Fiver and Hawkbit have been kidnapped by Efrafa. Later, the others found out the Black Rabbit is just a shadow.
Friend and Enemy Certain that the Efrafans are getting closer to the warren, Hazel and his friends decide to leave false trails leading them away from the warren. But trouble lies for Captain Campion as he has an encounter with a hawk. Hazel being as caring as Campion does, He helps him into the greenhouse. but puts his own life in danger when they both meet an enemy, a snake. The two of them have never encountered before.
Kidnapped Bigwig and Hazel worry about the thought of Watership Down being wiped out and that they have no idea of Woundwort's plans. Deciding that they will try to get Campion on their side, they find him out on patrol and ask him to help. Things seem to be going well, until Pipkin falls into the river and is swept away. Hazel and others knew they had to rescue him before its too late.
Prisoner Of Efrafa The rabbits find out the Efrafans have captured Pipkin. Woundwort begins to treat Pipkin well, In order to find out the location of his warren and especially since Woundwort learns that Pipkin's mother was killed by a weasel (which was what happened to his own mother). Meanwhile, Hazel hatches a plan to free Pipkin with help from Campion. They manage to recruit as many of the local animals as they can in order to make his plan work, and in the end it works better than they expected.
The Roundabout Hickory and Marigold decide its time to leave Cowslip's warren and set off to find Hazel. He agrees to help them escape, Hawkbit and Dandelion give them lessons on how to live outside in freedom. Hickory and Marigold decide to start a new warren. Concerned, Primrose suggests that they move into Redstone. Trouble is ahead of them though when Hickory gets trapped on a roundabout. Hazel and others set off to save him along with Pipkin who help them to get across.
The Market Kehaar becomes homesick for the Big Water and decides he must go and visit it, The rabbits are tagging along too and smelling the glorious smell of carrots and lettuce. They wander inside a big farm van to nibble at the food. But suddenly the van wonders off and the rabbits find themselves at a market where Dandelion and Hawkbit get separated. They find the others and make a strange friendship with a pig that they encourage her to be free.
The Great Water Finally making it to the Big Water, The rabbits lose contact with Kehaar. They are amazed by their new surroundings, including the salty sea water. but soon realize that the sea is getting closer to them. Meanwhile, Kehaar meets up with his old friend, Katerina. but soon realizes she isn't as friendly as he thought she once was. The rabbits are helped out by the puffins after almost being taken away by the sea. After getting to the top, They set off for home.
The Stand Hickory and Marigold finally make their escape from Cowslip's warren, They bringing along some friends with them. Bigwig and his friends help Hickory set up the warren at Redstone, Unaware Cowslip has watched them and met up with Woundwort. Campion warns Hazel that Woundwort will attack Redstone at dawn. Woundwort is disappointed to find the warren empty and heads off to Cowslip's warren where he is unaware of the shining wire until Campion saves him. Campion however, is caught out by Vervain and arrested.
The Orchard The apples of the orchard are red and delicious, so Hazel and Bigwig go down to have a munch. but retreat back to the warren when they find out a badger lives there. Knowing that the orchard is off-limits, Pipkin persuades Fiver to go down with him to have a bite of the apples anyway. The badger appears, Fiver and Pipkin flee. but Fiver gets hurt after he is hit by a ladder and Pipkin leaves him. The badger drags the unconscious Fiver into its den. But Fiver soon finds out the badger is harmless and her name is Bark.
The Great Game Hazel sends Hannah to check on Campion when he doesn't receive any news from him. After a while, the mouse sneaks into Efrafa. Hannah observes Vervain trying to coerce answers out of a starved Campion; She then reports back to Hazel. Knowing Campion is still under arrest and Vervain is starving him to death, Hazel decides he must do something to help. The rabbits make a really cunning plan and manage to convince Woundwort that Vervain is a mad bunny (which isn't hard considering how insane he already is)! Woundwort tells Campion he's sorry for listening to Vervain and reappoints him as captain; Meanwhile, Vervain is relieved of his duty and treated as insane. Campion is soon up and running again. He turns down Hazel and Primrose's invitation to Watership Down once again.
