Tree Fu Tom

Tree Fu Tom is a live-action/CGI children's television program which has been shown on BBC and CBeebies in the UK and Universal Kids and NBC in the USA. It is set in a miniature magical countryside and village area (Treetopolis) on the top of a part of a trunk of a big tree in a British-type woodland, where the trunk turns horizontal and then vertical again. Its characters are mostly anthropomorphized arthropods (which are not to size scale with each other as in reality). The programme is aimed at 2-6 year olds.

Tree Fu Tom
Written byDaniel Bays
Douglas Wood
Ian Carney
Moya O'Shea
Darren Jones
Allan Plenderleith
Corey Powell
Richard Preddy
John Loy
Sindy McKay
Richard Dinnick
Directed byAdam Shaw
StarringAdam Henderson
Voices ofSophie Aldred
David Tennant
Tim Whitnall
Samantha Dakin
Sharon D Clarke
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes72
Production
Producer(s)Daniel Bays
Running time22–25 minutes
Production company(s)FremantleMedia Kids and Family
Blue-Zoo Productions
DistributorFremantleMedia Enterprises
Release
Original networkCBeebies
Universal Kids
Original release5 March 2012 (2012-03-05) 
2 May 2016 (2016-05-02)

In it, some species of insects are raised and controlled like cattle on a ranch: aphids, ladybirds, a rhinoceros beetle.

Premise

In each episode, Tom comes out of his house, puts on a power belt, and runs across his lawn towards a crooked tree protected by a magic shield. Using the power belt, he performs some Tree Fu moves, jumps up, shrinks to insect size as he flies into the tree, and enters the world of Treetopolis. He is skilled in that world's magic, and often gets characters out of scrapes. The tree's sap is shown as a glowing orange magic liquid.

At least twice in each episode, Tom has to call on "the big world" for magical help: breaking the fourth wall, As a host, he asks his viewers to make magical moves and say magical words to assist him. The magical power is shown as an orange glow that appears offscreen and flies towards Tom, who uses it to complete the spell.

The movements which the audience are called on to make are particularly beneficial for the development of children with developmental coordination disorder.[1]

The scenario includes magical hoverboards (called "leaf boards"), a sport called "Squizzle" and lots of different cakes and snacks that the inhabitants of Treetopolis like to eat.

At the end of each episode, Tom says goodbye to his friends and flies out of the tree's magic field. Back in the normal world, Tom flies up and says to his viewers as he gets back to the surface: "Thanks for helping me in Treetopolis. See you soon for another adventure! Bye, for now!" Tom runs out of the woods, across his back lawn, and in through his back door before the credits play.

The series' two main voice actors each previously played major roles in Doctor Who: Sophie Aldred (who voices the animated Tom) as Seventh Doctor companion Ace and David Tennant (who voices Twigs) as the Tenth Doctor. The actor who plays Tom in the live action opening and closing sections of the show, Adam Henderson, is Sophie Aldred's son.[2]

The character of Twigs is currently given voice by Actor Mark Bonnar, who has also been in Doctor Who, playing Jimmy and his "ganger" duplicate in the two-parter The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People.

Purpose

The series was developed in conjunction with the Dyspraxia Foundation with the aim of promoting movement.[1] Foundation specialists Sally Payne[3] and Dr Lynda Foulder-Hughes[4] worked with the series creators to develop the movements Tree Fu Tom uses to create magic. Five percent of children have developmental coordination disorder, and these movements are similar to those used by occupational therapists to help child development. It is also hoped that the spells will help get exercise into the lives of young children.

Characters

Tom (Thomas), the main character, and a host. He uses a magical belt to transport into Treetopolis and cast spells with help from the 'big world'. Though he is usually the best at spells, he is a modest character and often has to turn to his friends for advice when things go wrong. One of his catchphrases is "Tree Fu Go!" Thanks for your help!' where he shows his viewers how to do the 'big world' magic spell segment. He Is 8 years old. Voiced by Sophie Aldred, Lucien Dodge (US), live actor Adam Henderson and Elizabeth Waterworth-Santo.

