ⓘ The Animals of Farthing Wood (TV series)

                                     

ⓘ The Animals of Farthing Wood (TV series)

The Animals of Farthing Wood is a British-French animated series commissioned by the European Broadcasting Union between 1992 and 1995, and is based on the series of books written by English author Colin Dann. It was produced by Martin Gates Productions in association with Telemagination, based in London, and La Fabrique, based in Montpellier in France, but also aired in other European countries. The first countries to air the series were Norway, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Italy and the United Kingdom, in January 1993.

On 3 October 2016, Network Distributing released all three series of The Animals of Farthing Wood onto a DVD Box Set. This is the first time all episodes have been released in English as an official and complete set.

                                     

1. Synopsis

The television series followed the basic plots of the series of books, although certain elements were changed.

The first season followed the animals of Farthing Wood, who were forced to flee their homes after humans started destroying the wood to build suburban tract houses. Led by Fox, and guided by Toad, the animals left Farthing Wood on a journey to White Deer Park, a nature reserve where they would be protected. The second and third season followed the relationships between the Farthing Wood animals, the White Deer Park animals and outsiders, particularly a blue fox named Scarface, his mate Lady Blue and son Ranger.

The episodes were made in both the UK and France. Because of this, in Series 1 the motorways carriageways have traffic driving on the right hand carriageway of the motorway. However, they are briefly seen in Series 3 driving on the left hand side. Other than this, the location is generally kept ambiguous apart from a brief moment in Series 2 when a gravestone is visible with French writing on it.

When the series aired in the US, 2 versions were shown, the UK version, and a new version released on home video with some of the voices changed, for example, the role of Fox was replaced by Ralph Macchio, there were added songs as well.

                                     

2. Cast

  • Fiona Reid as Weasel and Adder US dub only
  • Jon Glover as Scarface, Ranger, The Warden, and others.
  • Jeremy Barrett as Mr. Rabbit, Scarface, Mole, Bold, Friendly, Hollow, Mossy, Hurkel, Measley, Mr. Shrew, and others.
  • Rupert Farley as Fox, Mr. Hare, Mr. Pheasant, Plucky, Trey, Fido, Brat and others.
  • Ron Moody as Badger, Toad, Whistler, Bully, Spike, Rollo, Mr. Hedgehog, Mr. Vole, Mr. Mouse, The Great White Stag, and others.
  • Maria Warburg as Whisper Audiobook only
  • Sally Grace as Owl, Weasel, Charmer, and others.
  • Timothy Bateson as Measley, Fox, Trey and others Audiobook only
  • Peter Woodthorpe as Whistler, Toad and The Great White Stag Audiobook only
  • Pamela Keevilkral as Dash, Cleo, Speedy, Whisper, Mrs. Squirrel, Mrs. Hedgehog, and others.
  • Stacy Jefferson as Vixen, Adder, Kestrel, Mrs. Hare, Mrs. Rabbit, Shadow, and others.

Fox, the leader of the Animals of Farthing Wood, was voiced by Rupert Farley in the UK and Ireland version but in the US version he was played by Ralph Macchio.

In France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Sweden the cast included the following:

                                     

3. Buzz Books

These are based upon the characters in the television series. Some parts had happened differently.

  • " based upon 78
  • " based upon 22
  • "Heroes" based upon Whistlers Quarry
  • "Weasel Gets The Sniffles" based upon Long And Right, and Sad Weasel And Mrs Rabbit
  • "The Weasels Adventure"
  • "Fire" based upon Through the Fire and Water
  • " based upon 5
  • "Bold" based upon The Feud Begins
  • " based upon 8
  • "The Storm Shelter" based upon Pandemonium
  • "Badger in Danger" based upon Winter, and Survival
  • " based upon 1
  • " based upon 100
  • "A New Home"
  • "Mrs Rabbit’s Bad Day"
  • "Farewell to the Wood" based upon The Wood in Danger
  • "Showdown" based upon Blood is Thicker Than Water
  • "The Rat Spy" based upon The Long Tailed Visitor and The Mole Game
  • " based upon 44, and 48
  • " based upon 13, and 15
  • " based upon 20
  • "Trouble in the Park"
  • "Peace" based upon Reconciliation
  • "The Silent Field" based upon A Deathly Calm
  • "Tummy Ache" based upon Bold And Badgers Sweet Tooth
  • "Unwelcome Visitors" based upon New Enemies
  • "Spring Awakening" based upon Home is Where the Heart Is
  • " based upon 4
  • " based upon 96
  • " based upon 18
  • "What is Buzz Book 21 Called?"
  • "Strangers in the Park" based upon Comings and Goings
  • " based upon 7
  • "A New Friend" based upon Friend in Need
  • " based upon 2
  • " based upon 27, and 28
  • "The Adventure Begins" based upon The Journey Begins
  • " based upon 38
  • " based upon 61
  • "Journeys End" based upon So Near and Yet So Far
  • " based upon 40
  • "To the Rescue"
  • " based upon 31, and 34


