Tree Fu Tom

Tree Fu Tom
Developed by CBeebies In House Production, FremantleMedia Enterprises
Written by Daniel Bays, Douglas Wood, Ian Carney, Moya O'Shea, Darren Jones, Allan Plenderleith, Corey Powell, Richard Preddy, John Loy, Sindy McKay, Richard Dinnick
Directed by Adam Shaw
Starring Adam Henderson
Voices of Sophie Aldred, David Tennant, Tim Whitnall, Samantha Dakin, Sharon D Clarke
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 52
Producer(s) Daniel Bays
Running time 22–25 minutes
Original network CBeebies
Original release 5 March 2012 (2012-03-05) – 2 May 2016 (2016-05-02)

Tree Fu Tom is a live-action/CGI CBeebies children's television program which has been shown on BBC and CBeebies in the UK and Sprout and NBC Kids in the USA. It is set in a miniature magical countryside and village area (Treetopolis) on the top of a part of a trunk of a big tree in a British-type woodland, where the trunk turns horizontal and then vertical again. Its characters are mostly anthropomorphized arthropods (which are not to size scale with each other as in reality). The programme is aimed at 2-6 year olds.

In it, some species of insects are raised and controlled like cattle on a ranch: aphids, ladybirds, a rhinoceros beetle.


In each episode, Tom (live-acted) comes out of his house's back door, puts on a power belt, and runs across his lawn into a woodland, barely clearing a bike laid on the grass. In there is the tree with Treetopolis on, protected by a magic shield. Using the power belt he performs some Tree Fu moves, jumps up, shrinks to insect size as he flies into the tree, and enters the world of Treetopolis, where he has adventures. He is skilled in that world's magic, and often gets characters out of scrapes. The tree's sap is shown as a glowing orange magic liquid.

At least twice in each episode, Tom has to call on "the big world" for magical help: breaking the fourth wall, he asks the audience to make magical moves and say magical words to assist the necessary magical actions. The magical power is shown as an orange glow that appears offscreen and flies towards at Tom, who collects it in his arms as a ball of energy, and uses it to complete the spell.

The movements which the audience are called on to make are particularly beneficial for the development of children with developmental coordination disorder.[1]

The scenario includes magical hoverboards (called "leaf boards"), a sport called "Squizzle" and lots of different cakes and snacks that the inhabitants of Treetopolis like to eat!

At the end of each episode, Tom says, "Well, guys, it's time for me to head home. Bye everyone!" and he wishes his friends, and they shouted, "Bye, Tom!" Then he wave goodbye and flies up, and out of the tree's magic field. Back in the normal world, Then tom says to the viewers as he flies up, "Thanks for helping me in Treetopolis. See you soon for another adventure! Bye, for now!" and he reverts to a human boy, lands, runs out of the wood and across his back lawn, jumping over a bicycle lying on the lawn, and in through his back door.

The series's two main voice actors each previously played major roles in Doctor Who; Sophie Aldred (who voices the animated Tom) as Seventh Doctor companion Ace and David Tennant (who voices Twigs) as the Tenth Doctor. The actor who plays Tom in the live action opening and closing sections of the show, Adam Henderson, is Sophie Aldred's son.[2]

The character of Twigs is currently given voice by Actor Mark Bonnar, who has also been in Doctor Who, playing Jimmy and his "ganger" duplicate in the two-parter The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People.


The series was developed in conjunction with the Dyspraxia Foundation with the aim of promoting movement.[1] Foundation specialists Sally Payne[3] and Dr Lynda Foulder-Hughes[4] worked with the series creators to develop the movements Tree Fu Tom uses to create magic. Five percent of children have developmental coordination disorder, and these movements are similar to those used by occupational therapists to help child development. It is also hoped that the spells will help get exercise into the lives of young children.


Tom, the main character. He uses a magical belt to transport into Treetopolis and cast spells with help from the 'big world'. Though he's usually the best at spells, he's a modest character and often has to turn to his friends for advice when things go wrong. Voiced by Sophie Aldred, live actor Adam Henderson.

Twigs, a silly and energetic Scottish Acorn Sprite who is Tom's sidekick and best friend, and frienemy of Chezz, who usually encounters conflict. voiced by David Tennant in the first two series (2012–2013), and Mark Bonnar in the other three (2014–2016).