Twigs, a silly and energetic Scottish Acorn Sprite who is Tom's sidekick and best friend, and frenemy of Chezz, who usually encounters conflict. his catchphrases are "I am a Genius" and "We're Doomed!" and "Wowzers!" voiced by David Tennant in the first two series (2012–2013), and Mark Bonnar in the other three (2014–2016).

Zigzoo, an eccentric tree frog who is the local inventor at Treetopolis, though not all of his inventions work out quite as well as he (or others) hope. Though it has never officially been confessed, certain episodes seem to suggest he may have a crush on Ariela. One of his catchphrases is "Oh Ribbety Roo" voiced by Tim Whitnall 2012–2015 David Holt 2016–xxxx.

Squirmtum, a pill woodlouse who is a miner of sap in the caverns and general-purpose workman, and not the most intelligent of creatures. He can curl into a ball, and in that form he can roll fast. He wears a miner's helmet with a firefly called Flicker as his helmet light. Voiced by Tim Whitnall 2012–2015 Duncan Wisbey 2016–xxxx.

Ariela, the alpha female character, a beautiful but feisty butterfly in charge of the Branch Ranch at Treetopolis, generally does not accept help from others, and likes to get her own way; but she is always there when her friends need her. She is highly competitive and rather impatient. She appears to have the closest relationship with Zigzoo - who invents many gadgets for her ranch throughout the episodes. voiced by Samantha Dakin.

Rickety McGlum, an elderly spider of Treetopolis; he used to be thought of as scary, but is now a close friend to Tom and his friends. He is also a Squizzle expert and trainer, and leader of the Tree Fu Rangers. He is also the grandfather of Racquette. Voiced by Tim Whitnall 2012–2015 Duncan Wisbey 2016–xxxx.

Treetog the Tree Spirit, the plump friendly leader of Treetopolis. She also acts as the schoolteacher, teaching the young sprite creatures and Tom traditional tree fu spells. Voiced by Sharon D. Clarke.

The Mushas (Puffy and Stink), sister and brother respectively, forever arguing, and the main antagonists, two naughty animated toadstool-type fungi who cause trouble, though occasionally, Puffy seems to be the true antagonist. voiced by Sophie Aldred and Tim Whitnall 2012–2015 Duncan Wisbey 2016–2019.

Sprites including Chezz, Bertie, Hazel, Lavender, Sweetpea and Goose throughout the first series, these were only background characters, but they began to make more frequent appearances in the latter series. Chezz In particular is a very arrogant, badge-obsessed conker sprite with rhoticism, who likes to show off. Despite having mild respect for Tom, Chezz is usually arguing or attempting to compete with Twigs - often teasing him over his smaller size.

Muru, enigmatic, Spanish, praying mantis introduced as part of the new 2016 cast, red magic teacher and friend of Tom. Has a magical stick that is able to rewind and fast forwards time. He uses an extension of tree fu magic (red magic) that allows the user to take on attributes of a big-world animal such as the speed of a cheetah or strength of an elephant. He uses a magic spell stone which has all the animal spells upon it. Voiced by David Holt.

Racquette Troublesome female spiderling with a strong northern accent, and the granddaughter of Rickety. Although she loves and respects her granddad, she wishes he would allow her to adventure, believing him to be dull and overly cautious. She can be quite headstrong, though she usually realises when she makes a mistake. When bored or upset, she begins to spin webs in her hands. Spider's appear to have a web spinning method similar to Spider-Man, from whereby it comes from their wrists. Voiced by Sophie Aldred

Rootle and Shade, shy brother and sister dark sprites that live in the deep root caverns. Were afraid the light would turn them to jelly. Unlike the normal sprites, they lack wings and have snail shells upon their heads. Their ears and eyes are much larger than the other sprites. Rootle has an odd impediment where he switches the first letters of characters names around (Twom and Tigs, Pink and Stuffy, though he does not do this with Shade).

