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The Wild House
UK, BBC, Children's sitcom, Colour, 1997
Starring: Ellie Beaven, Honeysuckle Weeks, Peter Kelly

A smart and cute serialised children's series, set in the home of the crazy Wild family: parents and three precocious children.

Taking centre-stage is Natalie, a clever and articulate 13-year-old making the transition from childish concerns to teenage woes - worrying about clothes, boyfriends and all that. With his obsession about wildlife, Natalie's ten-year-old brother Arthur (nicknamed 'Wart') seems intent on becoming the next David Attenborough; sister Serena, 16, just wants a boyfriend. Mum and Dad have (in the stories) less to do than their offspring but, at various times, all of the Wilds (even the dog) speak directly to the camera, commenting upon their lives while random dream-like images are projected behind them.

By the start of the second series Serena has left for Boston on a science scholarship, and several episodes later Mum and Dad join her in the USA, leaving the rest of the clan to be looked after by aunts, uncles and a granny. Cousin Georgina, a feisty 16-year-old, also moves in. In the finale, the rest of the Wild clan prepared to move Stateside.

*Notes. This actor was credited as Peter Kelly in the first series and Peter Kin Kelly thereafter.

Shortly after the last episode of The Wild House, principal writer Jean Buchanan unveiled Welcome to Orty-Fou, a similarly-themed ITV children's series - though this time more of a light-drama than a comedy - based around a slightly eccentric family and seen, again, from the viewpoint of a female child speaking directly to camera. There were two seven-episode series: 21 September-2 November 1999 and 12 September-24 October 2000.

Ellie Beaven - Natalie Wild
Honeysuckle Weeks - Serena Wild (series 1 & 2)
Peter Kelly - Arthur Wild
Annette Ekblom - Mrs Wild (series 1 & 2)
Philip Bird - Mr Wild (series 1 & 2)
Meg Johnson - Aunt Yvette (series 2 & 3)
Doreen Mantle - Granny (series 2 & 3)
Catherine Bailey - Georgina (series 2 & 3)
Tilly Gerrard - Emily (series 2 & 3)
Holly Lambert - Annie Smerdon (series 2 & 3)
John Glynn - Matt (series 2 & 3)
Richard Burke - Dave (series 3)
David Blair - Gavin (series 3)
Jonathan Barlow - Uncle George (series 3)
Susan Edmonstone - Aunt Penny (series 3)

Jean Buchanan - Writer (23)
Andy Watts - Writer (6)
Mark Haddon - Writer (3)
Philip Gerard - Writer (2)
Sarah Louise Hawkins - Writer (2)
Philip Gerard - Writer (2)
Yvonne Coppard - Additional Material (24)
Mark Haddon - Additional Material (24)
Yvonne Coppard - Additional Material (13)
John Smith - Director (25)
Roger Singleton-Turner - Director (12)
Roz Anderson - Producer (13
Marilyn Fox - Producer (12)
John Smith - Producer (12)
Transmission Details
Number of episodes: 37 Length: 25 mins
Series One (12) 8 Jan-26 Mar 1997, BBC1 Wed 4.35pm
Series Two (12) 7 Jan-25 Mar 1998, BBC1 Wed 4.35pm
Series Three (13) 6 Jan-31 Mar 1999, BBC1 Wed 4.35pm
Review by Mark Lewisohn.
Reviews supplied by Radio Times 2003 BBC Worldwide - used under licence from BBC Worldwide.

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