Fifi and the Flowertots: Snowy Fun Review
If pre-school boys have Bob The Builder, girls have Fifi And The Flowertots, a stop-motion show featuring the little flowertot of the title. She lives in a watering can and shines as brightly as the sun, every day an opportunity to wake with the dawn and go to work in the garden. Planting, digging and weeding Fifi Forget-Me-Not (Jane Horrocks) still finds time for fun and adventure but emerges from the mud still smiling, surrounded by her friends and picking food from her own garden in time for supper. Only the always-hungry Stingo and sidekick Slugsy and their schemes cause Fifi to worry, as does her occasional forgetfulness, but life in Forget-Me-Not cottage is wonderful.
There are five episodes on this disc, each one of which is a little more than ten minutes long with Snowy Fun being the only one that's at all festive. The others feature the bright sunlight that's part and parcel of the Fifi And The Flowertots experience. How else to fit in all the gardening? These episodes begin with Fifi's Snowy Fun in which all the gang are out playing in the snow and sliding on the ice but Primrose refuses to join in, thinking that it's far too cold outside and she might spoil her dress. Stingo's not very happy either. Violet goes on regardless, joining in with Fifi and Pip and making a snow man...or a snow Primrose, which secretly draws her friend outside into the cold, who sees that snow can be rather pretty.
In Flowertots Go Nuts, Fifi wakes up in the night with a banging at her door. Bumble rushes it asking if she's not frightened of all the bumping going on outside. The next morning, the ground is covered in strange rocks. Maybe Webby knows. Bumble Gets A Makeover is next with Bumble wanting to have his house painted and asking Fifi to help. But as he leaves to collect pollen and Fifi drives off to get a couple more paint brushes, Violet and Primrose step in to do the work. Bumble dreams of white walls and a bright red roof but Primrose thinks those colours would make for a lovely pink. And what goes with pink? Ribbons and daisychains, of course!
In Fiddlesticks Fifi, Bumble, on his way back from Poppy's to bring Fifi a new spade to help her plant beans, gets stuck in a flower bush. The smell of pollen drew him in! But when he gets stuck, everyone walking on Flowertot path hears something odd and Pip, Primrose and Aunt Tulip all rush to tell Fifi what they've heard. Will Fifi realise what's happened? Finally, in Pip The Gardener, Pip is an impatient little thing. Rather than plant his own garden, he takes some of Fifi's flowers and puts them in his own part of the garden but they soon look a bit sickly. Fifi gets him to plant some cress, which will only take a few days to grow, but with everyone waiting for cress sandwiches, will Pip be ready to cut down what it is he's grown?
Like Bob The Builder, the first minute or so of Fifi And The Flowertots sets up the story, be it in the garden, in the other houses in the village or on Flowertot path. With something of a villain in the shape of Stingo and the led-astray Slugsy, each episode sees the calm Fifi sort things out amongst friends who are prone to panic. Be it a Stingo desperate for food, the lovestruck Slugsy let down once again by Primrose or Pip finding that his enthusiasm is rather too much for everyone else, Fifi sorts everything out, all before the sun sets and sending all her friends home happy. For pre-school girls, there's very little better on television just like, for boys, there's nothing like the adventures in Bobsville.
With their pedigree from the BBC, who handle children's television on DVD almost better than anyone else, Fifi's Snowy Fun looks very good, anamorphically presented in 1.78:1 and with such bright, rich colours as to be something of a rarity in children's television. The picture is sharp with no signs of any damage and with only fifty minutes of video, the disc is never troubled, keeping up a very high bitrate throughout. The only audio track available is DD2.0 and while there's little obvious separation between the front channels but the dialogue and music both sound very good with little background noise. Like the BBC children's releases, there are English subtitles.
Fifi's Snowy Game asks that the viewer, out of a choice of five, picks just the right power with which to throw a snowball into a flower while Pip The Gardener Sing Along (1m00s) features the little tune from that episode with the message that life keeps growing. Although, you'd have more fun watching the whole episode than this little excerpt.