Episodes

Series 1 (2012)

  • Episode 1: May the Best Berry Win: the Biggest Chuckleberry In Treetopolis contest. (Aired: 5 March 2012)
  • Episode 2: Squizzle Quest: A game projectile goes astray when Twigs accidentally use the mega triple wing throw witch makes the squzzle fell into Rickety McGlum's Yard. (Aired: 6 March 2012)
  • Episode 3: Zigzoo The Zero: Zigzoo gets tired of inventions failing (Aired: 7 March 2012)
  • Episode 4: So Long Greenhorns: Tom and Twigs swap Spell School for running Ariela's ranch, and vice versa. (Aired: 8 March 2012)
  • Episode 5: Hide and Squeak: A game of hide and seek; Squirmtum's fear of the dark gets the better of him. (Aired: 12 March 2012)
  • Episode 6: Wishful Thinking: The Mushas get hold of a magic pebble, (Aired: 13 March 2012)
  • Episode 7: Zigzoo's Robot: Zigzoo builds a robot of himself that causes more problems than it solves. (Aired: 14 March 2012)
  • Episode 8: With Friends Like These: Some go off to play Squizzle when they are supposed to be helping Squirmtum. Stink and Puffy see a chance. (Aired: 15 March 2012)
  • Episode 9: Buzzworthy: Bees get into the ranch (Aired: 16 March 2012)
  • Episode 10: Winging It: Squirmtum tries to fly using a jetpack with wings (Aired: 19 March 2012)
  • Episode 11: Crystal Catastrophe: Treetog's casting crystal gets broken. (Aired: 20 March 2012)
  • Episode 12: Fungus Among Us: The Mushas trick Tom and Twigs into making a mess of Treetog's castle. (Aired: 21 March 2012)
  • Episode 13: The Big Ranch Rodeo: Trouble organizing a rodeo. (Aired: 22 March 2012)

Series 2 (3 September 2012 – 21 March 2013)

  • Episode 14: One for All!: Tom leads his under-performing squizzle team on a quest to find the enchanted squizzle.
  • Episode 15: Treefle Tom: Tom and his friends' greed for tasty treefle treats leads to trouble.
  • Episode 16: The Great Journey: Tom and Twigs get a crash course in being ranchers as they lead an epic baby beetle drive.
  • Episode 17: Not So Fast: Ariela's impatience causes trouble for Tom and Treetopolis!
  • Episode 18: Hovering Humblebugs: Tom's attempts to attain perfection cause problems for the humblebugs.
  • Episode 19: Treasure Hunt: Treelings and Mushas are thrown together to compete in Treetopolis' annual treasure hunt.
  • Episode 20: Tom's Big Mess: It's the Annual Tidy Up and Tom's careless cleaning efforts lead to disaster.
  • Episode 21: Sappy Day: Preparations for Sap Day are thrown into turmoil when the Mushas get up to mischief.
  • Episode 22: Grubble Trouble: Tom and Twigs' friendship isn't the only thing threatened when Twigs gets a new pet.
  • Episode 23: Rickety Rescue: When Tom and friends get into trouble it's up to Rickety to leap to the rescue!
  • Episode 24: Weather Bother: Zigzoo invents a weather machine to create perfect conditions for each of his friends.
  • Episode 25: Tiny Tom: Tom tackles titanic troubles as he is accidentally shrunk to the size of Twigs' toes.
  • Episode 26: The Lost Stone: A calm, quiet pond creature accidentally absorbs Tom's sapstone.

