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Western Animation / The Animals of Farthing Wood

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Remember The Oath.

The Animals of Farthing Wood was an Animated Series on the BBC, based on a series of seven booksnote  by Colin Dann, who later added a prequelnote  to the list. The series lasted from January, 1992 to December, 1995. A total of 39 episodes aired over three series, each of 13 episodes.

It followed a collection of animals from Farthing Wood, which was being destroyed by humans to build houses. The animals fled the wood as a group, led by Fox, in order to reach the sanctuary of White Deer Park, a nature reserve where they would be safe from humans. They swore the Oath of Mutual Protection, where they promised not to eat, bully or harm each other along the way. The journey was full of danger, and many animals lost their lives.

The second and third series followed the adventures after journey's end, as the animals settled into White Deer Park. Naturally of course the adventures did not end there, and many White Deer Park animals joined the cast at this point.

The series is sometimes better remembered as Farthing Wood Friends due to the popular tie-in magazine that came out during the run of the show.

Unusually, the Series was produced in collaboration with the European Broadcast Union (who are more famous for the annual Eurovision Song Contest), and dubbed into a multitude of other languages.

There were also a PC game based on the series and a set of audio tapes where a few of the main cast (Fox, Badger, Toad, Owl and Weasel) told the story of their journey to Fox's young cubs while Vixen was out hunting. Neither of these are easy to find any more.

The complete series was released on DVD in Europe in 2017.

This show provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: While away looking for a mate, Owl spends some time being bothered by a moth-eaten rook who immediately declares that he loves her. Naturally Owl is uninterested in him as a mate, but she eventually learns to appreciate his attempts to help; the audio adaptation has her explicitly muse that the rook helped her learn how to open herself to her later mate.
  • Achilles in His Tent: The fact that both Owl and Weasel left White Deer Park at the start of the third season was specifically what gave the rats the courage to invade White Deer Park, mainly because they were the swiftest and most effective hunters of small mammals.
  • Acrophobic Bird: Whistler is a downplayed example. He was once shot in the wing while he was flying. This left him, not exactly afraid to fly, but he'd still rather stay on the ground if he has a choice.
  • Action Girl:
    • Vixen, Charmer and Whisper can all fight.
    • In the books, Bold mentions that Whisper's lithe movements remind him of his mother, Vixen.
    • Also, Adder, in a sneaky sort of way. As a venomous snake, she's actually among the deadliest fighters of the animals.
  • Adaptational Wimp: The rats, while still a tad Not So Harmless at times, are far more cartoonish villains in the animated series, with a much smaller kill count (as in one animal). It is perhaps due to this that their defeat is mostly restricted to slapstick, with Bully retreating in humiliation compared to his graphic death in the books.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • The original novel has a very literal Cast Herd, with the smaller animals (apart from Toad and Mole) coming in vaguely defined but sizable groups, to the point that one of the first things Fox does before setting off on the expedition to White Deer Park is tell the small animals to appoint leaders to communicate with him. The cartoon pars this down to all of the small prey animals instead consisting of mated pairs, with the exception of the rabbits (who have two kittens) and the newts (who have a single child). This inadvertently makes one episode more dramatic than its novel counterpart; when two hedgehogs die on the motorway, in the novel this is a sad but ultimately minor event, because there's still plenty of hedgehogs left, but in the cartoon, this is truly tragic, because those were the very last hedgehogs of Farthing Wood.
    • Series 3 generally took more liberties with the source material, including sparing a few characters who died in the books, and skipping out one installment (The Siege of White Deer Park) altogether. At this point the censors were beginning to get stricter over what they would allow children to see, so the especially violent content in The Siege of White Deer Park would have no longer been considered acceptable. Also explains the Lighter and Softer nature of the third series.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: A curious case with the foxes of White Deer Park. They were ordinary red foxes in the book but made into blue foxes in the cartoon (presumably to distinguish them from the Farthing Wood foxes).
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • Scarface's mate is mostly just a background character and isn't necessarily evil but the cartoon expands her role into a proper Femme Fatale. Also Friendly takes on Bold's role as the sneak between Charmer and Ranger, making his name in the cartoon rather ironic.
    • Poor, poor Weasel. It wasn't enough that this originally male character became gratuitously female for the cartoon adaptation. In the book, Weasel was a loyal, dependable, heroic animal who did his part to help the rest of the group and was genuinely concerned about the welfare of others. In the cartoon, she's an immature and obnoxious creature who laughs annoyingly when other animals are in danger, and everyone just wants to strangle her.
    • Trey from In the Path of the Storm gets an interesting case of this. The book version is more of an arrogant snob who considers the white deer superior to other animals and tries to enforce his restrictive laws on others, acting as a secondary issue to the poisoned stream. The cartoon version a thuggish bully with a Hair-Trigger Temper who despises weasels and any other small animals and attempts to trample anyone who offends him, making him far more of an immediate threat.
  • Alcohol Hic: Weasel after she gets hammered on wine.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Weasel is far larger than a real-life weasel. She's portrayed as nearly the size of an otter, whilst real weasels are smaller than rats.
    • Also Fox, at least in the scenes with the Mastiff in the first series. Mastiffs are a large breed of dog which should tower over a fox, but Fox is shown as almost the same size.
  • Animal Stereotypes: For example:
    • Fox is cunning and wily.
    • Adder talksssss like a snake.
    • Toad, a water-loving creature, has a stereotypical old sailor accent.
  • Animal Talk: All of the animals can communicate. Predators like foxes and snakes can speak to prey animals like mice and voles, and domestic animals like dogs and cats have no issue understanding the wild ones. Before the journey to the new home starts, the predators must take an oath to not eat the prey in the group.
