This article is about the TV show. For the theme, see Shaun the Sheep Theme.
- For the character, see Shaun.
Shaun the Sheep (STS) is a British stop-motion animated comedy children's television series produced by Aardman Animations and commissioned by the BBC and the WDR. It was created by Nick Park, Aardman's creative director and Richard Starzak, who wrote each 170 episodes. The programme first aired in the UK on CBBC in March 2007 on Off The Baa! and ended on March 2020 with Farm Park and was aired by Disney in US between 2010 and 2017. The show consists of 170 episodes in 6 seasons and is currently in hiatus, but it is not known if as of 2022, production was originally supposed to be cancelled and it was announced that no new episodes would be ever produced, with the last episode being aired. However, most of them are aired 170 enough full year.
The series revolves around the adventures of Shaun, a sheep who previously appeared in Wallace and Gromit. He also, along with Bitzer, a yellow sheepdog, tries to get the Flock, a group of sheep who caused chaos in mayhem, out of trouble. The series is set in Mossy Bottom Farm, a farm that is made by members and using the background. However, the countryside can be seen when the camera is still up on the farm.
Although the programme is aimed for a much younger audience, simple grunts, bleats and sighs are all used to add subtle expression to each character's moods and feelings, instead of actual dialogue. Mostly for a younger audience reasons.
Channels that aired the TV show
- Disney Channel (US)
- Canal Panda (Portugal)
- Cartoon Network (Asia)
- Nickelodeon (UK, Portugal)
- Nick Jr. (Australia)
- ABC Kids (Australia)
- ABC3 (Australia)
- MBC 3 (Middle East)
- Jeem TV (Middle East)
- Rai 2 (Italy)
- Rai Yoyo (Italy)
- Rai Gulp (Italy)
- Disney XD (Italy)
- Boomerang (Italy)
- Toon Disney (Italy)
- TVO Kids (Canada)
- TV Cultura (Brazil)
- Treehouse TV (Canada)
- Zig Zag (Portugal)
- RTP2 (Portugal)
- RTP Açores (Portugal)
A premise of the series is that Shaun the Sheep exhibits human intelligence, creativity and behaviour in a farm setting, which usually provides a situational comedy conflict which Shaun must resolve before the end of each episode. Recurring themes include the characters evading the sheepdog Bitzer (though he is sometimes with the sheep in their escapades) and avoiding discovery by the Farmer. The only bully characters are pigs, who always think the sheep are mean to them. They make them muddy and dirty. Although birds are often heard or seen flying, especially the ducks. The climate is always sunny in 3rd, 4th and 5th season. In the 1st season, the climate seems to be cold, but in 2nd season, it is actually spring.
The rooster, who has the cup, rings out to begin the show to wake the sheep in the start of every episode.
Episodes are very much a combination of slapstick and classic silent comedy in Aardman’s recognizable animation style. There is no spoken dialogue, even by human characters. In this way it is reminiscent of silent comedy films and even Pingu and the animated version of Mr. Bean and also Larva, but unfortunately this copies what The Amazing World of Gumball did.
However, simple grunts, bleats and sighs are all used to add subtle expression to each character's moods and feelings.
Shaun and the other characters are simply made of clay by the crew members making something that is no sense of scales about it. Also the crew members had to make the video using the stop motion animation. Shaun, Bitzer and the Flock don't normally wear the real clothes and other suits they wear. But they have some fleeces, the white furs and also the black heads and legs. Shaun, Bitzer and the Flock don't normally speak, but they'd instead bleat and woof, respectively. Human characters, also don't talk properly, but they mumble instead.
The Flock, Shaun and Bitzer bleat and woof in the strange gurgling voice, which doesn't make sense at all. The Flock, Shaun and Bitzer are at the stage to do something other than this. They always have a playtime for playing the swing, sliding down the water and causing chaos. At the start of some episodes, the Flock walk out of the fence and Bitzer is taking his check on his clipboard. In the start of other episodes, the Flock are eating some grasses and hear or see something one. Sometimes when the episodes are about to end, Shaun winks at the screen, breaking the 4th wall, but doesn't at the end of some episodes.
