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Shaun the Sheep
Shaun the Sheep.PNG
Genre Animated children's comedy
Created by Nick Park
Developed by Richard Goleszowski
Alison Snowden
David Fine
Directed by Richard Goleszowski
Christopher Sadler
Voices of John Sparkes
Justin Fletcher
Kate Harbour
Richard Webber
Jo Allen
Theme music composer Mark Thomas
Opening theme "Life's a Treat", performed by Vic Reeves
Country of origin  United Kingdom
Language(s) Not language specific
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 80 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Miles Bullough
David Sproxton
Peter Lord
Nick Park
Producer(s) Julie Lockhart, Gareth Owen
Running time 7 minutes
Production company(s) Aardman Animations
Broadcast
Original channel BBC One
CBBC
BBC HD (2009–present)
Picture format PAL (576i) (2007)
HDTV (1080i) (2009–present)
Audio format Stereo
Original run 5 March 2007 – present
Chronology
Related shows A Close Shave
Timmy Time
External links
Official website

Shaun the Sheep is a British stop-motion animated children's television series produced by Aardman Animations, and commissioned by the BBC and the WDR. It first aired in the UK on CBBC in March 2007. The first series was deemed a success worldwide and a third batch of episodes (the second series production-wise) is currently being aired.

Contents

History

The character first appeared in the 1995 Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit short film A Close Shave. Sucked into Wallace's Knit-o-matic contraption, the sheep is accidentally shorn, so Wallace names him "Shaun" (a pun as "Shaun" sounds identical to "shorn" – unless spoken with a rhotic accent). Shaun later appeared in the 2002 series Cracking Contraptions episode, "Shopper 13", ostensibly to rescue a wayward wheel of cheese. The popularity of the character, as expressed in the success of Shaun the Sheep merchandise, led to the commissioning of an initial 40 seven-minute episodes by Michael Carrington at the BBC.[1]

A second series of 40 episodes began on 23 November 2009 on BBC One and BBC HD.[2] Some characters also appeared in two idents for the relaunched CBBC.[3]

In 2008 Aardman Animation was awarded the International Emmy for Shaun the Sheep in the Children & Young People.[4]

Synopsis

A premise of the series is that Shaun the sheep exhibits human intelligence, creativity, and behaviour in a farm setting, which usually provides a situational comedy conflict which Shaun must resolve before the end of each episode. Recurring themes include the characters evading the sheepdog Bitzer (though he is sometimes with the sheep in their escapades) and avoiding discovery by the Farmer. In the first episode, a stray cabbage bouncing into the field provokes an impromptu football game. In the second episode, a freezing cold sheep dip sends Shaun on a commando raid to get hot water from the Farmer’s bathtub.

Episodes are a combination of slapstick and classic silent comedy in Aardman’s recognisable animation style. There is no spoken dialogue, even by human characters. In this way it is reminiscent of silent comedy films and even Pingu and the animated version of Mr. Bean.

Based on the theme-song, a longer CD-version was released under the title "Life's A Treat", performed by Vic Reeves,

Characters

Richard Goleszowski at Canterbury's Anifest 2008 with models of one of the sheep in the flock, Bitzer, Timmy, and Shaun.
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Major characters

  • Shaun is the leader of the flock. He's clever, cool and always keeps his head, when the other sheep are losing theirs!
  • Bitzer is the farmer's long-suffering sheepdog and a good friend to Shaun, Bitzer's the ever suffering sheep dog, doing his best to keep Shaun's pals out of trouble!
  • Shirley is an eating machine! She's so big that she often gets stuck and needs the other sheep to push, pull or even sling-shot her out of trouble
  • Timmy may be the baby of the flock, but Timmy is often at the centre of things! It's a good job his mum is always there to keep him safe.
  • Timmy's Mother wears curlers in her hair, and is a bit careless about maternal duties (even turning Timmy once into some sort of a paint brush). But when her offspring goes astray, she is inconsolable until he is safely back in her care.
  • The Flock are the one big happy (if slightly dopey) family, the sheep like to play and create mischief together, though it's usually Shaun and Bitzer who sort out the resulting mess!
  • The Farmer Running the farm with Bitzer at his side, he is complelety oblivious to the human-like intelligence of his flock… or their stupidity!
  • The Naughty Pigs are always trying to antagonise the Sheep and get them into trouble. Thank goodness Bitzer is around!
  • Pidsley is Shaun's nemesis, Pidsley the cat, desires to be the sole recipient of the Farmer's attention. He is jealous of Bitzer's relationship with the farmer and dislikes the sheep, thinking them stupid and beneath him.

