Sarah & Duck is a CBeebies Slice of Life animated series that follows the adventures of Sarah, a 7 year old girl, and her best friend Duck, a Mallard duck in a quirky neighborhood. Narrated by Roger Allam and launched in 18 February 2013, its first series of 40 7-minute shorts did well enough that two more were promised, concluding on 15 December 2017.
A live stage show entitled "Sarah & Duck's Big Top Birthday" featuring puppet versions of the characters made its debut in May 2018, with a planned tour for 2019.
Airs on Sprout in the United States and is also available worldwide on Netflix.
- Animate Inanimate Object: Not everything, but a lot of them. From a vegetable patch, to a knitting bag, to a rainbow, to an umbrella, to a cake.....you name it! Even objects not drawn with a face are often animate and capable of expression. Eventually in "Donkey Jump", Sarah and Duck are trying to catch their toys moving, and it's hard to say whether they or the audience are more disappointed they don't.
- Artistic License Animal Care: In reality, Duck would have become sick (or worse) from eating so much bread.
- A Dog Named "Dog": Duck. Think about it. A duck named Duck. There's also a knitting bag named Bag, a rainbow named Rainbow, a cake named Cake, a donkey named Donkey, an umbrella named Umbrella, a flamingo named Flamingo, some leftover yarn named......well, you'll get the idea.
- A Boy and His X: A Girl and Her Duck. A younger Sarah met a very young Duck in the park in the middle of winter, and after a fun day together in the snow, took her new friend home rather than leave him alone in the cold. They're inseparable, and more than once noticeably distraught without the other.
- All Just a Dream: Once a season.
- The "Strawberry Souffle" episode, although the true surrealness of the episode doesn't stand out until a bit further in it.
- "Toggle Tangle" has a lot more fun with it, with Sarah helping Scarf Lady knit a roof, only to drift off and dream she has knitted everything, the house, the sinks, the water, the fruit, the sky...
- "Old Toys" lets Duck have a turn, falling asleep in his robot costume to dream up a techno wonderland he's chasing some digital bread through.
- Bigger on the Inside:
- When Sarah buys a ball that won't bounce, the bouncy ball vending machine turns out to have a giant testing chamber with hundreds of balls bouncing around inside, and in a later episode, a lab for balls that bounce differently, and another vending machine inside that lab to dispense help for said balls.
- The underside of the Librarian's desk is an endless crawlspace that doesn't end where the desk does. He calls it the "Lost Book Section".
- Bilingual Bonus: John and Flamingo have a pet octopus named Tako. John even says that "tako" is Japanese for "octopus."
- Cannot Tell a Joke: The Narrator, befitting his father role to Sarah, is very very fond of Dad Joke level puns, with delivery so hammy you can hear the cheesy grin and waggling eyebrows. Sarah and Duck never get any of them.
- Characterization Marches On:
- In "Sarah, Duck, and the Penguins", Sarah suggests figure skating as one of the things they could do. Later episodes show her as increasingly bored and frustrated whenever figure skating actually comes on.
- Duck originally had a taste for lemon water right along with Sarah, but as early as "Rainbow Lemon" is seen shaking off the lemon sour instead of enjoying it.
- Childish Tooth Gap: Sarah is sometimes shown to have a few teeth missing when she smiles, which is justified since she's seven years old and kids are usually losing their baby teeth around this age.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Scarf Lady certainly qualifies. Malaproper aside, she's often forgetful and scatterbrained, and when we see her younger days, is implied to always have been. On good days, she seems to take it in stride and even seems to throw in some intentional mistakes to keep people guessing. On bad days, she can forget what's going on three times in three minutes.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: And Bag is this to Scarf Lady, acting as constant wrong-word translator, reminder service, and memory bank.
- Continuity: The show has a surprisingly good amount of this despite being aimed at a younger audience.
- Duck's birthday cake Cake was made (born), uneaten since he was talking, and then forgotten. He later came back for Sarah's birthday, came back again to lampshade how boring it is staying in the fridge, and then became Bread Man's recurring assistant in his shop.
- Cool Old Lady: Scarf Lady, once more.
- Her knitting acts like a superpower from time to time. Knitting an enormous hot air balloon to enter (and win) a "Balloon Race" really brings out the awesome in mundane old-lady tasks!
- She also knitted a huge hat for her "Weeping Woolen Tree," where she gets all her wool from (yes, wool grows on trees here), which took nearly her entire supply of yarn, which Sarah and Duck helped to resupply when she ran out.
- When Sarah and Duck get interested in bobsleigh, she also turns out to have been a former winter sports competitor and bobsleigh champion.
- Deadpan Snarker: Bag, particularly when he corrects Scarf Lady. Sarah also has her moments.
- Domestic-Only Cartoon: British, through and through.
- Does Not Like Spam: In "Sarah, Duck and the Penguins", Duck tries out fish while pretending to be a penguin and is promptly disgusted by the taste. A bit of Fridge Brilliance to this; plants and invertebrates make up most of a mallard's diet, while fish is only occasionally eaten.
