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The first season of The Bellflower Bunnies, a children's animated series based on the Beechwood Bunny Tales books by Geneviève Huriet and Loïc Jouannigot, aired on France's TF1 network during the week of 24 December 2001, at 7:00 a.m. Central European Time.[1] Consisting of four episodes, it was directed by French animator Moran Caouissin, produced by Patricia Robert, and written by Valérie Baranski. The music was composed by Baranski and Daniel Scott.[2] A handful of crew members from this season would be carried over for future episodes.

The episodes follow the adventures of the Bellflowers, a family of seven rabbits who live in the community of Beechwood Grove. The two adults, Papa Bramble and Aunt Zinnia, take care of their five children: Periwinkle, Poppy, Mistletoe, Dandelion and Violette.[Note 1] "Room to Move", the first episode in the official production order, deals with the family's move to their new house at Blueberry Hill.[Note 2]

The first season has been broadcast on TF! Jeunesse, the children's service of TF1, as well as South Korea's Educational Broadcasting System (EBS),[3] CBBC in the United Kingdom,[4] and Germany's Kinderkanal (KI.KA)[5] and ZDF[6] among others. Since early 2003,[7] it has been made available on DVD in the United States, France, Germany and South Korea.

Production

The season was a co-production of France's TF1, its subsidiaries Protécréa and Banco Production, and Canada's TVA International. It was produced in association with France's Sofica Valor 6 and Luxembourg's Melusine,[8] and with the participation of the Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC). Production began in late 2000[8] at a cost of 380,000 (C$610,000) per episode.[9] Graphics and Animation of Antwerp, Belgium,[Note 3] a sudsidiary of Luxembourg's Studio 352, designed the layouts for these episodes,[10] and North Korea's SEK Studio handled overseas animation duties.[2] Premium Sound, based in Montreal,[11] was responsible for the sound effects, design, dialogue editing, foley and mix.[12] Early during the show's production, the crew created a one-minute promotional pilot, in which a little mouse tells of the show's premise and introduces its main characters.[13][14]

This season represented TF1 International at the conferences of the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) in early 2001 and 2002,[15][16] and MIPTV Media Market in April 2001.[17] For both events, the four episodes were promoted as "specials".[15][17]

The first two episodes of the series were planned to air on TF1 in November 2001, with the next two to follow in December.[18] Ultimately, all four premiered in late December on TF! Jeunesse.[1]

Cast and crew

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The first season's English voice cast included Rhonda Millar (who played two characters, Periwinkle and Pirouette),[19] as well as Tom Clarke Hill, Tom Eastwood, Regine Candler and Joanna Ruiz Rodriguez.[2] Their voices were recorded at Ten Pin Alley, a company based in Gloucestershire, England.[20]

The director of this season, Moran Caouissin, was previously involved in DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp as an animator.[21] Character designer Josette Zagar previously worked in the trace and paint department for The Twelve Tasks of Asterix.[22] Co-producer Louis Fournier once served Cinar as Vice President of Sales & Co-productions; during this season's production, he was President of TVA International's Youth and Animation Unit.[23] Fournier's partner, Dominique Mendel, became Vice President of Montreal's Spectra Animation in November 2004.[24][25] Daniel Scott, a Canadian composer who created the theme for Wimzie's House,[26] teamed up with Valérie Baranski to write the score and songs.[2][27] Several more would return for the next season: screenwriter Baranski, producer Patricia Robert, and story editor Fabrice Ziolkowski to name a few.

Reception

José Evrard of France's DVDcritiques.com wrote of The Bellflower Bunnies' first season: "[It] combines quality entertainment with a charming style that can be found in children's books. The stories, full of tenderness, emotion and humour, develop in a magical world where everything is done to give the young viewer true moments of joy! Every event with our little heroes—so mischievous and affectionate—is a delight."[7] In the United States, Dove Foundation reviewer Linda Eagle praised the episodes as "an adorable piece of animation", and gave both Region 1 DVDs four stars out of five.[28][29]

Episodes

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This season, based entirely on books in the Beechwood Bunny Tales series, is about 92 minutes long. In each episode, the Bellflower children perform a song whose title does not appear in the credits.

