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The Wild Dewsburys
Format

480i (4:3 SDTV) (2004-2009)
720p (16:9 HDTV) (2010)

No. of episodes

88

Network

Fox Network

Creator(s)

Arlene Klasky
Gabor Csupó
Steve Pepoon
David Silverman
Stephen Sustarsic

Starring

Lacey Chabert
Tom Kane
Flea
Kathryn Cressida (2004-2006)
Danielle Harris (2006-2010)
Jodi Carlisle
Tim Curry

First aired

September 5, 2004

Last aired

July 4, 2010


"The Wild Dewsburys" is an American animated television sitcom that aired on Fox Network from 2004 to 2010. The show aired on Channel 4, E4 and Fox in the United Kingdom. The show is produced by Klasky Csupo and 20th Century Fox Television and was distributed by 20th Television.

Production

The series was designed to have a focus on parents after focus groups run by Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo uncovered that children were talking about the real struggles of the parent-child relationship; this was opposed to Fox's view of only featuring kids in children's programming. Characters were designed to appeal to various demographics: the sarcastic teen for older girls and the jungle boy for younger boys.

Plot

The series focuses around a nomadic family of documentary filmmakers known as the Dewsburys, famous for their televised wildlife studies. It primarily centers on the family's younger daughter Eliza, and her secret gift of being able to communicate with animals, which was bestowed upon her after having rescued a shaman masquerading as a trapped warthog.

The gift enabled her to talk to the Dewsburys' pet chimpanzee Darwin. Together, the pair frequently venture through the wilderness, befriending many species of wild animals along the way or realizing moral truths and lessons through either their experiences or a particular animal species's lifestyle, or simply assisting the creatures, by which they become acquainted, in their difficulties.

Characters

  • Eliza (voiced by Lacey Chabert) is the 12-year-old younger daughter of the Dewsburys. She has red hair in braids, eyeglasses, braces, and freckles. She has four visible teeth connected by two braces. She is able to communicate with animals, especially her pet chimpanzee Darwin. She must keep this gift secret or she will lose her powers.
  • Marianne (voiced by Jodi Carlisle) is Eliza's mother and Nigel's 41-year-old wife, daughter of Frank (Ed Asner) and Sophie Hunter (Betty White). In Season 1, Episode 12, she mentions that she attended the University of California, Berkeley. Marianne is also a scuba diver like Eliza. She wears a wetsuit, mask, fins, and scuba tank with a regulator in Season 3, Episode 17.
  • Nigel (voiced by Tim Curry) is Eliza's father. Sir Nigel Archibald Thornberry KBE is the 41-year-old child of Radcliffe and Cordelia Dewsbury (Lynn Redgrave), an aristocratic British couple. Born in Britain and attended Harrow School in London, he travels around the world with his own family making wildlife documentaries. He may be inspired by Sir David Attenborough and speaks with a nasally RP English accent. He is eccentric, enthusiastic and cheerful, even in the face of danger, and is also known for his exaggerated facial features; specifically, his enormous nose, large bushy moustache, sticking-out ears and prominent front teeth. He was offered a professorship at Oxford University but, much to his mother's disapproval, Nigel turned it down. He is an expert zoologist, as well as naturalist, traveler and survivalist and is quite caring and logical though Nigel often otherwise appears absent minded or naive. 
  • Donnie (voiced by Flea) is a feral boy who is adopted by the Dewsburys. Donald "Donnie" Michael Dewsbury is a feral boy who (as revealed in the 2007 four-part TV movie, "The Wild Dewsburys: The Origin of Donnie") was raised by orangutans in Borneo. His real parents were Michael and Lisa, who were killed after saving two orangutans. This was much to the horror of the orangutan mother and the local villagers who came to know about their deaths. Out of gratitude and love, the mother orangutan took Donnie and raised him as a son. One day, however, she came across the Dewsburys and decided to give Donnie to them so he could have a human family. She watched tearfully along with her son as he was welcomed into their family as their own. It is revealed that the Dewsburys knew his parents before they adopted him, as they had met while Donnie's parents were on their honeymoon. Donnie usually wears a pair of leopard-spotted shorts (similar to Tarzan's leopardskin loincloth) and he loves to eat all types of bugs. He babbles wildly and makes animal-sounds (but nothing Eliza can understand), occasionally spouting bits of English or exhibiting intermittent signs of sophistication. Donnie is 6, turning 7 in "The Origin of Donnie", and it is presumed he does not know what happened to his parents. It is revealed that he was able to pick up sign language from watching his parents teaching it to orangutans. We only see him sign one word (family), and it is unclear how much he knows. Nevertheless, this proves Donnie's intelligence – something which the audience sees further evidence of in a drawing he does of his parents alongside the orangutan family that raised him.
  • Debbie (voiced by Kat Cressida (season 1-2) and Danielle Harris (season 3-5)) is Eliza's 16-year-old older sister. She becomes the only family member to know about Eliza's powers but is later warned that she will be turned into a baboon if she ever tells anyone. Debbie dresses in grungeclothing and sports a distinctive peekaboo hairstyle.
  • Darwin (voiced by Tom Kane) is a chimpanzee. He usually wears a tank top with horizontal blue and white stripes (used to be Debbie's lucky tank top) and blue shorts. He speaks with a distinct upper-class British accent. Even when he is cautious for good reason since Eliza at times tries to foolishly approach and socialize with potentially dangerous animals (lions for example).

Episodes

Main article: List of The Wild Dewsburys episodes

International broadcast

US

UK

  • Channel 4 (2005-2011) (early mornings only)
  • T4 (2005-2010) (only during school holidays)
  • E4 (2005-2011)
  • 4Music (2008-2010) (Saturday nights only)
  • FX (Fox) (2005-2015)

Canada

Australia

France

Germany

  • RTL (2005-2014)

Merchandise

DVDs

  • Season 1 (May 24, 2017)
  • Season 2: Vol 1 (November 16, 2017)
  • Season 2: Vol 2 (November 27, 2018)
  • Season 2: Vol 3 (June 18, 2019)
  • Seasons 4&5 (September 9, 2019)
  • Essential episodes (TBA)
  • The Complete Series (TBA)

Video games

  • Rambler (December 2006) (GBA)
  • Animal Adventures (January 2007) (PS2)

Film


External links

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