I don’t know what it is about children’s television these days, it’s just so different. Gone are the hand drawn cartoons and grainy animations I used to watch, replaced with cutting-edge, technology enriched spectacles with much higher budget then anything I saw.
Perhaps it is because I’m older now that I don’t warm to these new programs, or perhaps they are just so different from the programs I used to watch that I can’t help but reject them.
The Animals of Farthing Wood is a perfect example of the TV of my childhood. Not only is it about friendly, cartoon animals (and let’s face it, can you ever beat that) but it has strong moral messages of friendship, courage and unity. It’s about these animals who all join together when their forest comes under danger from deforestation. They go on a great long journey to ‘White Deer Park’, a nature reserve. On the way many of them are shot or run over or killed in fires, but eventually they all get to the reserve. In the second series the animals fight against a rival fox gang and in the third series they stop rats invading the park.
What amazes me about TAOFW is the sheer amount of adult themes it deals with. It’s surprising to see a children’s program filled with violence and casual sexual undertones, not to mention the sibling rivalry, anarchy, senility, treachery, assassination attempts, betrayal, torture, bullying, racial segregation, warfare, abusive relationships, affairs and the reality that, with an animal’s short life-span, they can die when they still have the voice of a child.
You’d never find these themes nowadays and, thinking about it, you wouldn’t find them in any other children’s show. Maybe that’s what makes the Animals of Farthing Wood special or maybe it’s just the cute, cartoon animals!
I recently rewatched the whole three series of TAOFW and it just struck me how much of moral, emotional tale it is, so much so that adults can watch it as well as children. I recommend you watch it now! Unless you have GCSEs coming up that is.