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The Wild House

The Wild House was a serialised children's programme produced between 1997 and 1999 broadcast by the CBBC.

The idea was created by Jean Buchanan, and later series were written partially by Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. It follows the life of Natalie Wild (played by Ellie Beaven) and the other members of the Wild family.

Information

The Wild House, while a reference to the family surname, also gives an apt description of the impression of the family. Natalie, who seems the 'normal' member of the family, is the character around which the show centres. The show is notable for its frequent use of soliloquy by, at various times, all of the Wilds (even the dog, Jasper). They speak directly to the camera, commenting upon their lives while dream-like images are projected behind them.

By the second series, Serena has left for Boston on a science scholarship. Later in the series, Mr. and Mrs. Wild join her in the USA. The family are now 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.

After the last episode of the series, the principal writer of the series, Jean Buchanan, revealed a new children's television series, Welcome to Orty-Fou. While more of a light drama than a comedy, it is based around an eccentric family, with the same use of soliloquy.

Characters

Natalie Wild

Played by Ellie Beaven, Natalie is the articulate 13-year-old "middle child", whose primary concerns we see in the transition from childhood to teenage years. She is generally the "straight man" in the face of all the absurdities going on around her.

This could be anything from her cousin Georgina moving in, to her grandmother dressing up as a pirate and having a swordfight with somebody.There is at least one episode where a bunch of cats climbs backwards through time to warn her about the dangers of being a vegetarian. The principal cat, Bobby became a series regular and his catchphrase "That's tennis!" was a popular feature. In the penultimate episode, Teresa May had a bit-part playing the school nurse (Rita), who visited the family to treat them for lice.

Serena Wild

Serena (played by Honeysuckle Weeks), 16, is a typical teenager with teenage concerns, most prominently relationships. Her cousin Georgina, who later took her place, had just the same fixation, but was more rebellious and manipulative.

One of Serena's most popular story arcs featured a recurring toast metaphor, where she was constantly having to make decisions between butter and jam. Towards Serena's later episodes, she and Bobby (the principal cat) overcame their longstanding feud and were often seen breakfasting together following the "alarm clock motif".

Arthur Wild

Nicknamed "Wart", Arthur (played by Peter Kelly) is defined by his obsession with wildlife. He is consistently seen with dirt on his clothes and skin presumably from where he has been digging around looking for minibeasts- and seems impervious to this. He has no understanding of his sisters' or cousin's attitudes towards relationships and constantly says "Yuk!" at the slightest reference to them.

He has a friend named Emily who is just as obsessed with animals, but in spite of her being a girl their relationship seems entirely platonic. Only once, in the final episode, did he kiss her, and even then they both said "Yuk" and wiped it away. Aside from this, another frequent saying of his is, "I bet David Attenborough never had this problem".

Mr. & Mrs. Wild

Played respectively by Philip Bird and Annette Ekblom, Mr. and Mrs. Wild take less of the stage than their children. They are, in most respects, both typical, average parents, with the possible exception of Mrs. Wild's using a megaphone whenever she wants to make an announcement.

She is famous for announcing the onset of World War Three, the death of the last living dragon, the mercury poisoning of the mars colonies and the disruption of traffic by an enormous winged beast.

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