- Everything Talks: The animals don't speak English, but there are tons of Animate Inanimate Objects that do.
- Feather Fingers: Subverted. Duck and the other avian characters grab with their beaks like real birds, while they uses their wings for flapping or gesticulation.
- Four Fingered Hand: All the human characters are drawn with these.
- Great Big Library of Everything: The Library that the characters frequently visit is this, where there are sections for every kind of book possible. There's even an Underwater Section where the books float in water!
- Grows on Trees: Often. Scarf Lady has her Weeping Woolen Tree, which grows a fair bit of her wool supply, and nests nightpuffs for filling pillows. Umbrellas grow like mushrooms from the ground given enough water. Bug leads Sarah to a quite magical wild garden that grows a variety of Christmas decorations when all of the store offerings don't suit.
- Halloween Episode: "Boo Night", where the characters dress up and attempt to scare each other.
- Interactive Narrator: The Narrator helps and makes suggestions for Sarah and Duck, serving as a sort of father figure. He's treated like a just offscreen character by everyone, tagging along as the peanut gallery for their adventures.
- Invisible Parents: Sarah and Duck - and every other child in the show - appear to live alone. This trope is played to let the young characters have agency and do things for themselves - adults are everywhere as neighbors and shopkeeps, just not parents, and it's never suggested they're abandoned. Later episodes do make clear the Narrator also lives with Sarah, but his presence is limited to some boxes in the attic and tending the kitchen offscreen. Cake even enforces it once when the Narrator tries to get on screen.Sarah, Duck, and Bread Man set up for baking, with Cake directing.Narrator: What can I do?Cake: Uhhhh... you just stay nice and quiet.
- Limited Wardrobe: The characters rarely change clothes. Sarah has an entire set of green hats with nubs on.
Scarf Lady: Good morning! Hope we're not too early!Bag: It's the evening, and we're late!
- Scarf Lady, constantly. It's half her charm. Sometimes it's a closely pronounced word, sometimes she has the right concept but wrong idea, and sometimes there's no telling.
Narrator: Very eloquent, Duck.Sarah: Yes, very elephants.
- From time to time, Sarah too, as only a young kid can.
- Mobile Maze: In "Train Fudge", the duo are chasing the snack trolley through a luggage compartment, only to find the bags move around and give them a few dead ends when they're not looking.
- Name and Name: Sarah And Duck.
- Nice Hat: Sarah is rarely seen without her trademark green beanie hat. In some episodes where she dresses up, she'll swap her hat for one that matches whatever costume she's wearing.
- The Librarian also wears an open book on his head and Scooter Boy has his helmet.
- Off-Model: In the episode "Duck's Birthday", Sarah and Duck are drawn with slightly thinner outlines.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Most of the other human characters: Scarf Lady, Scooter Boy, Plate Girl, etc. Even the adults are in on it - Scarf Lady calls Bus Man by "Bus Chappie", and lots of people use "Scarfie" for Scarf Lady.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: In "No More Wool," Leftover Wool admits he's unaware of what Scarf Lady is knitting, but suggests that considering the size of what she's making, it's probably a "wooly hat for the Big Shop!" She was indeed knitting a wooly hat, but it was for the Weeping Woolen Tree (she calls it a "treewarmer").
- Serious Business: To Sarah, her favorite bench in the park. It's the only thing that helped inspire her to poetry. When she's showing the shallots around, the bench takes priority over the playground. Finally, when one day she finds it occupied by someone napping, she spends the rest of the episode trying to wake them, two attempted leg bites included.
- Spear Counterpart: John and Flamingo, Sarah and Duck's friends.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: For "Boo Night", Sarah makes a crayon outfit, then adds a visor, some wings, and a wand, dubbing herself a "future fairy crayon". Duck and Bug get similar mashed up outfits. After running into Scarf Lady and Bag, dressed as a pirate and parrot...Scarf Lady: Arrr! And what be you?Bag: She's a future fairy crayon! Obviously!
- Swans A-Swimming: Averted in "Fancy Park". Pretty as the swans at the titular park are, they're portrayed as greedy and snobby. When they see Sarah giving Duck some bread, they start quacking for some, she tosses a slice in the pool — and then they turn up their beaks at it, apparently seeing it as "common". A slight case of Shown Their Work, as real swans are not as friendly as people assume.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: While the three big Shallots usually say the same thing one after the other, the smallest Shallot will always say something different.Shallots: Hello. Hello. Hello. Cheers!
- Trademark Favorite Food: Cherry tomatoes and lemon water for Sarah. Any and all bread for Duck, including Sarah's.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: "Parasol Show" has Umbrella get an invitation to the titular show from his pen-pal, whom he spends the entire episode looking for. He never finds her, instead befriending a completely different umbrella, and the pen-pal's absence goes unexplained.