Winter On Watership Down: Part 1 It's been snowing and the grass has turned white. The rabbits plan on having a big feast, But with no food, Hazel, Bigwig, Hawkbit, Dandelion, Fiver and Kehaar set off to find some. They become lost and encounter danger with a fox and ice. Bigwig falls through the ice and Hazel saves him, but Bigwig starts to suffer from the cold. They stand outside and gaze in at the humans celebrating Christmas Eve. Then Buttercup comes along and allows the rabbits to stay at her warren, right near man. Kehaar is upset that he can't find them somewhere in the snow.
Winter On Watership Down: Part 2 After finding out Buttercup and her friends live near man, Hazel's group is unconvinced that Buttercup's warren is safe. Hazel and his friends decide to flee from there during the night, but they soon find out that Buttercup's warren IS harmless and that the men that live nearby are harmless too. Buttercup lets them take as much food as they want and Kehaar leads them back home safely to Watership Down. Primrose and others are happy that they finally come home at last.
The Mysterious Visitors Hawkbit, Fiver, Pipkin and Dandelion raid the farm and to Hazel's surprise bring two other rabbits, Bluesky and Raincloud, back to the down instead of food. Both say they are messengers from Prince Rainbow. Hazel catches on straight away that its all a scam, but he keeps it quiet. The two demanding rabbits tell Pipkin they can fly, which leads into a lot of trouble.
The Invasion After a huge storm,They surprised that sheep have come to Watership Down. For now, Hazel agrees to let them stay. But after living with them for a while, He soon finds out they aren't that friendly. Their eating habits are ruining the down and that they attract more enemies. Captain Broom explains about what a sheepdog can do to get rid of the sheep and Hazel hatches a cunning plan to get the sheep off the down. Pipkin says goodbye to a lamb named Frost who speaks.
Bigwig's Way Bigwig sets up an early morning Owsla patrol, but Hannah doesn't show up for her training. Later, she turns up with Hickory, excited that He and Marigold have got baby rabbits. However, Bigwig is annoyed at her and after an argument Hannah leaves the down. Kehaar manages to convince Hannah to come to Redstone and she agrees. On her way to Redstone, she ends up stranded up a tree and meets a young squirrel called Tassle who shows her how to get down the tree. Bigwig realizes that he's been so hard on Hannah, He knew that he had to find her to say sorry for what he had done.
The Homecoming Vervain, now a slave but escapes, manages to find the hidden back entrance to Hazel's warren and tells Woundwort, To Campion's horror. He sets off to warn Hazel and is then amazed by the beauty of Watership Down when he sees it for himself. Hazel and his friends set traps for Woundwort's arrival. It's love at first sight for Blackberry and Campion. Then the final battle and Fiver's scary vision becomes reality as Campion is crushed beneath a rock in the process of saving Woundwort. Hazel and others bid farewell to Campion in their hearts.
The Last Battle (English-German translated title* Campion Lives) The Efrafan Owsla flees the collapsing caverns leaving only Woundwort, Vervain, Moss, and a handful of officers alive. Realizing that not even the cave-in will stop General Woundwort from trying to destroy them, Hazel, Fiver, and Bigwig make preparations to wage war on Efrafa with Pipkin recruiting all his animal friends. Fiver meanwhile senses that Campion is not dead, and indeed the Efrafan captain manages to pull himself free from the rubble of the caverns. Alive but horribly scarred. He meets the Black Rabbit of Inlé, who tells him his time has not yet come and that he has a special destiny in store for him. Meanwhile, Moss seeing that Woundwort is going mad, teams up with a doe named Heather to overthrow him, but then the Watership group attacks Efrafa in full force. The Efrafans are free from Woundwort at last.
A New World (English-German translated title* Woundwort Never Gives Up) Following the liberation (and destruction) of Efrafa, the Efrafans move into Watership Down with Moss, the highest-ranking surviving officer as their reluctant leader. Tensions are high, though, as the different rabbit cultures clash, culminating in three of the other surviving officers trying to bully Pipkin and ending up getting into a fight with Bigwig. Pipkin sulks, but when another animal tells him that the crows are waiting for someone to die, He runs off and discovers an exhausted Campion. But Campion makes him swear to keep his survival a secret. Meanwhile, Woundwort has survived and runs into two other former Efrafans in a swamp letting them sink to their deaths in a mire after they refuse to swear loyalty to him. The Black Rabbit of Inlé shows Campion this and tells him that his destiny is stop Woundwort, who "threatens the world of the living." Campion also has a horrible vision of Blackberry in danger and himself being threatened by a fierce green rabbit. Meanwhile, Moss and Heather decide to take the rest of the Efrafans to start a new warren elsewhere.