                                     

4. Broadcasts and releases

In France the programme is known as Les Animaux du Bois de Quatsous "Quatsous" being a literal translation for "farthing". It first aired on France 2 in 1994, and in Switzerland at the same time on TSR. It also aired in the following countries:

  • South Africa Bop TV
  • Ireland RTE and TG4, both in English and Irish, the latter as Cairde Na Coille The Woodland Friends or Friends of/from the Woods
  • Bolivia Bolivision
  • India DD Metro and Star World, Aired in English on Sunday mornings during mid-nineties.
  • Sweden SVT, as De vilda djurens flykt
  • Japan SATV, as ファージングウッドのなかまたち Farthingwood no Nakamatachi
  • Singapore Channel 24, Premiere 12 and Mediacorp Channel 8
  • New Zealand TV2
  • Portugal RTP2, as Animais do Bosque
  • Romania TVR, as Animalele din padurea lemnului
  • United Kingdom CBBC In Scotland it was broadcast on BBC1 Scotland and BBC2 Scotland both in English and Gaelic known as Astar Mor nam Beathaichean as part of De a-nis?
  • Norway NRK, as Flukta frå Dyreskogen Season 1 and Dyra i Hjorteparken Season 2 and 3 in Nynorsk
  • Australia ABC and ABC Kids
  • Poland WOT, as Zwierzeta z Ginacego Lasu, later Polsat, as Zwierzeta z Zielonego Lasu
  • Germany ARD, as Als die Tiere den Wald VerlieSen and BFBS Television and SSVC, as its original English title with the original English voiceovers
  • Malaysia TV1 and TV2
  • Ecuador Equavisa
  • Mexico Canal 5 Aired European Spanish dub
  • Hungary MTV, as A Gyuszunyi Erdo Lakoi
  • Bahrain Channel 55
  • Spain TVE, as Los Animales del Bosque
  • Hong Kong TVB Pearl
  • Belgium BRTN and RTBF, as Beestenbos is Boos for BRTN and Les Animaux du Bois de QuatSous for RTBF
  • Bulgaria Канал 1, as Животните от старата гора
  • Denmark DR, as Dyrene Fra Lilleskoven
  • Turkey TRT, as Gurultulu Ormanın Hayvanları
  • South Korea EBS1, as 파딩 나무 Pading Namu
  • Chile Canal 13
  • United States Syndication and Cartoon Network
  • Netherlands NOS, as Beestenbos is Boos and Het Wakkere Woud
  • Greece ET1 as Τα ζώα του δάσους Φάρθινγκ Ta zoa tu dasus Farthing
  • Austria ORF, as Als die Tiere den Wald VerlieSen
  • Italy RAI, as Le avventure del bosco piccolo / Volpe, Tasso e compagnia
  • Croatia HRT, as Pustolovine Sumske Druzine
  • Jordan Channel 2
  • Honduras Canal 11 European Spanish Dub
  • Brazil TV Cultura, as Os animais do bosque dos vintens
  • Argentina Magic Kids
  • Kuwait KTV2
  • Thailand TPTV, as สัตว์ของเศษไม้ S̄atw̒ k̄hxng s̄es̄ʹ mî Old Dub Season 1 and Season 2 New Dub Season 3
  • Canada Tele-Quebec as Les Animaux du Bois de Quatsous and YTV, SCN and BBC Kids in English
  • Finland YLE, both in Finnish and Swedish, as Kaukametsan Pakolaiset and De Vilda Djurens Flykt respectively

It also aired in Brazil TV Cultura, Os animais do bosque dos vintens, featuring Elcio Sodre Fox, Vanessa Alves Vixen, Maximira Figueiredo Owl, Francisco Bretas Toad, Neuza Azevedo Mole and Adder, Eudes Carvalho Badger, Zaira Zordan Lady Blue and Fabio Tomazine Scarface. 26 episodes were also broadcast in Japan by Shizuoka Asahi Television. The series was broadcast by the ABC in Australia where it also became popular.

                                     

5. Adventures of Fox

Appears last on the Greatest BBC Childrens Video ever along with Fireman Sam, Pingu, Spider, Williams Wish Wellingtons, Clangers, Nursery Rhyme Time, Noddys Toyland Adventures, Funnybones, Hairy Jeremy and The Little Polar Bear. It has clips from the following episodes:

  • Some parts of Friend in Need
  • Beginning and end of The Wood in Danger
  • Some beginning and Middle of New Friends, Old Enemies
  • Beginning of Who Shall Wear the Crown?
  • Beginning of The Journey Begins Leaving the Wood
  • End of Snare for the Unwary
                                     

6. Merchandise

Apart from books and videos, there was also a Farthing Wood CD and in the mid-1990s, a 130-part magazine for children entitled "Farthing Wood Friends" was also developed. Audio tapes recapping the first two seasons were released, with the story being told to young fox cubs by several of the cast who would also debate the events and mimic some of the other characters.

