Journalist Maria Margaronis interviewed furry fans at a Cambridge Furs meet last month for next week's episode of The Why Factor, a programme exploring "the extraordinary and hidden histories behind everyday objects and actions" through the voices of those involved.
In stories, cartoons, advertisements and our everyday lives, we project human thoughts and emotions onto animals—and claim their strength and style for ourselves in the brand names of cars and cosmetics. Why do we do that, and what do we get out of it? Can we ever know what animals really feel? And are we as different from other species as we like to imagine? Maria Margaronis meets the furry fandom, who put on “fursonas” and cartoonlike animal costumes to meet and socialise. Neuroscientist Bella Williams upends some assumptions about animal brains and explains how to read a mouse’s facial expression; children’s author Michael Rosen sportcasts an insect race. Farmer Helen Reeve reflects on how she feels about eating her own cows. And historian Harriet Ritvo poses a thornier question: what makes our species think we are secure in our dominance over the natural world?
The 18-minute show "Animals Are Us?", which received input from furry artists, fursuiters, fursuit-builders and other fans, is to be broadcast on the BBC World Service on Friday 24 at 18:32 and 23:32 GMT (EDT+4, BST-1), with re-broadcasts on Sunday (21:32) and Monday (04:32, 12:32).
Update (23 April): A four-minute clip featuring several furs is available (transcript below).
Update 2 (24 April): The full episode has been published. There is no additional content featuring furries, but you may find the rest interesting, as it's all about anthropomorphism.
Playing in theaters now (in front of several movies) is the trailer for Walking With Dinosaurs: The Movie, produced by BBC Earth (of course) and coming to theaters this December. Interestingly, the producers are taking a somewhat anthropomorphic angle for this 3D CGI film: It’s actually narrated by the dinosaurs themselves as they go about their daily lives. In this story, we meet a young frill-head dinosaur, who is something of a runt in his herd — but who will grow up to be a great leader who will guide them through a dangerous world. The film is directed by Barry Cook (Mulan, Arthur Christmas) and Neil Nightingale (Enchanted Kingdom). Check out the trailer at Animation Scoop.
The series, described as "Avenue Q meets Family Guy", centred on a troupe of five anthropomorphic animals who hung around the back of a pub on the Isle of Dogs in London.
Limited numbers of tickets are available for tours and previews on 13th, 20th and 27th May. A random draw for the tickets will take place between now and midday on 9th May.
However, Mongrels lost the award for "Tape and Film Editing – Entertainment and Situation Comedy" to Channel 4 sitcom Pete Versus Life.
The series, which revolves around the lives of five anthropomorphic animals who hang around the bin yard of a pub on the Isle of Dogs, London, has been nominated for two awards which are given within the areas of TV production. The winners will be announced on 24th November.
Mongrels sets the tone very early on. The first scene features a pensioner falling down some stairs to her death.
Her pet cat Marion (accent unknown) tries to give her mouth-to-mouth. This proves to be of no avail as the woman has been dead for four months. So, what do Marion’s fellow felines do to their late owner? Simple - they eat her.
From this opening you can tell what kind of audience they are aiming for. Mongrels pushes the boundaries of taste and admittedly at times it is very funny.
Previously known under the title We Are Mongrels, the sitcom revolves around the lives of five wild animals living around the back of an inner city pup.
Last month's online BBC article on furries has been listed on the Ursa Major Awards Recommended Anthropomorphics List.
"Who are the furries?" written by Denise Waterman on 13th November, has been posted on the list, the purposes of which are, "for fans who want to know what anthropomorphic movies, TV series, novels, etc. others found to be worth looking for", and, "to serve as a guide to which items were produced in 2009, to help fans determine what is eligible to nominate for the year’s Ursa Major Awards".
The article, listed in the "Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work" category, covers the main aspects of the fandom and features contributions from several members of the fandom including Fred Patten and FurteanTimes.com editor The Chained Wolf, as well as Kathy Gerbasi who has carried out several studies into the fandom.
The article was well received by most furries. Positive comments came from sites such as Fur Affinity. FurteanTimes.com, which was linked to the original article, experienced a 254% increase in web traffic from the previous week.
Some famous people also commented on the piece. Graham Linehan, the man behind hit sitcoms Father Ted and The IT Crowd wrote on his Twitter account that, "It's like staring into the sun. A sun made of geek. I can only read a bit of it at a time."
However, it is probably unlikely the article will win. No journalistic article has ever won an Ursa Major, and other more established figures are more likely to win.
BBC News, one of the most trusted news providers in the world has written an article describing the furry fandom in it's 'Magazine' mini-site.
The article, similar to an earlier BBC effort, Anna in Wonderland: The Furries, has been seen as a fair and unbiased description of the fandom. It features quotes from a number of furries including TaniDaReal and FurteanTimes' own TheChainedWolf.
Update (November 13, 2009): noodleshusky's original article expanded by AlexGrey.