Zigzoo, an eccentric tree frog who is the local inventor at Treetopolis, though not all of his inventions work out quite as well as he (or others!) hope. Though it has never officially been confessed, certain episodes seem to suggest he may have a crush on Ariela. voiced by Tim Whitnall 2012–2015 David Holt 2016–xxxx.

Squirmtum, a pill woodlouse who is a miner of sap in the caverns and general-purpose workman, and not the most intelligent of creatures. He can curl into a ball, and in that form he can roll fast. He wears a miner's helmet with a firefly called Flicker as his helmet light. Voiced by Tim Whitnall 2012–2015 Duncan Wisbey 2016–xxxx.

Ariela, the alpha female character, a beautiful but feisty butterfly in charge of the Branch Ranch at Treetopolis, generally doesn't accept help from others, and likes to get her own way; but she's always there when her friends need her. She's highly competitive and rather impatient. She appears to have the closest relationship with Zigzoo - whom invents many gadgets for her ranch throughout the episodes. voiced by Samantha Dakin.

Rickety McGlum, an elderly spider of Treetopolis; he used to be thought of as scary, but is now a close friend to Tom and his friends. He is also a Squizzle expert and trainer, and leader of the Tree Fu Rangers. He is also the grandfather of Racquette. Voiced by Tim Whitnall 2012–2015 Duncan Wisbey 2016–xxxx.

Treetog the Tree Spirit, the plump friendly leader of Treetopolis. She also acts as the schoolteacher, teaching the young sprite creatures and Tom traditional tree fu spells. Voiced by Sharon D. Clarke.

The Mushas (Puffy and Stink), sister and brother respectively, forever arguing, and the main antagonists, two naughty animated toadstool-type fungi who cause trouble, though occasionally, Puffy seems to be the true antagonist. voiced by Sophie Aldred and Tim Whitnall 2012–2015 Duncan Wisbey 2016–xxxx.

Sprites including Chezz, Bertie, Hazel, Lavender, Sweetpea and Goose throughout the first series, these were only background characters, but they began to make more frequent appearances in the latter series. Chezz In particular is a very arrogant, badge-obsessed conker sprite with rhoticism, who likes to show off. Despite having mild respect for Tom, Chezz is usually arguing or attempting to compete with Twigs - often teasing him over his smaller size.

Muru, enigmatic, Spanish, praying mantis introduced as part of the new 2016 cast, red magic teacher and friend of Tom. Has a magical stick that is able to rewind and fast forwards time. He uses an extension of tree fu magic (red magic) that allows the user to take on attributes of a big-world animal such as the speed of a cheetah or strength of an elephant. He uses a magic spell stone which has all the animal spells upon it. Voiced by David Holt.

Racquette Troublesome female spiderling with a strong northern accent, and the granddaughter of Rickety. Although she loves and respects her granddad, she wishes he would allow her to adventure, believing him to be dull and overly cautious. She can be quite headstrong, though she usually realises when she makes a mistake. When bored or upset, she begins to spin webs in her hands. Spider's appear to have a web spinning method similar to Spider-Man, from whereby it comes from their wrists. Voiced by Sophie Aldred

Rootle and Shade, shy brother and sister dark sprites that live in the deep root caverns. Were afraid the light would turn them to jelly. Unlike the normal sprites, they lack wings and have snail shells upon their heads. Their ears and eyes are much larger than the other sprites. Rootle has an odd impediment where he switches the first letters of characters names around (Twom and Tigs, Pink and Stuffy, though he does not do this with Shade)


Series 1 (2012)

Series 2 (2013)

Series 3 (2014)

Series 4 (2015)

Series 5 (2016)


  1. 1 2 "Dyspraxia Foundation welcomes innovative CBeebies programme: Tree Fu Tom". Dyspraxia Foundation. Retrieved June 2013. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. "Tree Fu Tom Episode list". David Tennant Radio Plays. Retrieved June 2013. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. Anuji Varma (2012-03-16). "Solihull occupational therapist behind kids' smash hit show Tree Fu Tom". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved June 2013. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. "Children's animation could help dyspraxic kids". SEN Magazine. 6 March 2012. Retrieved June 2013. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
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