Minor characters

Animals

  • The Rooster appears at the start of the opening credits. He also kicked out one of the sheep that intruded their coop in "Sheepwalking".
  • The Mother Hen left her clutch of four eggs for a walk, only to find the nest empty (only eggshells are left). She then goes to look for them, posting "missing" signs everywhere, even erasing her fear as she asked The Bull for her chicks' whereabouts, and looked for them at night. She appears in "Who’s the Mummy?". She also appears in, "In The Doghouse"; the flock throw her a party in the chicken coop.
  • Baby Chicks are chicks that easily annoy Shaun. They always follow wherever Shaun goes (because Shaun was the first thing they saw upon hatching – something called imprinting), and in order to make them accept Mother Hen as their real mother, they turned Shaun's fleece into clothing for her (because they like Shaun's fleece). They appear in "Who's the Mummy".
  • The Duck In the first series,the duck suffers collateral damage due to Shaun’s exploits in "Off the Baa!", "Tidy Up", and "Bath Time". Sometimes he is seen with his ladyfriends. In series two there are two ducks that act as more of a double act. In series two, the duck have been replaced with a pure white duck.
  • The Bird is tweeting on the scope in "Off the Baa!" and beside Bitzer listening to the MP3 Player in "Fleeced".
  • The Worm is under the grass in "The Kite".
  • Mower Mouth the Goat is an unstoppable eating machine – while not an unfriendly character, all his considerable energy is focused on his next meal. He appears in an episode named after him, and also on "Saturday Night Shaun". He was also routinely causing trouble for Shaun and the flock in Shaun the Farmer.
  • 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". When Shaun orders a red bed sheet, he stops chasing the other sheep (painted red) around the farm. He was an unexpected guest at the barn-turned-disco in "Saturday Night Shaun".
  • The Mole is a rude pest in "Mountains Out of Molehills". He is fearless when mocking Shaun, but not so brave when Mother Mole turns up.
  • Mother Mole is the mother the mole and pulled his ears and took him away in the episode "Mountains Out of Molehills".
  • The Bees got into trouble with Shaun when he whacked one of them. But they later turned their attention to Bitzer's strawberry jam sandwich, and cause trouble for him, the flock, and later, the Farmer. They were one of the few computer-generated things in the programme
  • She-Bitzer is a female dog belonging to campers who pitch their tent by the sheep field in "Fetching". After a brief courtship, she and Bitzer are cruelly separated when her owners pack up and leave the field.
  • The Frog is found in the scarecrow's hat, then in the pocket of the coat which Shaun takes. He is bartered along with three buttons, a small comb and a kazoo in exchange for a number of pizzas. He seems unwilling to become the pizza delivery boy's pet.
  • The Mouse is used by the Naughty Pigs for their prank on the flock in "Things That Go Bump" (Sereis 1). In Series 2, its fur is very different to Series 1.
  • The Ladybird got squashed in "The Kite" when Timmy accidentally sat on him.
  • The Birds make occasional appearances. One of them provided diversion (by providing his voice when answering the phone) while Shaun raided the Farmer's bathroom for his hot bath; the others were watching Bitzer court She-Bitzer with a Frisbee (and one of them stuck inside).
  • The Bagpipes Not a real animal but the sheep mistake them for an emu in, "Bagpipe Buddy" (series 2).
  • Lola A special guest sheep and Shaun's love interest in, "Two's Company" (series 2).

Humans

  • Pizza Delivery Boy is a teenager who rides a moped and works in the local pizzeria. Also moonlights as a postman in "Saturday Night Shaun".
  • The Farmer’s Niece is a sweet cherub whose over-enthusiastic love of animals spells trouble for Bitzer and the Flock, especially Shaun.
  • The Ramblers are a liberal, nature-loving couple in "Shaun Shoots the Sheep". They ran away scared because the sheep formed a square and scares the couple.
  • The Scarecrow is not a human character, but a handy prop which Shaun uses in "Take Away" and "Things That Go Bump".
  • Fair Stall Man tries to cheat the sheep on his stall (the cans cannot be knocked down), but was flabbergasted when the sheep wins anyway, and the sheep choose a cuddly toy that they want.
  • Bus Driver took the sheep to and from the fair in "Sheep on the Loose" and "Takeaway".
  • The Granny is a short-tempered, short-sighted old lady, appears in "Takeaway" and "Save the Tree". She also appears in "Two's Company", holding a cart.
  • The Camper is the main antagonist in the episode "Camping Chaos". He is a man who camps on the farmer's field. He leaves litter around the field. The flock enjoys messing with his things, which angers him. The gang tries to kick him away so the farmer will feel lawnhappy.
  • The Art Collector is never seen but arrives in a stretched limo buying the sheep's much overpainted canvas for a large wad of notes, which the farmer receives with ecstasy.
  • The Farmer's Girlfriend appears for the first time in Series 2.