  • Animated Adaptation: Based on the books by Colin Dann. One book in the series, The Siege of White Deer Park, was omitted from the cartoon (a few small scenes and plot points were retained with new context), due to its violence and the book's poor reception.
  • Animation Bump:
    • Series 1 as far as movement sees mostly repeated loops like Weasel's laugh, head turns, Mouth Flapping and walk cycles to the left or right; plenty of exceptions, of course, but definitely enough to notice.
    • Series 2 sees a large increase in frame rate, strangely concentrated in scenes involving the Weasels.
    • Series 3 really begins to diversify the movements of each character, faces are more expressive, lips sync more with the dialogue, and more dynamic shots occur. Though this leaves room for more mistakes, which shows with the occasional stray mark or jiggling cell.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift:
    • Subtle, but compare Weasel's actions and movements between Series 1 and 2, and eventually more of them in Series 3 where the animation turned a teeny bit sloppy.
    • Crow goes through this as well, and much more rapidly. Within two episodes after meeting Bold, his gestures become very human-like.
  • Anyone Can Die: Quite a lot of the main cast were killed off as the series went on. Including at least one character that didn't die in the books, but weirdly two that did die in the books survive in the TV series.
  • Artifact Title: After Series 1 the action took place in White Deer Park and involved many new characters who weren't from Farthing Wood. By Series 3 most of the main characters were animals who had never lived in Farthing Wood.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Adder's venom. In Real Life, European adders have rather weak venom. Here, it's powerful enough to kill Scarface in well under a minute.
  • Ascended Extra: Scarface's mate was just a minor character in the book but is given a much more prominent role in the TV series as well as getting a name (Lady Blue).
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Fox. In Series 1, he lures hunters away from Vixen and he defeats a dog by bluffing. In Series 2, he defeats the deer hunters twice by luring them to the pond with thin ice and on the second time, he lures them to get the warden's attention to apprehend them. Fox also fights Scarface to save the rest of the animals. Fox was made the leader of the Farthing Wood animals in the first place because he's the most cunning and one of the most physically capable of them.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: In season 3, whilst Bully is mocking the Warden for placing down poisoned baits to kill off city rats who have been dealing with such things all their lives, another rat gobbles up the whole bait pile and boasts that some city rats have even built up an immunity to poison. Except it turns out he was drastically overestimating his resistance, and he promptly drops dead.
  • Balloon Belly:
    • Adder obtains one after she stuffs herself on the edible frogs. Toad is not amused by this at all.
    • Hare ends up being inflated by Measley when the latter holds Hare's mouth for 100 seconds to cure his hiccups.
  • Best Served Cold: Adder swears revenge on Scarface for biting her tail and almost killing her. After she escapes from him, she lies low until exacting it by biting his ankle underwater when he goes for a drink.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Badger is usually the nicest animal of the Farthing Wood group, but if you try to hurt or kidnap his friends, the results would get ugly. The Warden's cat learned this the hard way when he hurt Kestrel. Put into enthasis straight afterwards, where after swiping off the cat and checking on Kestrel, he wonders if he was too brutal.
  • Big Bad: Scarface in the second series, Bully in the third.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Rollo, a mastiff in the books and a Saint Bernard in the cartoon. While not very bright, he is well-meaning, bringing food to Bold and Whisper and protecting the weasel family. He also rescues Shadow after the hurricane.
  • Big Good: The Warden of White Deer Park, who heals Badger and fights poachers. His heart attack in Season 3 allows the rats to easily invade the park. The White Stag as well, who is attentive to the Farthing Wood animals' needs (and also functions as narrator for Season 2). His death by poisoning in season 3 leads to a tyrant taking over.
    • Fox and Badger are this in general, with the former's wit and the later's strength saving the group many a time. (Though they are not immune to poor judgement, such as Fox's treatment of Charmer's crush on Ranger.)
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end of Series 2, Bold dies just outside of the park when he returned home, but he gets to know, seconds before he dies, that his cubs will be safe and that his father is proud of him. His death also causes Fox to reevaluate things and withdraw his objection to Ranger and Charmer's relationship.
  • Bros Before Hoes: Bold choosing to stay with his Crow pal over moving in with his new vixen until the Crow lets him off.
  • Bystander Syndrome: In Series 3, the white deer herd do not seem to do anything about the rats, while the rats threaten them too. (The reason they do not help in the fighting is most likely because of Trey.) We only see them fight the rats in episode 36 (on accident when they just stampede over the rats while not noticing) and in episode 39 (for less than a minute!)
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: Weasel gets hammered after lapping up a few drops of wine.
  • Captain Crash: Whistler. He even lands so badly, everyone takes cover when he's going to land - not that it helps. He almost always falls on top of someone. Fox even mentions: 'If you and Speedy ever have chicks... please let her teach them how to fly.'
    Plucky: Great landing! You almost missed me!
  • Carnivore Confusion: Averted by the Oath of Mutual Protection the animals take and, even after the need for it has gone, uphold out of the fact they've known each other far too long as allies. Although once they reach White Deer Park, the carnivorous animals have the full right to eat non-Farthing Wood animals, which Adder in particular was happy to take advantage of (even over Toad's protests when she started eating some of the frogs he had befriended). Owl lampshades the grim reality that they can't extend the Oath to too many other animals, as otherwise the predators will all starve. By the time of the novel "The Siege of White Deer Park", it's even noted that the Oath applies to very few herbivores in the park by this point in time, because of how extensively the surviving herbivores from Farthing Wood have interbred with their native counterparts.
