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Hetty Feather
''Hetty Feather' (2015-2020) is a children's TV show on CBBC about Hetty Feather, an abandoned child at the Foundling Hospital in London. It is based on the book series of the same name by Jacqueline Wilson


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  • Aborted Arc: In the Christmas special, set after series 5, Mrs Calendar declares her plans to open a home for children. This is forgotten in the following series though perhaps justified given that Mrs Calendar passes away.
  • Adaptation Distillation: While the first book covers Hetty's life in her foster family and her return to the Foundling Hospital at age five before the Time Skip in the second part, the show's first three seasons focus more on Hetty's present life at the Foundling Hospital and gives a small introduction of Hetty's foster life and return to the hospital at the beginning of the first episode.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The show expands on the life in the hospital by showing life for the boys and even giving episodes focused around other characters in the hospital, in contrast to the entire story being told from Hetty's point-of-view in the book.
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    • At the end of Season 3, when Hetty, Gideon, and Sheila finally leave the Hospital for service at Calendar Hall, the show diverts away from the books by adding brand new characters who never appeared in the books and creating new incidents.
  • Back for the Finale: A number of characters returned for the final three episodes of the series, including Matron, Hetty and Gideon's old friends and staff from the Foundling Hospital, which also made a return appearance
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Constance Calendar, although she does grow out of it in series 6.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Hetty and Gideon.
  • Canon Foreigner: A few, including Mary, Mathias, most of the boys and all the characters at Calendar Hall.
  • Cinderella Circumstances: All the girls in the Foundling Hospital will go into domestic service when they're old enough. At the end of series 3, Hetty and Sheila leave the hospital for service in Calender Hall.
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  • Clip Show: The two-part "The Chronicles of Hetty Feather", released on the BBC iPlayer, which has Hetty recapping her life at the Foundling Hospital and at Calendar Hall, with Framing Device being she is writing articles for Mr Calendar's newspaper. It also serves as a prologue to the final series, setting up the consequences to Hetty writing an article about life in Calendar Hall, Mrs Calendar expecting a baby and Jack leaving the Hall for a new job.
  • Death of a Child: Monica Clackett is very much a child and dies after a fall in series 2.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Mrs Calendar's daughter begins courting a potential suitor in series 4. At the end of the season, where they break up, he comments that he will not marry a woman who considers women equal to men. This is, of course, a reflection of Victorian views on women.
  • Extra-Long Episode:
    • The first two episodes were originally shown as a single hour-long installment and shown as two separate parts on later broadcasts.
    • The Christmas special was an hour-long installment.
  • Fiery Redhead: Hetty Feather is a redhead and a fiery temper when angered.
  • Gene Hunting: Hetty is desperate to find her birth mother. In series 2, she does.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Lady Grenford spends series 4 trying to out Mrs Calendar's secret of an illegitimate son and then series 5 trying to procure the Dawn Star. After spending two series as a villain, in the final series, she shows a nicer side, joining in on Constance's birthday picnic and telling George to not go back to India and send his children away, stating that she does not want his children to lose another parent.
  • MacGuffin: The plot of series 5 revolves around a quest to find a priceless diamond called the Dawn Star.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Tough, outspoken Hetty and patient, gentle Gideon fit this trope.
  • Mixed Ancestry:
    • This is Walter's background, as he finds out when he meets his Dad, a black soldier. His white mother died in childbirth and her family rejected the baby and gave him to the Foundling Hospital.
    • In series 4, Agnes and Lizzy's white mother had several children (including Lizzy) with a black father; no one guesses the girls are sisters because of their different skin colours.
    • Florence in series 5, whose father is white but mother was evidently black.
  • Missing Mom: A plot point in series 4 is Hetty accidentally finding out that Mrs. Calendar has already had an illegitimate child (who was adopted).
  • Musical Episode: The Christmas Special which aired in-between series 5 and 6.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Hetty's token. Her mother gave it to the Foundling Hospital with Hetty when she gave her up. It's a coin with a heart stamped through it.
  • Puppy Love:
    • Harriet and Mathias who both go off to New York together with plans to get married.
    • Hetty seems to view Jack's affection for her as this and, while sympathetic to him, doesn't want to marry him.
  • Put on a Bus: Happens to a few of the children of the Foundling Hospital. Notably Mary in series 1 and Polly in series 2
  • Race Lift: Gideon is white in the books and black in the show. The same is true for Nurse Winterson.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Polly is adopted by a couple because she looks like their recently deceased daughter.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: A subplot in series 4 involves the cook Mrs Whittock gradually losing her memory from dementia, forcing Sheila and the others to desperately try and cover for her.
  • Scullery Maid: Sheila at the end of series 3 and series 4. This is also Ida Battersea's job at the Foundling Hospital before she is dismissed
  • Traumatic Haircut: When little girls are first brought to the Foundling Hospital, they have their hair cut off short. This also happens to Sheila, Elizabeth, and Monica in the second episode of series 1 when Matron doesn't believe them when they tell her of Hetty trying to escape as punishment for being out of bed. They sport Boyish Short Hair for the rest of series 1.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In season 2, Jem tells Hetty that their father (Jem's biological father) has taken ill. Barring a flashback, he is never seen again and it is unknown what happened to everyone in Hetty's foundling family.


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