Free Animated Pictures BiographyWatered-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 Dann's 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 Children's Books' range of storybooks based on popular children's 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.
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 Bold's 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 pheasant's 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 Badger's death, Toad and Mossy survive the television series, the former befriending the rat who killed him 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.
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" (actually "silver foxes", a species with a greyish coat which is normally found only in fur farmings). Speedy was also unnamed. There are also one-episode characters that didn't appear in the books such as The Red Squirrels, Stoat and Scragg the Rat who is killed on 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.
Based on the Books by: Colin Dann
Written by: Alan Case, Steve Walker, Sue Butterworth, Jenny McDade, Gordon Harrison, Elphin Lloyd-Jones, Valerie Georgeson
Adapted by: Steve Walker
Music Composed by: Detlev Kuhne
Theme Music Composed and Arranged by: Dennis Cooper
Recorded by: WDR Orchestra, KRO Cologne
Directors: Elphin Lloyd-Jones, Philippe LeClerc
Assistant Director: Emile Bourget
Animation Director: Alan Simpson
Character Designs: Elphin Lloyd-Jones, Philippe LeClerc, Patrick Michel
Storyboard: Gordon Harrison, Jean Francois Laguionie, Claude Aufrere
Backgrounds: Ian Henderson, Richard Mithonard, Valerie Carmona
Layouts: Sue Butterworth, Gordon Harrison, Ted Pettengell, Trevor Ricketts, Patrick Michel, Gerard Kiszel, Christian Ragoust
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, José Xavier
Key Animators: Chris Clarke, Gary Hender, Nathalie Biston, Marian Brooks, Valerie Pouyanne, Jean Francois Galataud, Monica Moinar, Lea Movement
Assistant Animators: Philippe Archer, Jean-Yves Regnault, Laurence Commeyras, Isabelle Pouyanne, Didier Chenu, Catherine Halvic, Muriel Chevallier, Sega Favre, Sylvia Bottiau, Sim Lignon
Trace & Paint: Audrey Hammond, Pat Arthy, Pete Arthy, Lynda Marmont, Chris Jones, Ross Marks, Sharon Martin, 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
Checking: Ann Kotch, Janine Arthy, Isabelle Perrichon
Rostrum Camera: Chris Williams, Anthony Hagen, Jacques Armand, Yves Francon, Jean Paul Rossard
Software: Animo Cambridge Animation Systems
Production Supervisor: Jean-Paul Gaspari
Production Coordinator: Dominique Edmond-Marlette
Production Accountants: Helmut Breuer, Philippe Marteaux
Editing: Theresa Plummer-Andrews, John Daniels, Ken Morgan, Tom Oliver
Special Effects: Stephan Hartl, Malcolm Beattie
Picture Editor: Fiona Keene
Videotape Services: Video Time
Line Test Camera: Plaza Synchron
Dialogue Editor: John Daniels, Hilary Daniels, Hans-Peter Kaufman
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
Associate Producer: Wolfgang Wegmann
Producer: John M. Mills
Production: Telemagination (London), Praxinos (Montpeller)
EBU Coordinator: Marie-Claire Vionnet
Executive Producers: Siegmund Grewenig, Theresa Plummer-Andrews
Film Laboratories: European Cineman, Television Year