The Wanderer (English-German translated title* The Wanderer) Vervain wanders about aimlessly, getting into all sorts of trouble. Bigwig, meanwhile, continues to push his Owsla. Campion, with Pipkin's help, is also beginning to regain his strength. Vervain meets a companion, only to abandon him like he always does after a weasel attacks them. In the end, Bigwig eventually accomplishes his goals. Vervain nearly drowns after he is entangled in a barbed wire filled pond, but Fiver, Primrose, Captain Holly, Captain Broom, Hannah and Kehaar rescue him (but only after Fiver pleads with them to save the drowning rabbit). They banish him, hopefully for good. Fiver has a vision and the others realize Woundwort lives. Meanwhile, Vervain is attacked by a weasel, but Woundwort saves him. The rabbit is stunned, but says, "Master, I live to serve you."
The Nestling (English-German translated title* The Challenge) The Junior Owsla and Kehaar help an orphaned hawk named Scree survive, while at the same time trying to prove to Hazel they are responsible enough to go on solo patrol. But what they don't know is that Bigwig has been secretly watching them help the hawk, so when they actually ending up saving the hawk they have proven themselves to him. Kehaar leaves to find a mate. Woundwort and Vervain realize someone's following them so they set a trap. Scree saves the trapped Campion.
The Secret of Redstone (English-German translated title* Woundwort In A Trap) Hazel and the others notice a change in Redstone. After learning that elil and man are hunting the Redstone warren, they leave only to smell Campion's trail. Believing it to be a shadow rabbit and realizing that shadow rabbits bring death, They split up but Pipkin confesses to Blackberry who runs off. He then confesses to the others. Woundwort, calling himself Wheatstalk and Vervain Chaff, begins to gain the trust of the rabbits at Redstone Warren. Blackberry finds Campion and tells him she loves him despite the scars; He tells her he cannot be with her and runs off. Woundwort and Vervain get caught by a poacher, but the poacher is caught before he can do anything and they're set free.
My Fair Gull (English-German translated title* Kehaar's Departure) Woundwort works his way towards chieftainship of Redstone. Kehaar returns with his new love, Gluck. All the rabbits are driven crazy by her. Woundwort discovers that its Fiver who outsmarts him every time he has threatened Watership Down and decides he might have to kill the rabbit. Hickory makes Woundwort the new leader, much to Marigold's displeasure (as she is the only one who has seen through the evil buck's disguise). After an interrogation with a young rabbit, Vervain asks Hickory about the rabbit he mentioned. Hickory says Silverweed is a strange mystical rabbit, Vervain finds the information useful and passes it onto Woundwort. They decide to turn in the Redstone rabbits in exchange for Silverweed, an idea that Marigold overhears and runs away at. She is nearly caught, but fakes her death after running in front of a car. Meanwhile, Kehaar decides to leave the warren for good with his new mate Gluck.
The Dark Deal (English-German translated title* Redstone Falls) Woundwort discovers that a human construction crew plans to bulldoze Redstone, so he and Vervain travel to the Warren of the Shining Wire. There, he tells Cowslip he will show him Redstone destroyed if Cowslip will give him his seer, Silverweed. Meanwhile, Hickory and Flax talk of revolt against "Wheatstalk" while Marigold races to Watership Down to warn Hazel and the others of Woundwort's return and they all race back, saving the warren. The wandering Campion stumbles across a new warren, Darkhaven, populated by savage rabbits who await the prophesied return of "the Dark One", and becomes their chief after he defeats their strongest warrior, Granite, winning the respect of a tough doe named Spartina.