Aliens

  • The Alien Family appears in "Shaun Encounters", consisting of 2 adults and 2 youngsters. They exhibit human-like behaviour and generally jovial personalities. They are green and have one large eye on the top of the head. The mother wears a granny dress while her husband wore a metal shirt. Their children act like naughty,spoiled brats.
  • The Lone Alien appears in "The Visitor". He is similar to the members of the Alien Family but his shirt is similar to the bad children's father. He appears not to originate from Earth, as Shaun has to point out to him on a picture of the solar system, which planet he is currently on. He has a machine that can analyse the characteristics of an animal, including what it likes in life, and which can synthesise objects apparently from thin air.
  • The Alien Scientists Abduct Shaun and Pidsley in, "Cat Got Your Brain" (series 2).

Episodes

DVDs

Region 2

  • Off the Baa! (released 12th November 2007)
    • "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"
  • Shape Up With Shaun (released 17th November 2007)
    • "Shape Up With Shaun"
    • "Bathtime"
    • "Fetching"
    • "Take Away"
    • "Still Life"
    • "Scrumping"
    • "Little Sheep of Horrors"
    • "The Kite"
  • Shaun the Sheep Box Set (released 12th November 2007)
    • "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"
    • "Shape Up With Shaun"
    • "Bathtime"
    • "Fetching"
    • "Take Away"
    • "Still Life"
    • "Scrumping"
    • "Little Sheep of Horrors"
    • "The Kite"
  • Saturday Night Shaun (released 10th March 2008)
    • "Saturday Night Shaun"
    • "Stick With Me"
    • "Shaun The Farmer"
    • "Sheep On The Loose"
    • "Tidy Up"
    • "Snore-Worn Shaun"
    • "Camping Chaos"
    • "If You Can’t Stand The Heat"
  • Abracadabra (released 20th October 2008)
    • "Abracadabra"
    • "The Bull"
    • "Who's the Mummy?"
    • "Hiccups"
    • "Heavy Metal Shaun"
    • "Troublesome Tractor"
    • "Sheepwalking"
    • "Save the Tree"
  • Wash Day (released 17th November 2008)
    • "Wash Day"
    • "Tooth Fairy"
    • "The Farmer's Niece"
    • "The Visitor"
    • "Helping Hound"
    • "Big Top Timmy"
    • "Bitzer Puts His Foot in It"
    • "Shaun Encounters"
  • Shaun the Sheep – Complete Season One (released 17th 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"
    • "Shape Up With Shaun"
    • "Bathtime"
    • "Fetching"
    • "Take Away"
    • "Still Life"
    • "Scrumping"
    • "Little Sheep of Horrors"
    • "The Kite"
    • "Saturday Night Shaun"
    • "Stick With Me"
    • "Shaun The Farmer"
    • "Sheep On The Loose"
    • "Tidy Up"
    • "Snore-Worn Shaun"
    • "Camping Chaos"
    • "If You Can’t Stand The Heat"
    • "Abracadabra"
    • "The Bull"
    • "Who's the Mummy?"
    • "Hiccups"
    • "Heavy Metal Shaun"
    • "Troublesome Tractor"
    • "Sheepwalking"
    • "Save the Tree"
    • "Wash Day"
    • "Tooth Fairy"
    • "The Farmer's Niece"
    • "The Visitor"
    • "Helping Hound"
    • "Big Top Timmy"
    • "Bitzer Puts His Foot in It"
    • "Shaun Encounters"

Reception

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."[5] The Guardian noted that the series "hits the four-to-seven-year-old age group smack in the eye."[6] Charles Arthur wrote "classic Aardman style that leaves me laughing out loud."[7] On forums, the show has received rave reviews, with Shaun becoming a favourite among adults as well as children.[8] The Daily Mail's "Weekend Magazine" gave it an average of five stars in the past six months.[citation needed]

