Frances is a children's series produced by the Jim Henson Company and HIT Entertainment that brings the storybook character of Frances, a young badger from the book series by Russell Hoban, to life with the use of digital puppetry.
Each 15-minute episode features a life lesson designed to address the emotional needs of young children. Frances is a celebration of the preschool spirit - with all its dramatic highs and lows. Like many young children, Frances Badger is fun-loving, determined and highly imaginative, expressing herself through original poems and songs. Joining Frances in her daily adventures are her little sister, Gloria, her mom and dad, and her best friend Albert.
The series, adapted from the storybook series by Russell Hoban, was developed and produced by Alex Rockwell and Halle Stanford. Alex Rockwell, co-writer and producer on the series with Judy Rothman Rofé, commented on the development in a 2008 interview, stating:
Six 15-minute episodes were produced. The series premiered on June 20, 2008 on PBS Kids Sprout, as part of the channel's "Summer Fun Fridays" programming block. Additionally, the entire series was slated be released on DVD in 2009 with two single-disc releases. The first DVD, Bedtime for Frances, was released in March 2009 and a second release was planned for October of that year, but was never issued.
See the Frances episodes category on the Henson Digital Performance System Wiki.
The show used the Henson Digital Performance System, which allows puppeteers to control computer generated characters in real-time. Unlike traditional computer animation, the show uses computer puppetry to bring the characters to life. Brian Henson, director of the Frances pilot, discussed the process in a radio interview:
Post production was undertaken at the London Creature Shop under the VFX Supervision of Stephen Coren and Animation Director, Mak Wilson. This entailed motion capture clean-up, additional animation and lighting, texturing and rendering.
A DVD of the series, Bedtime for Frances, was released in a "DVD & book collection" on March 31, 2009. The DVD included three episodes of the series ("A Whiny Sister for Frances", "A Cupcake for Frances", and "Bedtime for Frances"), plus an interactive read-along and a character gallery. The disc comes bundled with Russell Hoban's original storybook "Bedtime for Frances".
- Frances: Jessica DiCicco / Kristen Charney / Martin Klebba
- Albert: Julianne Buescher / Arturo Gil
- Gloria: Julianne Buescher / Michelan Sisti
- Father Badger: Bruce Lanoil / Tony Prince
- Mother Badger: Leslie Carrara-Rudolph / Nameer El-Kadi