O[Note 4] B[Note 5] Title (French) / (English) Original Beechwood Bunny Tale Song Air date (France)
12 "Le déménagement"
"Room to Move"
Family Moving Day (La famille Passiflore déménage)"Bunnies on the Move"25 December 2001 (2001-12-25)[30]

The Bellflower children have suspicions that their father, Bramble, is keeping an important secret away from them. Soon, as they get out of order, Bramble calls them to a "family meeting", only to reveal they will move to a house on the other side of the hill called Blueberry Cottage. Everyone is excited, except Periwinkle, who does not comform easily to new changes. He is afraid he will seldom again see his girlfriend, Pimpernelle.

Soon, a magpie named Magda tries to trick Periwinkle into thinking the house is haunted, thanks to the "Blueberry Ghost". However, her scheme goes awry when Papa Bramble comes back from a trip around the village, and finds out what commotion his children have gone through.

Everything goes smoothly during the renovation of their new home, but it is not enough to convince Periwinkle to stay. He eventually runs away, making the other rabbits worried. After an extensive search, his father finds him inside a small tent. He tells Periwinkle the new place will be better, and offers him some help with a workshop there. After saying farewell to their former residence, the two rabbits move back, much to the family's delight.

Before they can finally get it all together, Bramble and son convince Pimpernelle and her family that they are nicer neighbours than the previous owners. After the latter agree, the Bellflower family holds a night-long housewarming with fireworks, friends and food galore. 
23 "Carnaval"
"Carnival"
Carnaval chez les Passiflore"Carnival Time Is Here"27 December 2001 (2001-12-27)[31]

The Bellflower children eagerly await their trip to the Venicette Annual Carnival near their home; Papa Bramble decides that he will look after the smallest one, Dandelion. But they want to assume full responsibility for their brother, and before they ride to the venue on Bramble's "Super Carrot Mobile", they promise their father that nothing will go wrong.

As the event goes on, they fail to take notice when Roderick and Marmaduke, two clever foxes in disguise, kidnap Dandelion in order to make a meal out of him. Soon after, the siblings set out to rescue him, following a trail of radishes that leaked out of his pockets. Their search leads them into the forest, where they must outwit the foxes as best as they can. In the end, the children are reunited with Bramble and Aunt Zinnia, and tell them what happened, before all of them return to enjoying the carnival. 
31 "Vive la glisse"
"Slide On"
Vive la glisse!"Sliding On, Having Fun"24 December 2001 (2001-12-24)[32]
Mistletoe is giving his brothers some skiing tips when he accidentally sets some marbles loose from a bag, causing him to trip down a staircase and break his arm. Some time later, in spite of this, he decides to look for the unique Snow Rose during his family's stay at their Grandfather Theo's. 
44 "En ballon"
"Balloonatic Bunnies"
En ballon, les Passiflore!"Up, Up and Away"28 December 2001 (2001-12-28)[33]
The young Bellflowers accidentally take off on the hot air balloon of Loti and Lizzi, two guinea fowl who are aviation contest judges. During their journey, stormy weather forces them to crash land in Darkwood Forest. 

DVD releases

Region 2 (Europe)

France

The first season was also released by TF1 Vidéo on 23 January 2003[7] and again on 19 February 2004.[34] Its only special features were a collection of songs from the episodes and a DVD-ROM weblink to the distributor's site.[7]

Germany

On 22 February 2008, in time for Easter, edelkids released the German-dubbed version as Die Häschenbande, Folge 1.[35][36] This came about as a result of the show's success on local television.[36] The extras were colouring pages and previews of other edelkids products.[37]

German title English title
"Ein neues Zuhause" "Room to Move"
"Peppino in Gefahr" "Carnival"
"Rackies Schneeabenteuer" "Slide On"
"Ein gefährlicher Flug" "Balloonatic Bunnies"

Netherlands

Under the series title De Knuffel Konijntjes, Dutch FilmWorks B.V. released the first four episodes individually in the mid-2000s; all of these were put together in a box set on 21 March 2006.[38] The third volume in this version, "Hoog in de Lucht" ("Balloonatic Bunnies"), was released several months before #2, "Carnaval" ("Carnival").

