BROADCASTERS Nick Jr. UK and RTÉjr have signed-up Puffin Rock, a new animated children’s TV series, co-produced by Londonderry firm Dog Ears. The co-producers – Cartoon Saloon, global publisher Penguin, and Dog Ears – are delighted to announce that the series will be broadcast by Nick Jr. in the UK and RTÉjr in Ireland, and narrated by Chris O’Dowd.
Listen (above) to Dog Ears creative director John McDaid talking on local radio this morning (September 23).
Production will commence in September 2013 and delivery will begin in October 2014.
Dog Ears is a Londondrry-based company and will be setting up a new animation studio in the heart of the city.
Dog Ears will produce 50 per cent of the animation, as well as all the scripting, voices and music recording for the Puffin Rock series.
The Dog Ears team is currently at Cartoon Forum in Toulouse pitching the series to European broadcasters and will soon start the process of recruiting animators and voice actors for the series.
Music for Puffin Rock will be composed by local independent label, Smalltown America, who will use the best Irish musical talent to score the series.
Laura Campbell, Editorial Director, Dog Ears, said: “The Dog Ears team is delighted to have Nick Jr UK and RTE Jr on board for Puffin Rock. Since setting up our company in 2010, we have put all our efforts into creating projects that have an international, commercial appeal.
“We have had enormous support to get us to this point and secure such major broadcasters. We’re really excited about starting production with our co-production partners, Cartoon Saloon and Penguin, who both have fantastic reputations for creating beautiful children’s stories and animation. It’s brilliant to be able to announce more good news from the UK City of Culture and we look forward to showcasing the talent that exists in the city. We’ll be putting out a call soon for voice talent, so, people of Derry – start practising your puffin ‘SQUAAAWWKKK!’”
Pip, an adventure-loving young puffling, and the hero of the show, explores the island with her little brother Baba – making friends, hunting for food and trying to stay off the dinner menu!
The TV series will feature 39 seven-minute episodes and Penguin will produce digital and physical format books, and products, to accompany it.
As narrator, Chris O’Dowd (of Bridesmaids, Moone Boy and The IT Crowd fame) mixes amusing observations with interesting facts about the wildlife on the island.
O’Dowd is excited about his first foray into children’s TV: “I love the whole idea behind Puffin Rock and the style of the artwork. I can’t wait to be involved in it, but then I do love anything with Puffins.”
Tim Patterson, VP, Director of Programming – Nickelodeon UK, said: “Puffin Rock with its beautiful art style and charming storytelling is a perfect complement to the Nick Jr. schedule.
“It is a rich, gorgeous show and I am sure kids and their parents will be drawn into the programme’s beguiling world, but then I do love anything with rocks!”
Pauline Macnamara, Executive Producer, Animation & Independent Commissioning RTÉ Young Peoples Programmes said: “Puffin Rock is a perfect fit for our new pre-school channel RTÉjr.
“We’re delighted to be bringing stories of Irish coastal wildlife and environment to young Irish children through the world of Pip, Baba and friends.
“We’re also excited about the creative talents Dog Ears and Cartoon Saloon have drawn together for this project. It bodes well for a very magical series which will capture the imaginations of children everywhere.’
Francesca Dow, Managing Director, Penguin Children’s Division said: “Penguin Children’s are excited to be bringing our experience of developing classic brands to creating and investing in brand new IP. At Penguin we are experts at storytelling and we love the story and the look and the feel of the characters in Puffin Rock. Of course, the fact that the show is all about baby Puffins also made this an even more appealing project for us. We are thrilled to be working with Chris O’Dowd and to have Nick Jr. UK and RTÉ jr on board as broadcasters.”
Paul Young said: “RTÉjr and Nick Jr. are the perfect broadcasting partners for Puffin Rock, so we are delighted to add Pauline Macnamara, Tim Patterson and their teams to our production. Cartoon Saloon has worked with Chris O’Dowd on his show Moone Boy, so we’re very excited to be able to bring his unique sense of humour and charming voice to Puffin Rock. And we’re so happy to be working with the Dog Ears team – they’re doing great stuff up in Derry. ’