The show begins and the rooster wakes them up and the Sun rises. Shaun, the Farmer, the Flock and Bitzer wake up and they open the windows and brush the teeth, use the perfume and use to cut the beard. The Farmer walks and opens the door when Bitzer is behind the door. Shaun and the Flock do some exercises. In the third, fourth and fifth series, they do up and down and Shaun swings onto the door and the Farmer opens. Shaun bleats at Bitzer. In the second series, he is silent. Bitzer takes some instructions to use the whistle and the Flock walk out. Fortunately for the Farmer, his companion is Pidsley, the naughty orange cat. The Flock's farmland is the outdoor set located to the Big City. Since filming ended, the fixture and fittings have been removed and it was demolished. Until recently, the image is now available here.
Shaun's First Appearance
Shaun the Sheep makes his first "official" appearance in Wallace and Gromit's third short feature, the Academy Award winning "A Close Shave" as the youngest member of a flock of sheep Wallace and Gromit work to save from an evil mechanical dog that wants to turn them all into dog food for profit. Shaun does show a hint of intelligence, though he proves to be a big factor in saving the day. Shaun and the entire herd are also seen living with the inventive duo (much to Wallace's annoyance since they eat everything in sight, including furniture and clothes as well as his beloved cheese), though none of this seems to be part of this series' canon or it can be surmised Wallace simply sold off the flock to The Farmer where Shaun and his friends now reside.
Shaun also makes a brief cameo appearance with the duo in one of the episodes (entitled "Shopper 13") of Wallace and Gromit's "Cracking Contraptions" web series of shorts.
Reviews of the series were consistently positive. Harry Venning of "The Stage" found "characterisation charming and the animation superb. All this before even a mention of how funny and splendidly slapstick the script is." The Guardian noted that the series "hits the four-to-seven-year-old age group smack in the eye." Charles Arthur wrote "classic Aardman style that leaves me laughing out loud." On forums, the show has received rave reviews, with Shaun becoming a favourite among adults as well as children.
Shaun is the main character of the series and the leader of the flock. He is a clever sheep and keeps his head. He has a good friendship with Bitzer and very smart. He is voiced by Justin Fletcher.
Bitzer is the strict and loyal dog of the farmer and Shaun's friend. He can neglect his duties, but he enlists the help of Shaun and the Flock to fix any mishaps and is determined to please The Farmer. He is also voiced by John Sparkes.
The Farmer is a ketty, drum-and-bass-loving Welshman who runs the farm with Bitzer at his side. He is completely oblivious to the human-like intelligence of his flock. His disastrous attempts at dating are an ongoing joke of the series. Much like Bitzer, he is also voiced by John Sparkes.
The Pigs are the main antagonists of the series, they're always trying to antagonize the Sheep and get them into trouble. They are, however, scared of Bitzer, who puts them in line. They are bullies to Shaun and the Flock and they got told off in "Pig Trouble" (Series 2) by The Farmer.
Pidsley is the cat, he's minor character in season 1 and major character in season 2 and desires to be the sole recipient of The Farmer's attention. He is jealous of Bitzer's relationship with the farmer and hates the sheep, thinking of them as stupid and beneath him.
Shirley could be described as a consuming-machine (still a sheep). She's so big that she often gets stuck and needs the other sheep to push, pull or even sling-shot her out of trouble, even using heavy equipment at times.
Timmy is Shaun's cousin. He may be the baby of the flock, but is often at the center of things. Luckily his mum is always there to keep him safe. He also appears as the main star in the spin-off Timmy Time. Much like his cousin Shaun, he is also voiced by Justin Fletcher.
Timmy's Mother wears curlers in her hair, and is a bit careless about maternal duties, even using Timmy once as some sort of a paint brush. But when her off-spring goes astray, she is inconsolable until he is safely back in her care. She is also Shaun's aunt.
Nuts is the charming eccentric of the Flock, with an unusual way of looking at the world that sometimes confuses his woolly companions.
Boisterous, loud and full of energy, this sparky pair likes nothing better than battling it out in a play fight.