There are also three TV tie-in books available, one to accompany each of the TV series:

The Animals of Farthing Wood links with Series 1. The Further Adventures of The Animals of Farthing Wood links with Series 2. The Animals of Farthing Wood – Spirit of Survival links with Series 3.

These follow the same storylines, but are presented in a comic-strip style.

Watered-down versions of episode storylines were also featured as a running story in Farthing Wood Friends, illustrated using photographic stills from the series. Between magazine coverages of second and third series episodes, abridgements of Colin Danns original stories were used to fill the void, entitled Tales From Farthing Wood. Another book adaptation of the running story employed for series one was released by Ted Smart Publishing, with illustrations by Stuart Trotter.

Episode stories were also abridged for Buzz Books, Reed Childrens Books range of storybooks based on popular childrens characters. The Farthing Wood stories in this range started with five books to begin with, then steadily expanded to cover the remainder of series one and series two. Illustrations were produced by William Heinemann in favour of using stills from the series.

Hornby, known mainly for its model railways, produced collectable figurines of the series ensemble, released in batches or presentation packs. They were as follows:

1st Series: Fox, Badger, Mole, Weasel, Toad & Owl

2nd Series: White Stag, Scarface, Kestrel, Adder, Whistler & Rabbit

3rd Series: Bully, Vixen, Plucky, Fido, Cleo, Rollo, Measly, Speedy, Hollow, Hurkel, Dash & Sinuous

The characters were also released in twin packs and later in the run, Hornby produced compatible play-scenes. Early in the run, almost simultaneous with the first series being shown in the UK, they released plush toys of Badger, Fox and Mole. Although these were rare finds in toyshops, they were the subject of a running promotion in Farthing Wood Friends, enabling readers to win them.

Despite the show being very popular, the series did not see any form of DVD release until 2009, with the episodes on VHS hard to find up to then in particular the last two collections. However, there had been an increase in unofficial DVDs available on eBay.

Series 1 came out in France in February 2009.

Series 1 was released in Germany on 25 September 2009, Series 2 was released in Germany on 27 May 2011, and Series 3 was released in Germany on 24 February 2012. The German DVD releases offer both English and German audio options.

On 3 October 2016, Network released all three series of The Animals of Farthing Wood onto a DVD Box Set. This is the first time all episodes have been released in English as an official & complete set. Brownee Bear Productions also own the license for this shows. The license was done thru agreements of the creators.



                                     

7. Differences between the books and the series

There are a number of differences between the books and the television series, most notably the changing of a number of characters from male to female. This included Adder, Weasel, Owl and Kestrel, who retained the markings of a male kestrel. Owl had also been known as Tawny Owl in the books. In addition to this, the books featured a family of lizards who became the newts of the television series. New characters like the Shrews, Hurkel and Measley were introduced. Plucky is also changed from being Bolds grandson to his son. There are females that are males now. They are Sinuous, The Big Owl and Hollow. The Fieldmice are now known as the Mice. Holly is now known as Hollow.

Minor plot changes also exist, such as the order of the pheasants deaths, the deaths of Badger and Moley, and the motives of certain characters. Scarface has a different reason for attacking the Farthing Animals and Bold leaves the Park after an argument with his father, rather than to find a mate as he does in the books. In contrast to Badgers death, Toad and Mossy survive the television series, the former befriending Spike, the rat who killed Mossy and was killed himself by Adder in the books. The cause of Sinuous death was also changed. Of the rats, Brat originally returned to the sewers instead of being killed by Sinuous, while Bully had his tail bitten off by Cleo rather than being killed by Vixen. Also in the end of the book Season 3 was based on, Battle for the Park, Dash is the one who tells the others that White Deer Park has merged with another reserve giving more space for the animals to live, in Season 3, its instead Trey who tells them this.

Scarface and his tribe were rival red foxes in the books. His mate was not also named in the books and her personality is not so developed. Too many red foxes would have been confusing for viewers, so the animators made Scarface and his family distinguishable by making them "blue foxes" more commonly referred to as "silver foxes", a melanistic color morph of the red fox. Speedy was also unnamed. There are also one-episode characters that didnt appear in the books such as The Red Squirrels, Stoat and Scragg the Rat who is killed in his one-time appearance.

The only main plotline that is left out of the series is the plot of The Siege of White Deer Park, in which the character known as The Beast a big wild cat attacks the park, causing further trouble for the animals survival. The storyline of this book is presumably removed because of too much horror and peril themes and the sub-plots that occur in the book such as Badger mistaking Mossy for Mole are broken down into small plot changes in the other book storylines for the series.



