Hilltop Hospital

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Hilltop Hospital TV Poster Image
Animal hospital show about problem solving and empathy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

It teaches lessons about problem solving. It also demystifies some of what hospitals and hospital procedures do and why in a way that kids can understand. 

Positive Messages

Medical training is important, but so is kindness, empathy, and willingness to listen to patients. The cooperation of patients is also important. 

Positive Role Models

The doctors and nurses want to help their patients as much as possible, but don't always listen to each other. 

Violence & Scariness

Patients are sometimes injured, unconscious, or scared. Needles are visible and used quickly to draw blood, but there’s little blood or wounds visible. Patients are cured or made more comfortable during recovery. 

Sexy Stuff

There are moments that mildly suggest some potential love interests between cast members.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Medicines and treatments are administered under the careful direction of doctors and nurses. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hilltop Hospital is a claymation-style animated series about an animal medical staff and their patients. The stories are sweet, the characters are fun, and there are lots of positive messages about the medical profession, problem solving, and kindness. Sensitive kids might be troubled by moments of medical distress, including patients with injuries, or unconscious and wearing oxygen masks, and the quick use of needles. However, as the medical process is demystified, their fears will be allayed. There are some very innocent expressions of potential romantic interests among some of the cast, but most kids won't notice. 

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What's the story?

Adapted from a book series of the same name, HILLTOP HOSPITAL (1999-2001) is a claymation children’s t.v. show featuring a hospital where an animal medical staff treats young animal patients. Dr. Matthews (Kevin Whately) is a dog who wants to help his patients while impressing hippo Surgeon Sally (Celia Imrie). While she has little time for the doctor, Nurse Kitty (Sally Ann Marsh) does a top notch job of assisting him. The team’s anesthesiologist, a gentle and wise tortoise named Dr. Atticus (Brian Murphy), often naps when he’s not on call. Meanwhile, lab rats Clare and Arthur (Julie Higginson and Jonathan Kydd respectively) are ready to provide technical and laboratory support,  Joining them are Ted and Ted (both played by Paul Shane), two bears who drive the ambulance. From trying to understand why a snake’s skin is uncomfortably dry, to helping a young elephant who is having a severe allergic reaction to peanuts, the top-notch medical team does what it can to help their patients. 

Is it any good?

This entertaining series combines soap opera-like drama with bits of dry British humor to create pre-school oriented storylines that demystify hospitals and treatments. These narratives also feature doctors and nurses problem solve by listening and talking to patients, in addition to relying on modern medicine. There are some humorous parallels to adult soap operas (like dramatic music), but the suggestions of potential romantic interests between cast members will completely fly over the heads of children. However, some of the medical events (like seeing an unconscious young elephant wearing an oxygen mask and having blood drawn), might be a little distressing to more sensitive viewers. But overall, Hilltop Hospital is a smart and enjoyable series for kids who like to play doctors and nurses, or who aspire to be one or the other.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it's like to go to the hospital. Does it seem scary? Why? What things can be done to make the experience more positive?

  • What does Hilltop Hospital teach us about finding solutions to problems? What kinds of things do the doctors and nurses do to determine how best to help their patients? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love preschool fun

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

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