Darkhaven (English-German translated title* Magic) Woundwort, Vervain and Silverweed arrive at Darkhaven, just in time to meet up with Campion. At the same time, Hannah goes off to meet up with the hedgewizard in order to learn magic so she can help her friends. Woundwort and Campion agree to join forces once more, while Vervain doubts that Campion can be trusted. Silverweed tries to look into Campion's heart, but he cannot because of the Black Rabbit of Inlé's curse. Woundwort feels empathy for the scarred up rabbit and accepts him, despite Vervain's displeasure. Blackberry and Primrose head towards Darkhaven. Hazel leads the others and manages to rescue Primrose, but Blackberry is captured.
The Eyes of Silverweed (English-German translated title* An Unfair Due) Silverweed traps Fiver in a twisted dreamworld illusion, allowing him to invade Fiver's mind and see through his eyes to learn the location of Watership Down for his master Woundwort. Fiver manages to fight off Silverweed's hold, but not before Silverweed deduces that Watership Down is "in the high hills, near a lone beech tree." Hazel realizes how dangerous Silverweed is, so he and the others journey to Darkhaven with the intent of kidnapping him. Meanwhile, Campion and Blackberry have the same idea, whilst Granite becomes Woundwort's new second-in-command when he challenges Vervain to single combat. Vervain forfeits rather than face the stronger Granite and then gets it back by cheating. Fiver gets inside Silverweed's head and the mystic decides to go with Hazel to Watership Down. Silverweed happily to be free at last.
The Spy (Same in both languages*) Bigwig uses Silverweed's influence to turn Hawkbit and Dandelion's original ideas against them when they attempt to slack off. Spartina is sent by Woundwort to befriend Hazel and the others and act as a spy for him. She fakes injury in order to be taken in by them. However, Silverweed soon learns of her real objective. Spartina tells Granite that if she does not return to Darkhaven by the next full moon, Granite is to kill Blackberry. Blackberry is chased by Granite, but the male gets injured and the doe helps him. Vervain has her punished for showing mercy. Spartina is enraptured with Watership Down, She doesn't know what to do after having seen it with her own two eyes and she fell in love with Bigwig.
The Betrayal (English-German translated title* Campion's Betrayal) Spartina soon gets found out by the other Watership Down rabbits and she confesses everything, even admitting putting Blackberry in danger. Silverweed allows Bigwig to see into Spartina's heart, but the male is frightened by her feelings for him and runs off. Granite attempts to help Campion and Blackberry escape out of gratitude. Silverweed sees a vision involving Hannah's future, but refuses to admit it. After finding out of Spartina's betrayal, Woundwort uses her and Blackberry to make Campion confess where Watership Down is and to lead his army into battle there. After Fiver's vision, Hazel knew the time is come to stop the enemy at once.
The Beginning of The End (English-German translated title* Hannah's Big Achievement) The Watership Down rabbits prepare for the last battle with Woundwort, once again gathering their animal friends to aid them and setting up traps around the warren. Scree takes Kehaar's place as the sky watch while Blackberry, Spartina and Campion plan their escape from Woundwort.
The Magic (English-German translated title* The Last Battle) It's time to end the war once and for all. Both sides collide and there can be only one winner. After the first attack, both sides are injured and weakened, but they must keep fighting. Hazel tells them he'll stay and fight while the others escape to a new warren, but the warren refuses to leave their leader. Bigwig also goes one on one with Woundwort and Hannah plans to use 'the magic' to finally be rid of Woundwort forever, but Silverweed knows that a high price must be made to use it. So he plans to use it, instead of Hannah. Watership Down is saved at last.
• Series 3 Episode Titles Error Because the only countries in Europe which aired the third TV series were Germany and Greece, the fan site Thank U Stars provided translations of each episode title directly from the German titles. However sites like play.com and tv.com have found and used the German translated titles and the unofficial ones found on the DVD releases or on screen as they appear at the beginning of each episode.
According to the official Watership Down TV series website (which is now closed) Season 2 was supposed to have an episode produced called Dandelion's Big Story, in which he would tell a story to the younger rabbits, with the roles of El-ahrairah, Prince Rainbow, etc. played by the Watership Down rabbits, while Hazel and Bigwig went to Nuthanger Farm on a raid. However, the episode was never produced and was instead replaced by Bigwig's Way. Even so, the episode title and synopsis managed to find its way on to the 14-disc Region 2 DVD set by Entertainment Rights and Universal, where it replaced Bigwig's Way. The episode itself was oddly placed, on a disc with the episodes that preceded Season 3.