  • Cartoony Eyes: Whenever Measley and Weasel share a scene, it's weird seeing the former with big, wide, white sclerae compared with the latter, whose eyes flip-flop between realistic and Skintone Sclerae type.
  • Cartoony Tail: The foxes have beautiful red/blue tails, but you don't see any gray parts in it, which is common with real life foxes.
  • Catchphrase:
    Mole: I'm hungry!
    Toad: C'mon, mateys!
    Kestrel: Kee, kee!
    Weasel: Her annoying laugh, and "Measley twerp!" when she's talking to Measley.
    Mr Vole: If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times: We smaller animals must stand up for our rights!
    Mrs Rabbit: Don't panic! [At which point the rabbits usually start panicking.]
    Mr Hedgehog: I'll second that!
    Mr Hare: Excuse me!
    Hurkel: I'm kind.
    Bully: Who am I?
    Rollo: I'm useless!
    Crow: Thank your lucky stars!
  • Cats Are Mean: The Warden's Cat
    • Averted in the book series, in which the cat is helpful to the group, and strikes up an Odd Friendship with Badger in In the Grip of Winter.
    • The warden's cat had shades of grey...appropriately enough, since he's a grey-coloured kitty (though he was ginger in the book).
    • Somewhat subverted with Tom, a cat in Series 1 who is friendly to Fox when he requests "sanctuary", but who does nonetheless seem happy to later see the back of him.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Kestrel was dropped between Series 2 and 3, without so much as a mention. (In fairness, the same thing happened around this point in the books.)
    • Friendly appeared in the second episode of Series 3, only to be completely absent for the remainder of the series.
    • By Series 3, most of the entire blue fox clan (except Ranger and occasional other background extras) seemed to have disappeared.
    • This was the fate awaiting a lot of the more minor characters who were not "officially" killed off. Fieldmouse simply disappeared midway through the second series, while Hare and Rabbit were both gone by Series 3, to be replaced by their descendants.
    • Hare, Rabbit, Kestrel and others are simply supposed to have died of old age as the series (and books) advance. The lifespan of most wild animals is short. In the books, Fieldmouse was killed by Scarface.
  • Clever Crows: Robber the crow. (Note he's just called "Crow" in the TV adaptation.) Robber is a friend to and cares for Bold, one of the many, many characters.
  • Combat by Champion: Fox vs. Scarface. This is also a fine case of This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: Averted by having certain objects painted on the animation cels so that they were used without being conspicuous beforehand.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: Take a wild guess.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Weasel is small and furry, like a real weasel. Her cuteness, however, is offset by her constant laughing and tendency to yell (especially in the episode when she gets drunk). Most of the other animals find her incredibly annoying, to the point that they often lash out against her (sometimes justifiably so, sometimes not).
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Ranger, the son of the evil Scarface, genuinely loves Charmer and ends up being a loving mate to her. Adder, too-she's snarky, and has a venomous bite, but uses it for good when she kills Scarface and fights the rats.
  • Darker and Edgier: Subverted. Though the books The Siege of White Deer Park, In the Path of the Storm and Battle for the Park are written as darker than the others, Series 3 (which was adapted from the mentioned books) was toned down considerably, and it and left out the Siege of White Deer Park storyline entirely.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Owl (who thinks she's smarter than all the other animals), Adder (who actually is smarter than the other animals), and Mr Hare. Badger has his moments as well, usually being a Cool Old Guy but occasionally snarking at the expense of the younger animals. Also Measley in the later series.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Badger dies of old age in the cartoon whereas in the books, he survived.
    • Also the hedgehogs, who are run over by a lorry in the cartoon. In the book, only some of the hedgehogs die on the road. Others make it safely to the Park.
  • Death Is Dramatic: So, so true. Biggest examples are the deaths of Dreamer, Bold, Badger and the hedgehogs.
  • Death of a Child: Cubs and other baby animals are never safe. Poor field mice... and poor Dreamer.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Vixen and Lady Blue battle each other at the end of Series 2.
  • Determinator: Most of the Farthing Wood animals have had their faltering moments, except Fox. In every dangerous situation in the series, he usually leaps in to rescue one of his friends as well as Vixen at the risk of his very life, even a duel to the death with Scarface.
    Fox: But I promise you one thing. I will defend you to the last.
  • Dirty Coward: The rabbits almost drown Fox by overweighing him to cross through a river.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Apart from his hatred of Scarface, Fox's attitude towards Ranger and his relationship with Charmer comes from the fact they're red foxes and Ranger is blue.
    Charmer: What difference does our colour make?
  • The Dog Bites Back: Literally. Scarface is rather quickly and unceremoniously killed - not by Fox, but by Adder as a quick revenge for biting off part of her tail earlier.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Poor, poor Measley is abused physically and emotionally by Weasel, almost always for comic relief.
  • Driven to Suicide: The Hedgehogs towards the end of Series 1, the noise of the traffic was too much for them and they could not ride on the larger animal's back because of their quills. The Hedgehogs had no choice but to roll themselves up which led to them getting run over by a lorry. In the book, this only happens to SOME of the hedgehogs. Some survive and make it to the Park.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: The farmer's dog, whom Fox is able to bluff into submission. Rollo, too, who is easily frightened, and who has trouble understanding that foxes usually sleep when he's active.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Fox, Badger, Weasel, Kestrel, Owl, Mole, Hare, Rabbit, Adder, Fieldmouse and more... Practically every member of the original group is named this way, sometimes with a Mr or Mrs tacked on.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Bold gets shot in the ass, literally. He manages to survive, but he gets weaker and weaker. Not to blame him: can you hunt mice if one paw does not work properly any more, and never will again? And thus, he has to rely on his friends.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Mole died offscreen from the cold weather and the original White Stag collapsed and died from drinking polluted water in the first episode of Series Three so that he wouldn't be around to do anything about the rat invasion.
