Sunday, 25 September 2011

Fourways Farm

Farms obviously have had an impact on Children's TV over the years going by the great number available for younger viewers - Tumbledown Farm by the great Dick King-Smith, Dappledown Farm starring Brian Cant, Forget-Me-Not Farm starring Mike Amatt, and even today we have little gems such as Big Barn Farm and Mist: Sheepdog Tales, either to learn more about farm life or retelling basic life lessons through talking animals...

Relying on puppets, animation or live-action, all have the same format but each, in their own way, stand out in terms of storytelling for youngsters to watch and learn from.

Today, I'd like to talk about Fourways Farm. When Channel 4 used to air kids shows during sensible hours (Sesame Street, I recall, was always on lunchtimes on the dot), Fourways Farm was one of them. It was a stop-motion animated series produced by Case Television, part of the 4Learning Primary Science block between 1994 - 1995. A fantastic show it was where the animal characters, all voiced by the underrated Martin Jarvis, taught viewers basic science - consisting of nature, the weather, forces, health and other topics.
And thanks to Chris Ellis, who created and wrote every episode, this series was able to do so while still telling a fun story every time. Even today many fans recall its brilliance, and one is never too far away from finding a "rare" VHS Cassette or selection of books from eBay and/or Amazon.

Whether you're looking for an educational show or one with clever storytelling, Fourways Farm with no difficulty offers both. And I really think Channel 4 (or whoever owns the rights now) should make more of an effort to get this series back on the airways or at the very least, make the DVDs on sale more affordable for the parents to buy for their children. At least to recall the days before CGI was widely exposed as it is today.

So enjoy a few episodes from the Playlist below and see just why many fondly remember Fourways Farm!

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