He’s Shaun the sheep,
He’s Shaun the sheep.
He even mucks about with those who cannot bleat

Keep it in mind, he’s one of a kind
Oh...Life’s a treat with Shaun the sheep!

He’s Shaun the sheep,
He’s Shaun the sheep.
He doesn’t miss a trick or ever lose a beat

Perhaps one day, you’ll find a way
To...Come and meet with Shaun the sheep
Oh...Come and bleat with Shaun the Sheep!

Shaun the sheep is a sheep (obviously) who appeared first in the 1995 Wallace and Gromit animated film A Close Shave, and one of the W&G "Cracking Contraptions" shorts, "Shopper 13," before becoming the star of his own series of self-titled five-minute shorts in 2007, all made by the English company Aardman Animations. His name was given to him in A Close Shave just after he'd accidentally been sent through a shearing machine; Wallace looked at the shivering sheep and remarked, "We'll call him Shaun, eh?" (If the voice actor spoke one of the varieties of English that pronounces the "r" in "shorn," the pun wouldn't work.)

The basic setting of the Shaun the Sheep show is that Shaun is a member of a flock of sheep on a small British farm. (At least it looks incredibly British to me because of the stone farmhouse, barn, and walls between the pastures; the stereotypical American farm has wooden buildings and wood or wire fences.) Shaun is a sort of leader for the flock despite apparently being smaller than all the other adults ("Fleeced," an episode where the farmer tries to shear the flock, reveals that he is actually the same size as most of them but has much less wool), and often works with the farm dog Bitzer to try and get things done that benefit the animals. The unnamed farmer never seems to realize how intelligent his animals are, and Shaun and Bitzer work very hard to keep it that way despite everything that goes on.

Other members of the flock with names are Shirley, who is several times as large as any of the other sheep and will eat anything, and Timmy, a lamb with a pacifier/dummy and a lot of curiosity. Timmy's mother doesn't seem to have a name but can be identified by what seem to be curlers on top of her head. (All names come from the web site for the show; none of the animals speak aloud at all and the farmer doesn't speak comprehensibly.) The farm also contains three "Naughty Pigs," who are the sheep's usual enemies because they try and take anything fun away from the sheep to use themselves, and occasional other farm animals, human visitors, and even extraterrestrial ones.

The "Still Life" episode from the first season won "Best Children's Series" and "Children's Choice" at the British Animation Awards in 2008 for Aardman Animations. (In this episode, the farmer takes up painting and leaves a half-finished work in the sheep pasture, allowing the sheep to have a turn at painting also.) Despite the categories it won in, the show is quite enjoyable for adults too.

As of this writing, there have been two series of 20 episodes each made, but a staff member "Katie" has posted on the shaunthesheep.com forum that 40 more episodes are scheduled to begin shooting in early 2009. In Britain, the CBBC Channel is showing the program, and in the U.S., the Disney Channel; the show can also be seen in many other countries (see http://www.shaunthesheep.com/broadcasters/ for a list). Three DVDs, "Off the Baa," "Shape Up with Shaun the Sheep," and "Saturday Night Shaun" have been released in DVD encoding region 2 (Japan, Europe, South Africa, and the Middle East/Egypt), with "Abracadabra" due out shortly. For Region 1 (U.S./Canada), "Off the Baa" and a different DVD, "Back in the Ba-a-ath" have been released and a third, "Sheep on the Loose" is due out in June 2009.

A Shaun the Sheep video game for Nintendo DS was made by D3Publisher and released in fall 2008, and an animated spin-off focusing on Timmy the lamb is being produced and will be shown on Disney Channel Worldwide.

A music video for the theme song is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeifsOvIJz8&feature=related (thanks Tem42!)


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