The Cockerel, who appears in every opening sequences to the show and has a cup of tea, would always wake the Flock everyday.
The Mother Hen
The Mother Hen is the hen who wants the chicks to come back, but they won't listen and want to stay with Shaun, thinking he's their mother. She only appears in the episode "Who's the Mummy?"
The Chicks are chicks that easily annoy Shaun. They always follow wherever Shaun goes (because Shaun was the first thing they saw upon hatching – something called imprinting) and in order to make them accept Mother Hen as their real mother.
The Duck appears in several episodes, including Off The Baa and Bathtime, and often suffers collateral damage as a result of Shaun’s exploits. As seen in Bitzer Puts His Foot In It, he has several other duck friends.
Mower Mouth the goat is an unstoppable eating machine – while not an unfriendly character, all his considerable energy is focused on his next meal.
The Mole is a rude and annoying pest who appears in Mountains Out Of Molehills. He is fearless when mocking Shaun, but not so brave when his Mother Mole turns up.
She-Bitzer is a female dog belonging to some campers who pitch their tent next to the sheep’s field in Fetching. After a brief courtship, she and Bitzer are cruelly separated.
The Birds make occasional appearances.
Lola is a special guest sheep in "Two's Company". She is a ewe and Shaun's interest. She became part of the flock after she is mistaken to be sent to her real home.
Pizza Delivery Boy
Pizza Delivery Boy – A gormless teenager who rides a moped and works in the local pizzeria. Has also been seen moonlighting as a postman in Saturday Night Shaun.
The Farmer's Niece – A nonstop little girl who bullies all the flock all the time and hurt their feelings.
The Ramblers – A liberal, nature-loving couple who appear in Shaun Shoots The Sheep.
The Camper – A yobbish litterbug who sets up his tent in the sheep’s field in Camping Chaos.
The Scarecrow – Not a human character, more of a handy prop which Shaun makes use of when he burs.
The Granny is a short-tempered, short-sighted old lady, appearing in "Take Away" and "Save the Tree".
The Farmer's Girlfriend appears for the first time in Series 2. She appears to be adventurous and an animal lover, patting Bitzer and Shaun and offering food to Timmy.
The Alien Family lives in outer space. They first appear in the episode, "Shaun Encounters".
The Lone Alien
The Alien Scientists
Shaun the Sheep 10th Anniversary
Before the show premiered the crew members began to draw and created the setting farm and gave the city to the key to the Flock. They took the costume-like balloon to march the parade.
References to popular culture
As with the series' parent show Wallace and Gromit, there are many allusions to scenes from movies such as Star Wars, The Lion King, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, The Matrix, and Pulp Fiction. These include:
- Shirley's training in the episode "Shape Up With Shaun" is based on the film Rocky.
- The paintings parodied in "Still Life" include the Mona Lisa and Constable's The Hay Wain.
- In "Buzz Off Bees", the Farmer appears in his hooded beekeepers outfit, with accompanying Darth Vader-style heavy breathing.
- The infamous shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is spoofed in the episode "The Little Sheep of Horrors", whose name is based on the 1960 film The Little Shop of Horrors and its 1986 remake.
- In "Hiccups", Shaun turns his guitar amplifier up to 11 in a reference to a scene in This Is Spinal Tap.
- In "Fleeced", the Farmer drags one of the sheep away for shearing, slamming a large metal sliding door closed behind him. This is particularly reminiscent of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
- In "Supersize Timmy", when Timmy ate a tomato he becomes big like four other characters from cartoons (Mort from penguins of Madagascar, Scrappy-Doo from the Scooby-Doo movie (even though it is live action), Private from The Penguins of Madagascar and Fry from Futrama). This is similar to the 1933 film King Kong 1976 and 2005 remakes of it.
- In "The Visitor", the alien thrashes his car with a tree branch in the same way as Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers.
- In "Mountains out of Molehills" a sheep is reading a magazine called "Bleat", a spoof of celebrity gossip magazine "Heat".
- Also in "Mountains out of Molehills" Shaun tries to catch the mole with a fishing rod and line. When the first "bite" is shown, the first two notes of the Jaws theme are played.
