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Norfolk Terriers

Aliases: Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk Terrier For Sale

A Book And Television Series About a Norfolk Terrier

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Tags: Norfolk Terrier, Famous

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Hounds are seen in cartoons playing detectives and cowboys, Dobermans get to be cops in the movies and wolves are seen wearing Zoot suits, twirling a pocket watch on its chain and whistling at ladies passing by. If every dog breed has a place in fiction, it seems natural that the famous bravery of the Norfolk terrier would eventually land one of them in an adventure story, so there's no surprise that when Allan Ahlberg wrote Woof!, a charming juvenile adventure novel (with a catchy title) about a young man who turns into a dog and goes on daring adventures, Ahlberg chose to cast the Norfolk terrier in the role of the hero's canine counterpart. In 1989, the book was adapted into a BBC television series that successfully ran for seven years thanks to its imaginative premise, exciting situations and capable artistry. The series had an undeniable appeal to the ten to fourteen demographic, which supported it in spite of regular cast changes.

Impressively, every single episode of the show was capably directed by David Cobham (prior to Woof!, Cobham had been most well known for Tarka the Otter). Normally, a television series has a revolving team of directors collaborating with a producer who provides the singular, binding vision. Regularly directing a series is quite an endurance test for any director, and to do so for seven years is nearly unheard of. Also contributing to consistency in the show's tone and style, the entire series had been written by the team of Richard Fegen and Andrew Norriss.

The protagonist, Eric Banks, was first played in human and dog form respectively by Edward Fidoe and Pippin (interesting note, Pippin was the son of a dog who'd made his name playing Benji and had also starred in the BBC Children's series Come Outside). The show would eventually replace Banks with a new hero, Rex Thomas, played by Adam Roper, and Pippin would be followed by Punch and finally Tinka. All dogs on the show had been trained by Ann Head.

The fact that the show required actors between the ages of ten and fourteen, when growth spurts are their most noticeable and extreme, is probably why the show had an ever changing group of actors playing the hero and his friends. Admirably, the changes in cast were always explained in the story, Cobham and his writers didn't just 'hope nobody would notice', like some sitcoms become notorious for. Eventually, the only cast member who had lasted from the first episode to the last, in 1996, was Liza Goddard, who'd played Mrs. Jessop, the school teacher of both protagonists. Her character more than any other served as a sort of bridge, connecting the first and second generation of the show.

While it may seem obscure, the show and book have actually left a lasting impression on juvenile fiction and entertainment. Around the same time the show was cancelled, a similar series came out in the US entitled Animorphs, an adventure show about young teen heroes who turn into animals to take advantage of their heightened senses and unique animal abilities and better handle dangerous situations.


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