  • Dub Name Change: The Swedish dub kept most of the animal-based names, but changed Scarface's name to Enöga (One-Eye).
  • Dumb Muscle: Mid-way through Series 3, we see a larger rat that Bully really likes due to his immense strength and has big plans for him. Unfortunately for Bully, the rat is stupid enough to eat all the poison dropped by the Warden, drastically overestimating his Acquired Poison Immunity.
  • Dwindling Party: Of the 29 original Farthing Wood animals, eight of them perish during the journey to White Deer Park. While Vixen and Whistler join the group as the series progresses, it is still a net loss of six.
    • By the end of the last episode of Series Three, just five of the original Farthing Wood animals remain - Fox, Weasel, Toad, Owl and Adder.
  • The Dying Walk: Bold knows he's dying, so he sends Whisper away on an errand to get some food, then walks off so she won't find his dead body. In the novel, however, it's more Driven to Suicide, as he chooses to go off and die rather than admit to his failures by begging to live in White Deer Park once more.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite the fact that Scarface is the antagonist of Series 2, he's still loved by his son Ranger and his mate Lady Blue - and Ranger is one of the heroes of the series!
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: The animals endure many hazards during their journey from drought, crossing roads, fire, angry farmers, crossing a river, the butcher bird, hunters and more humans. Even White Deer Park is not safe in Series 2 and 3. They also endure a harsh winter, deer hunters, Scarface, a horde of rats, a poisoned stream and a hurricane. For Bold, nothing is safe outside White Deer Park.
  • Evil Poacher: A Season 2 subplot involves poachers killing the white deer that give the park its name. The Farthing Wood creatures must find a way to alert the game warden to the poachers' doings.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: Bully's death was played straight in the books. During the final battle against the rats, Vixen avenged Toad's death by killing him and throwing his body over the park's fence.
  • Eye Scream: Bold is injured in one eye when he frees Shadow from a gamekeeper's trap by biting through the wires which then strike him in the face. He is left with a permanent scar across his eyelid afterwards.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Bold, who crawls away under a bush so his mate won't have to see him die.
  • The Faceless: Surpringly averted. In the common low-quality version of Farthing Wood that has spread throughout the internet (including YouTube and a torrent), many people thought that humans didn't have faces. However, the DVDs, which are much higher quality, clearly show faces - the people in the town in Series 1, the poachers in Series 2 and the Warden of White Deer Park.
  • Famed in Story: The Farthing Wood animals. By the time they arrive at White Deer Park, the Great White Stag already knows who they are, and Bold later went to a lot of effort to escape his father's rather large shadow.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: PLENTY, a crowning example even. For a show during primetime viewing for children, there's a lot of animals being shot, impaled, crushed, run over, mauled, necksnapped, caught in traps, and several other unpleasantly realistic moments. However, some of the deaths ARE given Gory Discretion Shots, such as not seeing the pheasants get shot or the hedgehogs being run over (though if you pause at just the right moment in the latter death scene, you can make out some blood spray; the only other thing it could be is the motion-blur of the lorry itself, which is also red). Regardless, the show leaves VERY little to the imagination.
  • Fast Tunnelling: Of all the animals, Mole is the best tunneller. This ability saves the animals from the farmer who locked them in the shed.
  • Fantastic Racism: The blue foxes towards the red foxes and, even more blatantly, Fox's own reaction upon learning of Charmer and Ranger's relationship, which even Vixen notes:
    Vixen: You sound just like Scarface.
  • Fan Sequel: Fan sequels based on Farthing Wood can be found on several websites. Common themes include giving the protagonists children who then live out adventures similar to those their parents went on, or introducing original characters into the group.
  • Fear Is the Appropriate Response: Even though he's the bravest of all the animals, and without a doubt the heroic leader, Fox has fled in absolute terror from only two things - fire and fox hunters. Thankfully he fights BOTH fears quite quickly for the sake of his friends. He runs straight towards the marshfire to save Toad from burning alive, as well as even drawing the attention of the fox hunters to himself, risking his very life against dozens of merciless hounds, just to save Vixen.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Shrike, who kills the baby mice for food by impaling them on thorns.
  • Feuding Families: The red foxes and blue foxes, complete with forbidden romance between the son of one family and the daughter of the other. The feud existed in the books too, though the blue foxes were a family of red foxes there; they were changed for the cartoon so that audiences could tell them apart.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Basically the whole premise of the series. For more personal examples:
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Surprisingly averted.
    • In Series 1 when Badger and Weasel are hiding in a cellar, Weasel gets heavily drunk on wine, even suffering a hangover after sleeping it off.
    • In the book, the animals encounter a leaking keg of beer, and all partake.
  • Furries Are Easier to Draw: Humans appear just a few times in the series, and when they do, you mostly only see their legs.
  • Generation Xerox: A lot of the animals' young often have the same voices as their parents.
    • Mossy tries to fight against it, but after comforting Badger during his last moments of life, he ends up riding on the backs of badgers as well.
    • The White Stag's successor after the brutish unreasonable Trey is Laird, a kinder sensible leader who just happens to be White Stag's grandson.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Scarface, the Big Bad of Season 2, has a big scar across his face. Bold, who is flawed but far from evil, also gets one across his face from a steel trap.