References to popular culture

As with the series' parent show Wallace and Gromit, there are many allusions to scenes from 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 Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is spoofed in the episode "The Little Sheep of Horrors", whose name is based on the 1960 film The Little Shop of Horrors and its 1986 remake.
  • In "Hiccups", Shaun turns his guitar amplifier up to 11 in a reference to a scene in This Is Spinal Tap.
  • In "Fleeced", the Farmer drags one of the sheep away for shearing, slamming a large metal sliding door closed behind him. This is particularly reminiscent of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
  • In "The Visitor" the alien thrashes his car with a tree branch in the same way as Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers.
    • Also in "The Visitor", the alien's space ship can use sheep feces as fuel, which resemble Nibbler's feces in Futurama.
  • In one episode a sheep is reading a magazine called "Bleat", A spoof of celebrity gossip magazine "Heat".
  • Near the end of "Off the Baa" the well-known Nessun Dorma theme from Puccini's opera Turandot is used, which was the musical theme of the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
  • 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 tossed back. This is reminiscent of the scene in the 1980 movie Airplane!, where Robert Hays tosses his white sportcoat away, only to have it tossed back in his face.
  • In "Mountains out of Molehills" Shaun tries to catch the mole with a fishing rod and line. When the first "bite" is shown, the first two notes of the "Jaws" theme are played.

International broadcasters

The series is currently airing on Danish, Indian (Nick), Icelandic, German, Japanese, Finnish, Polish, Croatian, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Lithuanian and American television, and is scheduled for broadcast in 74 countries in total.

Country Channel(s)
 Argentina Disney Channel
 Australia ABC1, ABC2, ABC3 and Nick Jr.
 Austria ORF
 Brazil Disney Channel and TV Cultura
 Belgium RTBF
 Bosnia and Herzegovina RTV
 Canada Teletoon
 Croatia HRT
 Colombia Disney Channel
 Czech Republic Cartoon Network and Česká televize
 Denmark Disney Channel, DR1 and DR Ramasjang
 Estonia ETV
 Finland YLE
 France Disney Channel and TF1
 Germany WDR, KI.KA
 Hong Kong Disney Channel
 Hungary Cartoon Network
 Iceland Sjónvarpið
 India Nickelodeon
 Indonesia B Channel
 Iran Tehran TV
 Ireland RTÉ Two
 Israel Logi Channel
 Italy Disney Channel, RaiDue
 Japan NHK and Disney Channel
 South Korea EBS and Disney Channel Asia
 Latvia TV6 Latvia
 Lithuania Lithuanian National Radio and Television
 Malaysia Disney Channel Asia
 Mexico Disney Channel México, Once TV
 New Zealand TV2 and Nickelodeon New Zealand
 Netherlands Nickelodeon
 Norway NRK
 Philippines Disney Channel
 Poland Cartoon Network and TVP1
 Portugal RTP2 and Disney Channel
 Romania Cartoon Network
 Russia 2x2 (TV channel)
 Saudi Arabia MBC3
 Serbia Fox televizija
 Singapore Disney Channel Asia and MediaCorp okto
 Slovakia Cartoon Network and STV
 Slovenia Radiotelevizija Slovenija
 Spain Nickelodeon and Canal Super3 (in catalan)
 Sweden SVT
 Switzerland SF, TSR
 Taiwan Disney Channel
 Thailand ThaiPBS,Disney Channel Asia
 Turkey TNT
 United Kingdom BBC One, BBC Two, CBBC
 United States Disney Channel, Toon Disney
 Vietnam Disney Channel Asia

Video games

On 16 June 2008, D3 Publisher of America, which published a game based on Aardman's 2006 film Flushed Away, announced that it would also release a video game based on the television series. The Shaun the Sheep game was developed by Art Co., Ltd exclusively for Nintendo DS, and was released in autumn 2008.[9] The Shaun the Sheep website also ran a contest which offered five packages containing a Nintendo DS and a copy of the game as a prize.

A second game named Shaun the Sheep: Off His Head was released in 2009 exclusively in Europe.

Spin-off

Aardman Animations produced a spin-off show aimed at pre-schoolers based on Timmy, called Timmy Time.[10]

See also

References

  1. ^ Shaun the Sheep gets his own show. BBC News, 23 September, 2004.
  2. ^ http://www.shaunthesheep.com/forum/read/40979/1
  3. ^ Web
  4. ^ http://www.iemmys.tv/awards_previous.aspx
  5. ^ TV Review The Stage. Harry Venning. 12 March 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2007
  6. ^ Last Night's TV Guardian UK. 6 March 2007. Nancy Banks-Smith. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
  7. ^ Roll over, Pixar – Shaun the sheep’s here to tickle your funny bone CharlesArthur.com 20 March 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2007
  8. ^ Forum entry DigitalSpy.
  9. ^ Remo, Chris (2008-06-16). "D3 Announces Coraline And Shaun The Sheep Adaptations". Gamasutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=18932. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  10. ^ Loveday, Samantha. "Timmy Tales". Licensing.biz. http://www.licensing.biz/brand-profiles/39/Timmy. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 

External links


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