The official soundtrack for the series was produced by Mike Batt with the aid of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He had also gathered an array of stars to provide their voices for some of the songs. As well as Stephen Gately performing Bright Eyes, Art Garfunkel who had sung Bright Eyes for the film sang When You're Losing Your Way In The Rain, Cerys Matthews from the group Catatonia performed Thank You, Stars which was used in the series as a romance theme for Hazel and Primrose and Paul Carrack from the group Mike + The Mechanics performed Winter Song, though the song wasn't used, an instrumental piece was in the Winter on Watership Down two parter. Mike himself sang for the soundtrack, performing the song The View From A Hill which oddly enough was used in the series, but only in the German version and sung by an uncredited singer, and British voice actor Gary Martin provided the narration for the story of Frith's Blessing for the original release of the CD soundtrack, though in the TV series, it was Dandelion who told the tale of Frith's Blessing. Andrew Lloyd Webber composed a song called Fields of Sun for the soundtrack. However this song wasn't used in the show, nor was it made available on the official soundtrack. He was however still credited for the song's creation during the opening credits.
The soundtrack has just recently been re-released as part of the Mike Batt Music Cube released in December 2009 by Dramatico Records. However only the orchestral pieces are on the CD and none of the recorded songs are present, possibly due to either copyrights involving many of the guest singers and their record labels and/or perhaps due to the death of Stephen Gately. The re-released soundtrack has recently became available separately from the Cube in a 2-CD set, along with the soundtrack to the film Caravans.
Currently the music cube re-released version of the soundtrack is also available to download in Mp3 format from Amazon's UK website.
- CITV (1999–2000)
Republic of Ireland
- Channel 9 (2008–present)
Differences from the novel
Although the story was broadly based on that of the novel, with most characters and many incidents retained, there was an increasing divergence as the series went on, and in later episodes especially some storylines and characters were entirely new.
- El-ahrairah's name was shortened in the series to El-ahrah.
- Hyzenthlay was replaced by a character called Primrose, and her connection to Efrafa was replaced by a heritage in a warren called Redstone. Her ability to have visions much like Fiver was also not present
- Fiver's power of prescience became more prominent than in the book and film; he goes blank with visions, sometimes telepathic, instead of simply delivering omens, and also speaks mostly in rhyme while in this state (though he speaks normally otherwise).
- Kehaar, in direct contrast to the book, severs his gull-like instincts and becomes attached to the Watership rabbits, even pushing aside his own kind at one point.
- Some new exclusive series characters were introduced, despite the fact that there were a few characters from the original book which never appeared in the series.
- Blackberry was changed from a buck (male) rabbit to a doe (female).
- Woundwort's backstory was altered to include a connection to a warren called Darkhaven.
- The character Silverweed was given abilities similar to Fiver's and was turned into a main character for the 3rd series, unlike the novel in which he was a minor character.
- Blackavar is still alive, in contrast to the film in which he was killed by Woundwort (that is a film invention, as he survived in the book. Also his ears are intact; the book and the film both depict them as having been torn by the Efrafan Owslafa.)
- The major character of Hannah the female mouse was added for the series. Although a male mouse does appear in the novel as a minor character, his personality is much meeker than Hannah's and he speaks with an Italian like accent, while Hannah has a British accent like the rabbits.
- Captain Vervain is totally different from how he was described in the book as he was given a more sly and cowardly personality.
Two warrens that did not appear in the original book were added: Redstone and Darkhaven. The Redstone warren was dug beneath the remnants of an ancient Celtic stone circle by a band of regular rabbits, but was invaded by an Efrafan patrol. The Darkhaven warren was located beside a burning tire yard with a large pit where the rabbits, extremely vicious in nature, would battle for the position of Chief Rabbit.
- Bigwig's motto for the Owsla is "Who Dares Wins", the motto of the SAS. The phrase was also used as an epigraph for the first story in Tales from Watership Down.
- Decode Entertainment. "Watership Down"
- Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. "Canada's Awards Database". Accessed April 19, 2008.
- Amazon Mp3 link