  • Gender Flip: All the main animals were male in the original books, Adder, Owl, Weasel and Kestrel were made female for the series. This means Adder's mate Sinuous and Owl's mate Holly were originally female as well, and Holly was renamed Hollow for TV. Interestingly, though Kestrel is female in the show, she sports the more colourful plumage of a male Kestrel.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: In Series 2, Fox orders the assassination of Scarface by Adder, and let the weasels give the message to Adder. You should never leave such things to weasels, meaning Adder kills the wrong fox due to a misunderstanding, and everything is likely to escalate! In the books, Bold and Friendly made this horrible mistake instead of Weasel.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In the Series 3 episode "A Bigger Oink", Sinuous is strangled to death by a rat mostly offscreen, only showing his neck getting grabbed before cutting to his flailing tail before it falls limp. After that, his lifeless body isn't shown. Only the reactions of Toad, Hurkel, Shadow and Adder upon finding him.
  • Happy Ending Override: The animals went to the park to be safe, and at the end of Series 1, they reach it... to find out that trouble never ends as shown in Series 2 and 3.
  • Harmless Villain: The rats. Seriously, when you're evil and have hundreds, thousands even at your command, and you only succeed in killing one single Farthing Wood creature, while they're sleeping no less, you must really suck as a villain.
    • Averted in the books, the rats were less cartoony and much more sinister in Battle for the Park. They killed Sinuous the adder, the Farthing Wood Toad and Mossy the mole. The cartoon writers had to tone down the deaths by sparing Toad and Mossy in Series 3 because they felt that the kids would be traumatised over killing off the jolly Toad and the cute mole. The decrease in malice is a likely reason Bully was felt to deserve a deathless, more cartoony defeat in the show.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: At one point, the Warden makes this remark seeing the animals acting strangely.
    Warden: Well, I'll be blown!
  • Heel–Face Turn: Spike, in Series 3. Originally The Mole (but not A mole), until he decides that he prefers Toad's friendship to Bully's intimidation.
  • Henpecked Husband: Poor Measley is nagged and sometimes physically abused by Weasel. She even encourages their kids to follow her lead! Eventually he has enough, and in "The Worst Kind of Hurricane" demands she return the family to the park.
  • The Hero Dies: Badger, Bold and Sinuous. Although Badger only dies in the TV series.
  • Hero Killer: The blue foxes in Series 2 are responsible for the deaths of Dreamer, Mrs. Hare and Mrs. Rabbit. The rats in Series 3, who kill Sinuous.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: A peculiar animal kingdom example with Ranger. He opts for Charmer (a red fox) instead of a female blue fox.
  • Heroic Dog: Averted. Rollo is just dumb, and when he tries to be heroic, he gets scared within 2 seconds.
    Rollo: Don't kill me! I'm just trying to be a guard dog! But I'm useless! Useless!!!
    • He fights alongside the animals against the rats in Series 3, if that counts.
  • Hopeless War: Many animals lose hope fighting the rats in Series 3.
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • Scarface. After Fox defeats Scarface in single combat, he loses the respect of the other blue foxes, excluding Lady Blue and Ranger.
    • Bully didn't die in the animated series, but after the Farthing Wood animals fighting side-by-side with the White Deer kicked his butt, he wants to continue the fight. However, the baby weasel Cleo bit his tail off, so he loses the respect of the other rats and has to retreat from White Deer Park.
  • Humanity Is Superior: While the humans aren't always antagonistic, when they are a threat to the animals, they are shown to be immensly more powerful thanks to their technology. Outside of very specific circumstances, the animals don't even stand a chance of defeating them and rarely even try.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Zigzagged. On the one hand, humans are recurring antagonists and are responsible for several deaths. On the other hand, there are humans who are good towards the animals, such as the Warden and the Firefighters. The chicken farmer who opted to leave Bold be when he noticed he was crippled was, by the standards of the show, also pretty merciful. Fox notes how humans can be both bastards and kind-hearted when he tells how fox hunters go home to look after their horses and dogs after a day out trying to murder his kind. In general, humans don't seem to go out of their way to act like cartoonishly evil animal killers, behaving like normal hunters would do.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: The animals fear people. Part of this is because of their un-animalike customs. For example, the animals are incredibly confused when they stumble upon a wedding, and in another, Owl ends up in a human house; in both cases, chaos ensues when an escape is attempted. Another major reason is the frequent cruelty they subject the animals to, such as the fox hunters trying to kill Vixen, the poachers who target the white deer, and the farmer who kills the pheasants and abuses his dog for no real reason.
  • Horror Hunger: Considering at least half are carnivores, this hangs over the heads of the group and gets mentioned nearly once an episode. Held at bay by the Oath of Mutual Protection. at least until Kestrel accidentally kills Mrs Fieldmouse.
  • I Am What I Am: Bold tries to get away from his 'proud heroic father', as he doesn't like being the big badass' son and wants to be his own fox. When he runs away from home, he still uses the ideals he learned back home, such as caring for each other and making arrangements with other animals. Other animals in the wild don't understand this nonsense.
    Bold: Yes, with a crow. We have an arrangement.
    Whisper: I've never heard a sillier thing my whole life!
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: This is why Fox didn't finish off Scarface.
    Vixen: He just doesn't have the killer instinct.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Near the end of Series 1, many of the animals long to get back their normal lives and forget about the Oath, but they realise that all of them changed so much in each other's company that they will never be the same again, and decide to keep the Oath amongst themselves and their descendants.