Dutch title English title Release date
"Verhuizing" "Room to Move" 8 March 2005[39]
"Hoog in de Lucht" "Ballonatic Bunnies" 30 August 2005[40]
"Carnaval" "Carnival" 13 January 2006[41]
"Winterpret" "Slide On" 20 July 2006[42]

Region 1 (North America)

As part of a marketing deal with TVA,[8] the English version of Season 1 was distributed on VHS by the Utah-based Feature Films for Families (FFF) in 2001; the Region 1 DVD versions came out on 1 October 2003.[28][29] Extras on both discs included trailers for other FFF releases and special messages from the distributor's staff.

Title Episodes
The Bellflower Bunnies, Vol. 1 "Room to Move" / "Carnival"
The Bellflower Bunnies, Vol. 2 "Balloonatic Bunnies" / "Slide On"

Region 3 (Asia)

The first season was released on DVD and VHS by South Korea's C4U Entertainment in February 2005 as 까르르 토끼 친구들.[3][43] There, they are titled "이사가는 날" ("Room to Move"), "축제는 즐거워" ("Carnival"), "열기구 대소동" ("Balloonatic Bunnies") and "달려라, 썰매야!" ("Slide On").[43]

See also

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 For the English version of season 2, Pirouette was renamed Violette (as she was called in Gareth Stevens' translations).
  2. In the Beechwood Bunny Tale, Family Moving Day, the house was called The Berries.
  3. The company has since been renamed DeFamilieJanssen (DFJ).
  4. O = Corresponds to the official order as listed by Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA) and AnimezVous.com.
  5. B = Corresponds to TF1's broadcast schedule.