                                     

8. Credits

  • Film Laboratories: European Cineman, Television Year
  • Picture Editor: Fiona Keene
  • Line Test Camera: Plaza Synchron
  • Rostrum Camera: Chris Williams, Anthony Hagen, Jacques Armand, Yves Francon, Jean Paul Rossard
  • Production Accountants: Helmut Breuer, Philippe Marteaux
  • Trace & Paint: Audrey Hammond, Pat Arthy, Pete Arthy, Lynda Marmont, Chris Jones, Ross Marks, Sharon Martins, Becky New, Vivienne Redmond, Jenni Steers, Dominique Lenoble, Clarie Dame, Nancy Rey, Frederic Jaubert, Suzy Kopp, Sophie Beltran, Brigitte Boursereau, Rodney Crofton, Carole Dorange, Nathalie Finiels, Cathy Gentric, Isabelle Landmann, Claire Larnelle, Cathy Rigall, Maria Stockman, Mireille Valentin, Wendi Ellis, Jose Amoros-Sanz,
  • Storyboard: Gordon Harrison, Jean Francois Laguionie, Claude Aufrere
  • Copyright 1992, 1993 and 1995 European Broadcasting Union
  • Backgrounds: Ian Henderson, Richard Mithonard, Valerie Carmona, Thomas OLoughlin OLaughlin, Anton Loeb, Mike Wall, Graham Howells, Dean Gordon, Alan Bodner, John Millington, Margaret Riley, Owen Rhou, M.J. Booth, Jimmy Lawlor, Eric Semones, Donald Watson, Philip Phillipson, Andrew Richard Phillipson,
  • Track Readers: Otto Sander, Ulli Philipp, Tilly Lauenstein, Martin Semmelrogge, Helmut Ruge, Wichart V. Roell, Karin Kernke, Franz-Josef Steffens, Stephan Schwartz, Marion Martinzen, Manfred Lehmann, Peter Fricke, Benno Hoffmann, Thomas Reiner, Horst Sachtleben, Michael Habeck, Tommy Piper, Arne Elsholtz, Ingeborg Lapsien, Stefan Orlac
  • Production: A Martin Gates Production in association with Telemagination London, Praxinos Montpeller for the BBC Enterprises
  • Associate Producer: Wolfgang Wegmann
  • EBU Coordinator: Marie-Claire Vionnet
  • Based on the Books by: Colin Dann
  • Production Coordinator: Dominique Edmond-Marlette
  • Dialogue Editor: John Daniels, Hilary Daniels, Hans-Peter Kaufman
  • Checking: Ann Kotch, Janine Arthy, Isabelle Perrichon, Andrew Ryder
  • Adapted by: Steve Walker
  • Character Designs: Elphin Lloyd-Jones, Philippe LeClerc, Patrick Michel
  • Recorded by: WDR Orchestra, KRO Cologne Kolner Rundfunk Orchester
  • Production Supervisor: Jean-Paul Gaspari
  • Directors: Elphin Lloyd-Jones, Philippe LeClerc
  • Editing: Theresa Plummer-Andrews, John Daniels, Ken Morgan, Tom Oliver
  • Theme Music composed and arranged by: Detlev Kuhne
  • Written by: Alan Case, Steve Walker, Sue Butterworth, Jenny McDade, Gordon Harrison, Elphin Lloyd-Jones, Valerie Georgeson
  • Animation Director: Alan Simpson
  • Layouts: Sue Butterworth, Gordon Harrison, Ted Pettengell, Trevor Ricketts, Patrick Michel, Gerard Kiszel, Christian Ragoust
  • Assistant Animators: Philippe Archer, Jean-Yves Regnault, Laurence Commeyras, Isabelle Pouyanne, Didier Chenu, Catherine Halvic, Muriel Chevallier, Sega Favre, Sylvia Bottiau, Sim Lignon
  • Assistant Director: Emile Bourget
  • Producer: John M. Mills
  • Software: Animo Cambridge Animation Systems
  • Animation: Thomas Barker, Monica Brutton, Alison de Vere, Andy Eraclerus, Christopher Evans, Joan Freestone, Tony Guy, Peter Hale, Arthur Humberstone, Simon Loxton, Fraser MacLean, Charlie MacRae, Janet Nunn, John Perkins, Mike Pocock, Paul Stone, Rosemary Welch, Jose Xavier
  • Special Effects: Stephan Hartl, Malcolm Beattie
  • Key Animators: Chris Clarke, Gary Hender, Nathalie Biston, Marian Brooks, Valerie Pouyanne, Jean Francois Galataud, Monica Moinar, Lea Movement
  • Videotape Services: Video Time
  • Executive Producers: Siegmund Grewenig, Theresa Plummer-Andrews
  • Music composed & arranged by: Detlev Kuhne