    • In the beginning of Series 2, they even run to Fox when trouble starts, even though they thought that the Oath had stopped.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The rats. Bully, their leader, suffers from a fear of weasels and ultimately suffers a humiliating defeat by Weasel's young daughter, who bites his tail off an makes him cry. One rat is so dumb, he eats an entire serving of rat poison and dies.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When Owl returns to White Deer Park with her new mate, she immediately observes that they'll have to find Adder a mate next. When Vixen reveals that Adder did find a mate but Sinuous was killed by the rats, Owl apologises for her "foolish beak", but Adder softly assures Owl that she wasn't to know
  • Insistent Terminology: Spike likes to refer to himself as "a long-tailed personage" instead of a "rat".
  • Instant Death Bullet: Every bullet that hit an animal leads to their death. Although not always immediately.
    • Bold also dies from his bullet wound in the long-term rather than in the short-term.
  • Insufferable Genius: Owl can fall into this category at times, particularly in the first series. She constantly uses phrases or quotes famous philosophers but her 'wisdom' is nearly always unwanted or inappropriate for the situation, often resulting in the other animals telling her to simply shut up.
  • It's All About Me: Pheasant grieves over the death of his mate for roughly two seconds before immediately despairing over how he'll be able to live without her constant servitude to him.
  • Jerkass: Trey, the new royal stag from Series 3; although later in the end, he toned down his attitude after he was saved from a fallen tree by the other animals.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Adder is vicious, callous and unsympathetic, yet her later actions show that deep down she really is good-hearted. Over time her negative qualities subside a bit and she becomes more outwardly sentimental.
  • Karmic Death: Towards the end of Series 2, Scarface is killed by Adder (who had unfinished business with him) after he was spared by Fox in the final battle.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: The Warden, as well as being a force of good for the wild animals, also looks after his pet cat.
  • Large Ham: Loads. Owl, Weasel, Rabbit, to name a few. Though the largest ham of all has got to be Bully, to the point that it's rather bizarre.
  • Leitmotif
  • Love Martyr: Measley, the male weasel, would do anything to get Weasel to love him back even if it means getting themselves into trouble.
  • Maternally Challenged: Weasel does not make a good mother to her kids in Series 3. Whenever her playful kids get into trouble, she always put her blame on Measley.
  • Meaningful Name: All of the character have meaningful names.
    • Fox, Adder, Badger and all the original animals who journeyed from Farthing Wood, that have been named after their own species is of course meaningful.
    • Other characters have names related to their personality: Bold was a bold person, Friendly was (usually) friendly, Whisper got her name from the fact that she could hunt very quietly, Whistler makes a whistling noise when he flies, and so forth.
    • An example omitted from the cartoon was a mole named Mirthful; formerly known as Mateless, she becomes Mole's mate and is renamed by Badger in honour of her cheerful laugh.
  • Mickey Mousing: By the bucket-loads. EVERY character had their own walking theme. Weasel's was a cheerily annoying flute, Adder's was a low xylophone, the rodents were a high xylophone, Toad's was some sort of bass brass, Mole was tinkly and like a triangle, and Whistler was of course whistling
  • A Million Is a Statistic: No one cares about the hundreds, if not thousands of dead rats, right?
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The Wild Boar, which no longer lived in Great Britain at the time of production (but has since made a reappeareance).
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Badger in the first episode, "Friends, Adder and fellow woodlanders".
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Pheasant's feelings in general when his wife is shot and roasted for dinner by the farmer, because she took up the sentry duty he lazily neglected.
    • Kestrel at the beginning of Series 2, when she kills a fieldmouse that turns out to have been one of her own travelling party. And a little later on, when she injures the Warden's Cat as a result of a complete misunderstanding.
    • In Series 2, Owl, when she mistakenly believes that some information she'd withheld about the poachers has led to Fox's death (it was actually a blue fox that she and the poachers who killed it mistook for Fox in the dark).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The prequel novel reveals that, originally, Farthing Wood was protected land due to being home to a small colony of otters, a protected species. But, when the cold of winter caused the otters to turn to hunting on land rather than in the water, the land-dwelling carnivores resented this, which boiled over into a war that ended with the death of all of the otters. And with no otters left living in Farthing Wood, it was no longer protected land, so developers were free to come in and start leveling it. One of the foxes instrumental in the slaughter is heavily implied to be the father of the fox who will come to lead Farthing Wood's last survivors on the trek to White Deer Park.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • Adder occasionally makes comments to the audience as something of a very small Greek Chorus.
    • There's also Fox and Measley who both wink at the audience when they meet their mates-to-be, Vixen and Weasel, respectively.
    Fox: Things are looking up...
    • While Fox and Vixen are being chased by the hunt:
    Mrs Rabbit: Don't panic!
    Toad: [to the audience] If only the rabbits hadn't panicked, then none of this would've happened.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: In Series 3, the animals of Farthing Wood are determined to get the kidnapped animals back. They find out that they have been brought to another park, which is surrounded by a large wall.
  • Now You Tell Me: Weasel tells Fox what Scarface is up to... after Scarface had killed Dreamer. She did try to warn them beforehand, but nobody believed her because.... she's Weasel.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: Owl, a bit of an egoist, thinks of herself as being very intelligent, and has a habit of spouting adages when appropriate. She also takes accurate inventory of the destroyed habitat in the first episode. However, she's not immune to misjudgments, and her pompous nature makes it hard for her to accept this.
  • Passing the Torch: Fox makes Plucky the new leader in the finale.
  • Pass the Popcorn: In episode 8 of Series 1, the Farthing Wood animals watch as Fox and Vixen try to escape a hunting party. Adder remarks how exciting it is and Weasel wants to place bets.
  • Peaceful in Death: Bold dies seconds after making up with his father, and with the knowledge that his cubs will soon be born.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • To some extent, Adder.
    • After spending 36 episodes being a twerp and abusing her mate, Weasel expresses capability of compassion and consideration when Big Snorter's wife dies.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Shut up, Weasel!"