References

General
Specific
  1. 1.0 1.1 "Films d'animation" (Subscription required). Le Monde (in French) (Paris). 2001-12-23. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Carnival". Moran Caouissin, director. The Bellflower Bunnies. TF1. 2001-12-27. No. 2, season 1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "까르르 토끼 친구들" (in Korean). C4U Media. Retrieved 2008-09-26. [dead link]
  4. "CBBC schedule" (Subscription required). Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire: The Sentinel (accessed via Google News Search). 2002-05-04. Retrieved 2008-10-05.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. "Episode list for The Bellflower Bunnies (Die Häschenbande)" (in German). KI.KA (kika.de). Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  6. "Die Häschenbande: Sendetermine der TV-Serie (ZDF, 2006)" (in German). imfernsehen GmbH & Co. KG. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Evrard, José (2003-01-23). "Review of La Famille Passiflore" (in French). DVDcritiques.com. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Bunnies bent on broadcast (Up Next: What's developing in kids production)". KidScreen Magazine. Brunico Communications. 2001-05-01. Retrieved 2008-09-26. [dead link]
  9. Staff (2001-04-01). "Canada at the market - animation". Playback. Brunico Communications. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  10. "Visual development - About". Sylvie Lacroix (fourmi.info). 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  11. "Contact information". Premium Sound. 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  12. "Television credits". Premium Sound. 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-17.  Unknown parameter |pg= ignored (help)
  13. "Promo clip of The Bellflower Bunnies" (RealPlayer required) (in English (video) and German (site)). ZDF.de. 1999. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  14. "Programme 2000: List of the projects". TV France International (accessed at the Internet Archive). 2001. Retrieved 2008-10-08. The Bellflower Bunnies (Protecrea [sic]) 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "TF1 International. (NATPE 2001 Profiles)" (Suscription required). Television Europe (accessed via Business Library at BNET's FindArticles). January 2001. Retrieved 2008-10-08. [dead link]
  16. "Natpe 2002. (National Association of Television Program Executives)" (Free registration required with library card). Television Asia (accessed via AccessMyLibrary). 2002-01-02. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 "TF1 International. (MIP-TV 2001 Profiles)" (Subscription required). Television Europe (accessed via Business Library at BNET's FindArticles). April 2001. Retrieved 2008-10-08. [dead link]
  18. "Product information for En ballon, les Passiflore!" (in French). alapage.com. Retrieved 2008-10-08. Pour mémoire, les deux premiers dessins animés de 26 minutes des aventures de la famille Passiflore seront diffusés fin novembre sur TF1. Deux autres suivront fin décembre. 
  19. "Profile for Rhonda Millar". Yakety Yak All Mouth Ltd. Retrieved 2008-10-17. [dead link]
  20. "Ten Pin Alley Ltd. business information". My Local Services/Lowi Ltd. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  21. Beck, Jerry. "DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp". The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago, Ill.: Chicago Reader Press. p. 68. ISBN 1-55652-591-5.  Unknown parameter |origmonth= ignored (help);
  22. René Goscinny, Henri Gruel, Albert Uderzo and Pierre Watrin (directors). (1976). The Twelve Tasks of Asterix. [Animated film]. Dargaud Films / Les Film René Goscinny / Studios Idéfix. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072901/fullcredits. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
  23. Business Editors (2002-01-10). "CINAR Continues Restructuring Program, Louis Fournier Rejoins Company as Head of Distribution". Business Wire. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  24. "Profile of Dominique Mendel". Spectra Animation. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  25. "History of Spectra". L’Équipe Spectra. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  26. "Information on composer Daniel Scott (under "Credits")" (Flash required) (in English/French). danielscott.net. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  27. "Film and Series". danielscott.net (accessed at the Internet Archive). c. 2001. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 Eagle, Linda (2003). "Review of The Bellflower Bunnies, Vol. 1". Dove Foundation. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 Eagle, Linda (2003). "Review of The Bellflower Bunnies, Vol. 2". Dove Foundation. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  30. "Broadcast information for "Le déménagement"" (in French). Institut National de l'Audiovisuel. 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  31. "Broadcast information for "Carnaval"" (in French). Institut National de l'Audiovisuel. 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  32. "Broadcast information for "Vive la glisse"" (in French). Institut National de l'Audiovisuel. 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  33. "Broadcast information for "En ballon"" (in French). Institut National de l'Audiovisuel. 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  34. "La Famille Passiflore (2001) product information". DVDfr.com. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  35. "Die Häschenbande, Folge 1 DVD information" (in German). Brandora AG. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  36. 36.0 36.1 "edelkids: Unterhaltungsspaß mit Pettersson und Findus und der Häschenbande" (in German). Brandora AG. 2008-01-17. Retrieved 2008-09-26. DAS „Osterei“ für Kids zum Fest: Die Häschenbande – Folge 1 und Folge 2 brandneu auf DVD! 
  37. "Die Häschenbande, Folge 1 product information". Amazon.de. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  38. ""Knuffel Konijntjes Avonturenbox" product information" (in Dutch). beslist.nl. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  39. ""Knuffel Konijntjes 1 - Verhuizing" product information" (in Dutch). beslist.nl. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  40. ""Knuffel Konijntjes 3" product information" (in Dutch). beslist.nl. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  41. ""Knuffel Konijntjes - Carnaval" product information" (in Dutch). beslist.nl. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  42. ""Knuffel Konijntjes 4" product listing" (in Dutch). VelvetMusic.nl. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  43. 43.0 43.1 "까르르 토끼 친구들 product description" (in Korean). Internaru (인터나루). Retrieved 2008-09-26. 

External links

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