But one of their shows that is still airing on CBeebies since it’s debut in 2008 is Big Barn Farm, a live action television show that stars barnyard animals who have adventures around the barn they all live on.
Three DVDs have been released this week (Welcome to Big Barn Farm, Greedy Goat and Other Stories and Best in Show and Other Stories) and rather than reviewing each one separately in different articles, I will review the DVDs in terms of the quality of the show and the episodes in these products.
These DVDs each feature five episodes from the television series and introduces viewers to the Farmyard Bunch, a group of farmyard animals that all live at Big Barn Farm.
The Farmyard Bunch is made up of four young animals – Petal the Piglet, Dash the Donkey, Gobo the Goat and Digger the Puppy. Every episode always follows these four characters on adventures around or on the farm, bumping into other characters including Madam the French Cow, Mrs. Snuffles the mother pig, the Duck Girls and Lester the rooster. Told entirely in the animals’ point of view, the only human beings that ever appear are either the farmer or one of his family members that only come in as part of a plot point.
But what makes the show interesting is the fact that they use similar techniques from the film Babe to make the series.
The actors and actresses (including Shelley Longworth and Ben Fairman), all bring good voice acting to each of the individual animal, making them unique and appealing for each other. Computer animation is used to make the animals mouths move for long pieces of dialogue, while their mouths do often move on their own as well. The voice actors really bring charm to the cute, young animal stars, making it very appealing to very young children.
These episodes are also narrated by Ben Fairman, who brings a good sense of storytelling towards the viewers before Dave Lamb (who narrates Come Dine With Me) took over the role since series two.
While young children will enjoy this with the animal characters and the voice work involved, older children and grown-ups might get a bit bored by this. This is mainly due to the fact that at times some of the characters do something naughty in a couple of the episodes and manage to get away with it or have very little consequences which they might be a bit wary about what the target audience are learning from it. With the presentation and music specifically aimed at young viewers as well, they might feel as though it isn’t aimed at them, which is probably why the second series had Dave Lamb to do the narration.
Each of the DVDs only feature five episodes and this may be a little disappointing for those who want to get them for a child or themselves, especially since they are each priced at around five pounds.
Compared to the other DVD releases from The Foundation’s other productions, they too only offer episodes (as television shows from CBeebies rarely offer special features), but some additional episodes would have been nice as parents might want to keep their children entertained a bit longer. Waybuloo generally features around eight episodes for each of their DVDs and because they are twenty minutes per episode, it’s nearly twice as long as the seventy minutes of the Big Barn Farm releases.
For those who have not seen the series, this is a pretty good introduction to the format and has a nice, charming appeal that children might be interested in for just over five pounds. Just be warned that if the running time is a bit too short for you at the price it is set at, it might be best to get another DVD package that offers more content.