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: A couple of examples.
    • Series 1: The birds fly above the group to scout out ahead.
    • Series 2: Adder has to use her venom to kill Scarface.
    • Series 3: Dash uses her speed to deliver messages when needed.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Series 2 had so many casualties that the victory is just that. Right after news of Scarface's death breaks, Mr. Hare and Mr. Rabbit cry over the wives they lost to him, and Owl remarks that Fox also lost a daughter.
  • Put on a Bus: The newts, who deliberately split from the rest of the group in the third episode of Series 1. A subsequent Bus Crash is heavily implied but never confirmed. In the book, they were lizards, not newts, and it is almost certain they were killed in a fire.
  • Previously on…: Every episode opens with a recap of the previous one, right after the theme tune. Notably, the narrator changes each season: in Season One, Badger narrates it; in Season 2, it's the Great Stag's turn; and in Season 3, Vixen gets the honor.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Bully's Catchphrase Who! Am! I!!!
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Bully appears to have the same idiots around him almost all of the time. Bully let himself even be washed by them in the pond.
  • Rain, Rain, Go Away: On two occasions, the animals were forced to seek shelter from heavy rain even though some of them (lookin' at you, Toad) were delighted by it - once in a barn, and once in a church. Both occasions ended badly, although the church less so.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Subverted eventually by Adder, although it takes a lot of character development to reach that point. Most of it is during the third series when she is with Sinuous, although it begins in Series 1. There is even more progression after he dies.
  • Resigned to the Call: When Badger nominates Fox to lead everyone, he responds with a reluctant "Thanks a bundle, Badger."
  • Resistance Is Futile: It is said several times in Series 3 that fighting the rats would be futile because there were so many of them. The animals really overestimated them, as the rats themselves were Harmless Villains.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: Series 3 is a good example of this trope as it is considered more childish when compared to its two predecessors (although it does still feature a few deaths, such as Sinuous.
  • The Runaway: Bold, who leaves the park at a young age following a fight with his father Fox. At the end of Series 2, He's Back!... and a couple of minutes later, he dies.
  • Same Language Dub: Partial. The first series was cut down into a 78-minute film called Journey Home: The Animals of Farthing Wood for American release. Some characters kept their voices, but others - in particular Fox - were redubbed with American accents.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Fox's original English dub by Rupert Farley sounds like he talks in perpetual Sarcasm Mode, especially in the early episodes.
  • Sssssnaketalk: Adder and Sinuous.
  • Snow Means Death: Mole dies in the harsh winter at the beginning of Series 2. If the others didn't work together to provide food for each other, the death toll would have been much higher.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Adder.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Toad, Mossy, Spike, Trey and surprisingly Bully.
  • Species Surname: Most of the original animals' names were simply their species; e.g., "Fox", "Badger" or "Weasel". Their descendants had original names, however. Naturally there were headaches caused when Colin Dann, the author of the series, wrote a prequel; the eventual explanation was that, as there were more animals about in the generation before that of the original book, they all had a Species Surname plus some sort of adjective, such as Lean Fox and Stout Fox.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Charmer and Ranger, whose fathers are enemies.
  • A Storm Is Coming: A hurricane strikes in Series 3. Among other things, it injures Trey, who gets trapped under a fallen tree and is unable to fight Laird, causing the latter to take over the park. Ironically, one of the books whose plots were mined for season 3 was called "In the Path of the Storm".
  • Story Arc: Many.
    • Season 1 has the animals journeying to White Deer Park.
    • Season 2 is mainly about the feud between the red and blue foxes. Other arcs within it include Scarface trying to get Weasel to spy for him, Bold's life after running away from the park, and the romance between Charmer and Ranger.
    • Season 3 involves an army of rats invading the park. There's also an arc where Owl leaves the park, and an arc where the weasel family also leaves and is guarded by Rollo.
  • Stylistic Suck: Weasel's attempt at a song, "I enjoy being a weasel! There is nothing like a weasel!" repeated over and over in her raucous, tone-deaf voice.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Bully certainly is. A Dutch saying says it all: "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Hurkel of Series 3, who was essentially there to fill the gap left by Badger, although he was notably younger than Badger.
  • Supervillain Lair: Bully and his horde take refuge in a rat-shaped rock.
  • Team Dad: Badger, as the oldest animal, to the extent that he dies of old age in the second season.
  • Team Mom: Vixen, at times, will be a voice of reason and compassion to Fox, such as when she urges him not to judge Ranger just because he's Scarface's son.
  • Temporary Deafness: Owl becomes deaf after sitting near a church bell.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The vixens (Vixen, Whisper, Charmer, Dreamer) have 'hair' that resemble human headdresses. Sinuous is the rare male version, with markings on his face that look like a moustache.
  • The Hyena: Weasel.
  • The Load:
    • Mole, who spends several episodes in Series 1 getting lost from his greediness for worms, is almost captured by humans and gets into enough trouble that Badger or some other animal has to rescue him. And, of course, Adder, true to her nature, lampshades this in the second episode!
    Adder: Let's do ourselves a favour and give him the slip. Mole's slow, stupid and tasteless!
This trope is often averted due to Mole's usefulness to the group later on; he grants them safe passage and access to areas they wouldn't have otherwise. If they had followed Adder's advice, they would likely have perished to an angry shotgun-wielding farmer.

  • Toad to a certain extent; though to be fair, he is small, needs water to keep himself fresh and has homing instincts from waking up in spring.
  • The Pollyanna: Again, Toad.
    Toad: Not far now, mateys!
    Mrs Vole: [standing in a puddle] Is this the sea?
