Sunday 16 Mar 2014
CBeebies and FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) today announced the cast for the landmark animation series, Tree Fu Tom.
The multiplatform, fantasy action adventure series will include former Doctor Who stars David Tennant and Sophie Aldred as the voices for lead characters Tom (Aldred) and Twigs (Tennant) along with their Treeling friends.
There's Zigzoo, a bubbly, eccentric tree frog inventor; Squirmtum, an odd-job woodlouse with a heart of gold and Rickety McGlum, an ex-pro player of Treetopolis' national sport "Squizzle" (all voiced by Tim Whitnall).
There's also: Ariela (Samantha Dakin), a beautiful but rough-and-tumble ranch-running butterfly and Treetog (Sharon D Clarke), a Tree Fu Master and wise teacher. Set against the Treelings are the mischievous Mushas: comically bungling, no-good fungus fiends, brother and sister duo Stink and Puffy.
Aimed at 4-6-year-olds, Tree Fu Tom is set in an enchanted world where movement creates magic. Tom appears to be a normal eight-year-old boy but putting on his magic belt and performing a special sequence of magic action-movements (known as Tree Fu) transforms him into a tiny but mighty magical super-hero.
Using his Tree Fu spells, Tom is transported into a wondrous enchanted kingdom in a tree called Treetopolis, inhabited by sprites, bugs and naughty funghi. Here he meets his faithful sidekick Twigs, a silly and energetic Acorn Sprite.
Twigs and Tom are inseparable as they become embroiled in amazing, action-packed adventures, which always lead to trouble, impending disaster and catastrophe. When events run beyond their control it is only with help from the audience performing Tree Fu moves, that Tom can create spectacular Big World Magic and save the day!
Controller of CBeebies, Kay Benbow, says: "We have a fantastic cast on this show, who work brilliantly as a team. Their rapport permeates through to the programme reflecting the characters as a group of friends working together. We are delighted to have David on board as part of the team. The physical energy in his performance works so well for animation and his sense of fun and cheeky humour will delight the older CBeebies audience.
"We have many incredibly talented actors on CBeebies – in shows and the Bedtime Hour – because the very young deserve the very best. It's about seeking out great performances and offering the best possible quality to our viewers."
The character of Tom will engage directly with viewers through the screen, inviting them to join him on his action-packed journey. Tom will encourage them to interact physically with Tree Fu, his movement magic, to help him save the day.
Head of CBeebies Production, Animation and Acquisitions, Alison Stewart, says: "The physical actions of Tree Fu have all been devised and approved by movement development specialists and are designed to benefit all children at a crucial time in their growth. The movements have been developed from therapeutic regimes aimed at assisting those who suffer from Dyspraxia – a developmental movement disorder that affects up to 10% of all children."
Kay adds: "This is a very special show for CBeebies; Tree Fu Tom is an exciting action adventure series but beyond that the physical development benefits embedded within the show make this a unique and groundbreaking proposition."
Bob Higgins, Senior VP, Children's & Family Entertainment at FME, says: "We are thrilled with the amazing cast that our partners at CBeebies have assembled for Tree Fu Tom. We could not have asked for a stronger group of talented actors to bring this special, magical show to life."
Tree Fu Tom is a co-production between CBeebies In-house Production and FremantleMedia Enterprises. Jackie Edwards and Alison Stewart are the executive producers for the BBC, and Sander Schwartz and Bob Higgins for FME.
The animation will be done by the BAFTA winning Blue Zoo Animation. Tree Fu Tom was created and is being produced by Daniel Bays and the series will air on CBeebies early in 2012. FME will distribute Tree Fu Tom outside of the UK and manage all other ancillary rights globally.