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The Wild Thornberrys is an Americanmarker animated television series that aired on Nickelodeon from September 1, 1998 to 2002. It was rerun in the USA on Nickelodeon and occasionally Nicktoons Network until 2007.


The series follows the Thornberrys, as they travel the world in their Communications Vehicle, referred to throughout the show as their "Commvee," looking for rare animals to film. Their youngest child, Eliza, is the main character and has the power to speak to animals because of an encounter with an African shaman. She can speak to the family's pet chimpanzee, who is also her best friend. She travels the world with her family and usually helps animals solve their problems. The show was aired on Nicktoonsters in the UK.

At the beginning of every episode, Eliza recites a monologue, which is then followed by the theme music. It states the basic premise of the show, and provides a brief back story.


The Wild Thornberrys was produced by Klasky Csupo for Nickelodeon. It premiered in September 1998, and was the first Nicktoon to exclusively use 22-minute stories (episodes of other Nicktoons usually featured two 13-minute stories, using 22-minute stories only on occasion).

Broadcast history


Elizabeth "Eliza" Thornberry: Voiced by Lacey Chabert, Eliza is the main character, who (unknown to most) gained the ability to speak with animals after an encounter with an African shaman (as shown in the episode "Gift of Gab"). Eliza is portrayed as a geek by her extensive zoological knowledge and her glasses and braces. She has long red hair that is usually worn in pigtails, and occasionally a ponytail. She almost always wears a yellow dress, though later in the series she sports other clothes. Eliza suffered a serious attack of appendicitis while rock climbing in the Australian outback. Eliza is 15 in the series.
Deborah "Debbie" Thornberry: Voiced by Danielle Harris, Debbie is a typical 17-year-old girl who is Eliza's older sister, interested in music and fashion, and who longs for a normal suburban life though her parents' job deprives her of this. Despite being rough around the edges, she does care for Eliza. She commonly wears an orange camisole, a green jacket, blue jeans (with holes in them) and brown shoes. In "The Wild Thornberrys Movie," she learns Eliza's secret, but if she tells anyone she'll become a baboon. It is shown in the episode "Chew If by Sea" that Debbie suffers from chronic seasickness.
Sir Nigel Thornberry: Voiced by Tim Curry, Nigel is the only child of Radcliffe and Cordelia (since none of his family members said he had any siblings) travels around the world with his family making wildlife documentaries for his own show. He resembles Steve Irwin and David Attenborough, and speaks with an English accent. He somewhat resembles Lt. Col. Algernon Hawthorne in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, played by Terry-Thomas. He is easily excited and is usually calm, even in the face of danger, and his catchphrase is "Smashing!" Nigel was knighted by the Queen of the United Kingdom, and offered a job as a teacher in England. Much to his mother's disapproval, Nigel turned down the Queen's offer. Although he is an expert at the natural world, Nigel is pretty slow when faced with other things.
Lady Marianne Hunter Thornberry: Voiced by Jodi Carlisle, Marianne is Nigel's wife and operates the film camera. Marianne is a strong woman, often the voice of reason, and sometimes loses patience with Nigel. She is usually the one to take on disciplinary duties, forcing Eliza to stay in the confines of the comvee, or forcing Debbie to complete her schoolwork.
Darwin Thornberry: Voiced by Tom Kane, Darwin is a chimpanzee who travels with the family, and a loyal companion and pet to Eliza. He usually wears a regular sleeveless shirt with blue stripes and blue shorts. He speaks with a distinct upper-class British accent. He tries to be the voice of reason to Eliza, however she rarely takes his advice, since he is almost always hesitant to follow her plans. He was found by Eliza, and was the first animal she ever talked to.
Donald Michael "Donnie" Thornberry: Voiced by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and occasionally Justin "Bucket" Hanks, Donnie is a feral boy who (as revealed in the 2001 4-part TV movie, "The Wild Thornberrys: The Origin of Donnie") was raised by orangutans after his real parents were killed by poachers, before the Thornberrys adopted him. He commonly wears a pair of shorts and he loves to eat bees. He talks very wildly and incoherently, though in Rugrats Go Wild, the Wild Thornberrys and Rugrats crossover film, he is revealed to be talking backwards. Donnie is 4, but turns 5 in "The Origin of Donnie."


The Commvee (an abbreviation of "communications vehicle") is a two-story mobile home; the main door leads up a flight of stairs to a main floor with the driver and passenger seat in the front, followed by a table for eating at on the west side of the car, a kitchen type counter at the eastern side, and a bathroom in the back. There is a "basement/1st floor" that contains one room with a big bed for Nigel and Marianne, a room with a small bed (for Debbie) and two hammocks for Eliza and Darwin, and then in the hall a hammock for Donnie. There is also a small box near the floor of the "main story" that contains various switches which can inflate a raft for crossing rivers and the ocean to a "lock-down" mode in which iron plates cover the windows (as seen in Thornberry Island) for typhoons; there are other switches that can put the car into a submarine mode, or inflate a bag on top of the car for falling objects or rising to the surface of the ocean. There is also a roof with a satellite that barely ever gets reception, but is used to upload footage to the foundation. On the outside there are many compartments, supposedly for carrying equipment and other smaller vehicles such as the 'mini-comm' for short-range transport or picking up passengers and returning them to camp or the submarine for deep sea expedition (the bat-o-sphere).

They also have a variety of cameras with which they film.

Eliza's Speaking Animals


Season Ep # First Airdate Last Airdate
Season 1 20 September 1, 1998 April 1, 1999
Season 2 37 August 16, 1999 March 27, 2000
Season 3 20 September 12, 2000 May 14, 2001
Season 4 14 August 18, 2001 June 11, 2004


Three movies have been released:


External links

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