Recently arrived (as of 2002) animated addition to British
children's television, directed by Ranby MacDonald
. The plot is, approximately:
Wolf, Fox, Rabbit, Bear and Terrapin live in a forest in close proximity. Rabbit, with the unwilling aid of Terrapin, tries to steal vegetables from the gardens of his neighbours. Meanwhile, Fox and Wolf try to catch and eat Rabbit. Bear serves afternoon tea and tries to make friends with his neighbours, who run away.
DETN is very simple and very funny. The script is much heavier on sarcasm than almost any other programme aimed at children, except perhaps The Simpsons, which by virtue of being shown outside the 2.30-5.30 or so after-school children's television slot no longer really counts, while DETN is shown in the middle of it but has none of the patronising air of almost all other programmes aired at the same time.
The acting is genuine and good, and the characters are glorious: Rabbit is a not-quite-perfect apparently single father with a nine-year-old obsessively perfect Forest Brigade attending daughter, Lucy, who keeps him in line. Terrapin is nervous, cowardly and spends most of his time being dragged unwillingly behind rabbit on his adventures and being neurotically convinced that the world is after his shell. Wolf is also an apparently single father but Canadian, having moved to England to escape the shadow of his parents and pack, who are rather better at the noble-savage nature he wishes he had. He is burdened by two sons, Barry and Simon, whose main function is to watch TV, eat pizza and complain, and lack even Wolf's enthusiam for being 'wolfish'. Fox is pure camp, immaculately-dressed English gentleman, and is involved in a relationship with Wolf which, while never actually referred to as such (or not yet), is extremely obvious - the last episode I managed to catch closed with them dancing the Tango.
The voice actors are:
Fox and Bear - Simon Callow
Wolf - Mike McShane
Barry - Sean Cullen
Simon - Patrick McKenna
Rabbit - Robert Lindsay
Lucy - Doon Mckichan
Terrapin - Tom McInnery
The programme has a website at http://www.donteattheneighbours.com, according to which the series was a contained run of 26 episodes, which has now woefully finished. However, some episodes are now available on video and DVD. Hurrah!