"Watership Down," a 1978 animated film about rabbits being brutally killed, was aired by Channel 5 in the U.K. on Easter Sunday (video below).
The cartoon is based on a British novel by Richard Adams in which a group of rabbits attempt to find a new home, but lose members along the way to predators and other rabbits. The violent, bloody adaptation wasn't welcomed by some families on March 27.
The Independent notes that several viewers vented their outrage and sarcasm on Twitter:
"Someone at Channel 5 has a brilliantly twisted sense of humor for putting Watership Down on for Easter Sunday. It's a horrifying film."
"Watership Down: traumatizing children since 1978 #Channel5 #EasterSundayProblems."
"Ah, good to hear Watership Down is still traumatizing generation after generation #BunnyOfDeath #FieldsOfBlood."
Another viewer tweeted, "Can't believe channel 5 playing watership down today for the Easter film... Someone is getting sacked for that choice," notes the Guardian.
Adams told the Telegraph in 2014 about his 1972 novel: "It’s a silly way of putting it, but if I had known earlier how frightfully well I could write, I’d have started earlier.”
Adams came up with the idea while telling his daughters the tale in the 1960s.
“The stories I told in the car had nearly always been shaped and cut and edited by myself for oral narration," he recalled. "When I was lying down to go to sleep in the evening I would think out the bit of story I was going to tell the girls the next day.”
His daughters encouraged him to write a book, but Adams had a hard time finding a publisher.
“I couldn’t bear to take the copy away from the publisher,” Adams added. “My wife Elizabeth used to go and collect the rejected stuff.”
Eventually the book sold, and changed Adams life: "As soon as we sat down he said, 'I like your book and I’d like to publish it.’ This blew a trumpet in my heart.”
Adams was asked if he was aware that he scared his daughters with his rabbit stories, and replied, "I think I was really. Perhaps I didn’t water it down enough.”