Series 3 (30 Oct 2013 – 7 April 2014)

  • Episode 27: Twigs' Big Boost: Twigs eats Ariela's special booster berries, which causes random growth spurts; He desperately tries to hide his dramatically growing hands, ears and feet from his friends
  • Episode 28: Spincake Day: It is Zigzoo's job to make all of the spincakes for Spincake Day but he leaves his machine and it quickly goes out of control.
  • Episode 29: Harvest Antics
  • Episode 30: Tom's Fan Club
  • Episode 31: Tom's Teddy
  • Episode 32: Conkerball Run
  • Episode 33: Bad Tom
  • Episode 34: The Cavern Coaster
  • Episode 35: Woodgrubs
  • Episode 36: Chuckleberry Tom
  • Episode 37: Ranger Tom: Fungus Finder
  • Episode 38: Don't Go Glowy
  • Episode 39: Last Squizzle

Series 4 (30 June 2014 – 8 December 2014)

  • Episode 40: Tom's Big Spell
  • Episode 41: Super Squirmtum
  • Episode 42: The Golden Spore
  • Episode 43: Ranger Tom: Super Helper
  • Episode 44: Tom and the Warble Weeds
  • Episode 45: Ranger Tom: Fun Guy!
  • Episode 46: Twigs' Tall Tale
  • Episode 47: Ranger Tom and the Carrots of Doom
  • Episode 48: Picture This
  • Episode 49: Dragon Fruit Fiasco
  • Episode 50: Ranger Tom: A Badge Too Far
  • Episode 51: King Stink
  • Episode 52: Tree Fu Tom: The Sprite Before Christmas

Series 5 (8 February 2016 – 2 May 2016)

  • Episode 53: Stuck
  • Episode 54: Ranger Tom and The Musha Rangers
  • Episode 55: Flicker Goes Out
  • Episode 56: It's A Kind Of Magic
  • Episode 57: Dark Sprites
  • Episode 58: Ranger Tom a Friend Indeed
  • Episode 59: How to Train Your Buggle
  • Episode 60: Treenado
  • Episode 61: Friendship Day
  • Episode 62: Box of Tricks
  • Episode 63: Ranger Tom: Beetles and Grubbles
  • Episode 64: Need For Less Speed
  • Episode 65. The Good The Bad And The Mushas
  • Episode 66: Racquette Risks A Rescue
  • Episode 67: Musha Island
  • Episode 68: An A-maze-ing adventure
  • Episode 69: Red Musha Mischief
  • Episode 70: Ranger Tom And Ginormous George
  • Episode 71; Dead Branch Challenge
  • Episode 72; Raiders Of The Lost Bark

===Series 6 (8 March 2018 – 2 April 2018)

  • Episode 73; Tom meets Catherine/Tom and the Loud house
  • Episode 74; Tom meets Dora/Tom meets Rob
  • Episode 75; The new sprite/Tom's big car chase
  • Episode 76: It's A Kind Of Magic
  • Episode 77: Dark Sprites
  • Episode 78: Ranger Tom a Friend Indeed
  • Episode 79: How to Train Your Buggle
  • Episode 80: Treenado
  • Episode 81: Friendship Day
  • Episode 82: Box of Tricks
  • Episode 83: Ranger Tom: Beetles and Grubbles
  • Episode 84: Need For Less Speed
  • Episode 85: The Good The Bad And The Mushas
  • Episode 86: Racquette Risks A Rescue
  • Episode 87: Musha Island
  • Episode 88: An A-maze-ing adventure
  • Episode 89: Red Musha Mischief
  • Episode 90: Ranger Tom And Ginormous George
  • Episode 91; Dead Branch Challenge
  • Episode 92; Raiders Of The Lost Bark

References

  1. "Dyspraxia Foundation welcomes innovative CBeebies programme: Tree Fu Tom". Dyspraxia Foundation. Retrieved June 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. "Tree Fu Tom Episode list". David Tennant Radio Plays. Retrieved June 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. Anuji Varma (16 March 2012). "Solihull occupational therapist behind kids' smash hit show Tree Fu Tom". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved June 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. "Children's animation could help dyspraxic kids". SEN Magazine. 6 March 2012. Retrieved June 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
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