- Near the end of "Off the Baa", the well-known Nessun Dorma theme from Puccini's opera Turandot is used, which was the musical theme of the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
- At the end of "Mower Mouth" the shrubs are clearly reminiscent of those in Edward Scissorhands.
- In "Saturday Night Shaun" Shaun rips off his coat and tosses it away as he is dancing, only to have tossed back. This is reminiscent of the scene in the 1980 movie Airplane!, where Robert Hays tosses his white sportcoat away, only to have it tossed back in his face.
- In * in "Party Animals", one of the guests is dressed as a crude version of a Dalek trying to get up some stairs but failing because of the suit.
- In "Zebra Ducks of the Serengeti", the Farmer's signpost over the gate falls over Bitzer - à la Buster Keaton in Steamboat Bill Jr.
- The title to "What's Up, Dog?" references Bugs Bunny's line "What's Up, Doc?"
- Also in "An Ill Wind", the Farmer watches along with Bitzer the TV when the wind turbine spins slowly. And When Shirley falls into it, the windmill spins faster, like the Windmill from the original Teletubbies series.
- In "Who's the Caddy?" when one of the ball falls into Timmy's sandcastle, one of his toy resembles the Windmill from the original Teletubbies series.
Aardman developed a feature film Shaun the Sheep Movie, written and directed by Richard Starzak and Mark Burton, which was financed by French StudioCanal, which was released on February 6, 2015. The film received very positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 99% of critics have given the film a positive review. The film opened to $3.2 million in the UK and grossed $22 million in the UK and $106 million worldwide.
On September 14, 2015, StudioCanal announced it was working with Aardman on a sequel. On October 25, 2016, Aardman announced that pre-production on the film, titled Shaun the Sheep Movie 2, would begin in January 2017. Richard Starzak, director of the first film, would also return for the sequel.
On March 9th, 2011, Shaun the Sheep made its theatre début in live Shaun's Big Show. This 1 hour and 40 minutes long musical/dance show features all favourite characters, including Bitzer, Shirley and Timmy.
On June 16th, 2008, D3 Publisher of America, which published a game based on Aardman's 2006 film Flushed Away, announced that it would also release a video game based on the television series. The Shaun the Sheep game was developed by Art Co., Ltd exclusively for Nintendo DS, and was released in autumn 2008. The Shaun the Sheep website also ran a contest which offered five packages containing a Nintendo DS and a copy of the game as a prize.
A second game named Shaun the Sheep: Off His Head was released on April 2009 exclusively in Europe.
- TV Review The Stage. Harry Venning. 12 March 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2007
- Banks-Smith, Nancy (6 March 2007). Last Night's TV. The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 3 April 2007.
- Charles Arthur (20 March 2007). Roll over, Pixar – Shaun the Sheep’s here to tickle your funny bone CharlesArthur.com. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
- Multiple authors (3 May 2007). Shaun The Sheep - 3.45pm BBC1 DigitalSpy Forums. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
- BWW News Desk (2011-02-22). "SHAUN'S BIG SHOW Debuts at Stoke-on-Trent's Regent Theatre, Mar. 9 -13". BroadwayWorld.com. http://westend.broadwayworld.com/article/SHAUNS_BIG_SHOW_Debuts_at_StokeonTrents_Regent_Theatre_Mar_9_13_20110222. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
- Remo, Chris (2008-06-16). "D3 Announces Coraline And Shaun The Sheep Adaptations". Gamasutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=18932. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
- "Shaun the Sheep Flash game". http://www.shaunthesheep.com/games/homesheephome/.
- "Shaun the Sheep iOS game". http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/home-sheep-home/id433704428?mt=8.
- Loveday, Samantha. "Timmy Tales". Licensing.biz. http://www.licensing.biz/brand-profiles/39/Timmy. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- Official website shaunthesheep.com
- Shaun's Big Show
- Fan site
- Aardman Animation official website
- BBC Press release (animation series)
- Shaun the Sheep at BBC Online
- Shaun the Sheep at British Comedy Guide
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