Gory violence and the constant threat of death is not what you usually expect when you plonk a kid down in front of an animated series about fluffy woodland animals but, as a Twitter thread by user @Bilbo983 has highlighted, that’s what you got with 1990s classic The Animals of Farthing Wood.
The thread details the full “casualty list”, and it’s like Bambi crossed with Game of Thrones, leading to a social media discussion about how kids TV shows have traumatised past generations.
The series, which ran from 1993-1995, follows, you guessed it, the animals of Farthing Wood, who are forced to leave their homes after humans began to destroy the woods to build houses. Perhaps we should have seen those harrowing deaths coming…
• The newt family – burned to death • Mrs Pheasant – shot, cooked and presumably eaten • Mr Pheasant – shot dead while recoiling in horror at the sight of his roasted wife’s carcass pic.twitter.com/CmvMNS5H9Q
• Baby rabbit – nearly strangled in a snare • Rabbit family almost drown in a river • The rabbits almost drown Fox, who is swept down river • Mole – almost eaten by a pike • 3 baby mice – murdered by shrike bird who impales them on spikes as their parents are forced to watch pic.twitter.com/KrR34nsS6J
• Fox and Vixen – almost hounded to death by a pack of ravenous dogs • Toad – almost eaten alive by a carp • Baby rabbit – shot dead by poachers in front of his parents and sister • Mr and Mrs Hedgehog – squashed to death on a motorway while paralysed by fear pic.twitter.com/XlJwP6Oxdm
• Mrs Fieldmouse – murdered and eaten by Kestrel within minutes of both of them arriving at White Deer Park • Cat – savaged by Kestrel when she thinks he’s attacking Mole • Mrs Vole – eaten by Scarface Fox • Kestrel – mauled by Cat in revenge pic.twitter.com/8fP1oxqmDr
• Cat – attacked by Badger to protect Kestrel • Mr Vole – dies of hypothermia • Two deers and a blue fox shot dead by poachers • Mole – dies of old age/hypothermia • Dreamer the fox cub – murdered by Scarface • Mrs Hare – murdered and eaten by Scarface pic.twitter.com/Uqzef6yst7
• Shadow the badger’s paw mangled in a trap • Bold the Fox’s eye mangled by barbed wire • Bold – shot by a farmer • Fox instructs Adder to murder Scarface. She murders Scarface’s son by mistake • Scarface bites Adder’s tail off in revenge • Badger – dies of old age pic.twitter.com/NesRQqiZlx
• Fox and Scarface tear strips off each other • Mrs Rabbit – murdered and eaten by Scarface • Scarface – murdered by Adder • Bold – dies of his injuries • The Great White Stag – dies after drinking water contaminated by toxic waste pic.twitter.com/bNTVsBysZg
• Fido and Cleo almost drown. A wildcat tries to eat Measley. Rollo saves him by trying to drown the wildcat, but almost drowns himself in the process • Owl – encased in cement • sinuous the Adder – murdered by the rats • The rats try to murder Toad pic.twitter.com/klZ5gjG2mR
• 12 squirrels – die in a hurricane • Shadow – crushed and seriously injured by a falling tree in the hurricane • 14 frogs – killed in the hurricane • Trey – Seriously injured by a falling tree • Hundreds of rats killed in a final battle with the other animals pic.twitter.com/cRQQYdgTap
I haven’t even mentioned the undertones of racial division, social hierarchy, misogyny, ageism, brutality, gang warfare, criminality and environmental destruction. Watching it as an adult is almost doubly harrowing.
Had you been putting it off because you remembered how harrowing it was the first time? Honestly it's a good job I was too old to watch it at the time, it would have wrecked me! Wind in the Willows was melancholy enough for me sometimes.