    Toad: Course not, hee hee! Just a lovely bit o' rain, eh! Hohohoho!
    Mr Shrew: Does he have to be so cheerful?
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: The cowardly Measley when he rescued Mossy from his first encounter with Bully and the other rats.
  • Thoroughly Mistaken Identity: Badger and Mole/Mossy, played rather sweetly when Mossy pretends to be his father when Badger is dying.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Adder, ranging from her being the one most willing to taunt the smaller animals that she'll eat them to being the one most willing to kill potential threats like Scarface, although she has a close friendship with Owl in particular.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The rats are largely this. The strongest rat is dumb enough to eat a full serving of rat poison, with predictable results.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Adder, most definitely. Early on, she would make cruel comments towards the other animals, like when she said Mole shouldn't come on the journey because he's slow and stupid. She goes on to do such heroic deeds as killing Scarface, and gets a mate whom she adores. When said mate is murdered by a rat, she has a rare moment of vulnerability, then vows to destroy as many rats as she can in his honor.
  • Tsundere: Adder. After saving Vixen, and being called a heroine by the other animals:
    Adder: I'll never live thissssss down!
  • Turn Out Like His Father: No matter how much Bold tries to distance himself from Fox's legacy, he eventually comes to accept that he shares a lot of traits with him. In fact, Bold and Fox occasionally share each others lines!
  • Undying Loyalty: At the end of Series 3, Bully loses all the respect of all his pack, except his Dragon, who comforts him and advises they to return to the city.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Scarface and Lady Blue.
  • Unusual Animal Alliance: (The page image.) A large group of all sorts of different animals make a pact, the Oath of Mutual Protection, in which they promise not to hurt each each other and take care of each other when needed. The trope is Lampshaded by Adder, who wonders how the predators are supposed to survive if they can't eat their prey.
    Badger: Remember the Oath! We must stand together and fight!
  • Violence is the Only Option: In Series 2, Fox doesn't want to fight Scarface... but he eventually has to. He shows mercy by not killing him.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: There's Fox and Vixen's young daughter, Dreamer, who lives for two episodes (and has only one line) before her brutal death at Scarface's paws. Then there's also the baby field mice, impaled by the butcher bird very shortly after their birth. And these are just two of the most memorable examples.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Bold. When he finally does get his father's genuine love and respect... it's too late.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Bold. He causes trouble, puts his father and brother's life in danger, runs away after a well-deserved punishment and is determined to not return home, not even for the sake of his cubs. Fortunately, he finally reconsiders, but he essentially still keeps his vow to never step inside White Deer Park ever again.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Rats, with the eventual exception of Spike, are the villains of Series 3 (as well as the de facto choice of prey for the Farthing Wood predators in Series 1 and 2). The Shrike (or Butcher Bird) of Series 1 is depicted as a coarse and unpleasant character, in contrast with the nobler likes of similarly predatory birds Owl, Kestrel and Whistler (possibly due to his particular method of storing his prey — by impaling the carcasses on thorn bushes). Also, weasels here are comical and lovable, but to get rid of the slightly bigger stoat would, according to Fox, "be doing the park a favour."
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Hurkel after he's convinced by the Farthing Animals to assists in the raids against the Rats.
    Ranger: Those badgers killed 50 each! Hurkel, was he quite unkind to those rats or wasn't he? Ha ha!
  • Woodland Creatures: Duh! Just look at the title! We have the usual ones like foxes, rabbits, and badgers, but also species less common in fiction, like voles and kestrels too.
  • World of Snark: Apart from Fox speaking in a sarcastic drawl and Adder and Owl's lines, pretty much everyone else gets a few chances at a snarky line or deadpan facial expression.
  • World's Smallest Violin: While it's not a tiny violin, Hare does pick up a stick and mock-play sad violin music when Mr. Pheasant starts to get a bit theatrical about "when one has faced death as often as me" before leaving back to the farm to help Adder find her way to the others. True enough, Mr. Pheasant just lost his wife to the farmer's gun, but the general opinion of his established character is that he's all too concerned in himself.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Lady Blue, after she gets wounded. It was her own fault. She shouldn't have tried to kill the cubs of Fox and Vixen. Bold also pulls one on Ranger after Scarface takes him prisoner and leaves Ranger to guard him.
  • Xenofiction: The animals can talk, and have concepts of things such as loyalty, but the anthropomorphism stops there for the most part. They hunt, avoid being hunted, and live in fear of humans (given that many animals end up shot, though, it's hard to blame them). The infamously high death rate of the books and show is accurate to nature; when you have to deal with predation, the weather, starvation and so on, odds are seldom in your favor.
  • Xenophobic Herbivore: The herbivores are often portrayed as untrusting, particularly towards the carnivores. While it is understandable for them to be wary around those who would eat them in normal circumstances, it come off as petty when the carnivores are largely the ones holding the group together.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: During Season 3, Owl finds herself in Farthing Huts when she leaves White Deer Park, recognising it as the former site of Farthing Wood when she perches on the Great Beech, a distinctive tree from her old home, but has to accept that the whole area has changed too much for her to truly consider it 'home' any more.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Rats are the antagonists of Season 3. A rat kills Sinuous in a particularly gruesome way, and Bully gives a terrifying speech to his followers in one of the final episodes. The rat infestation gets so bad that many of the animals start to give up hope.
    • Played much straighter in the novel "Battle for the Park", which this plotline was adapted from. A lack of censorship meddling makes the rats much more bloodthirsty and leads to far more open hostilities, complete with an epic final battle.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Animals Of Farthing Wood


Adder kills Scarface

As retribution for biting her tail off, Scarface is killed by Adder.

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