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Stirling animator and Manchester Animation Festival hit among latest BBC Children’s animated commissions

Stirling animation house Wild Child Animation is among the co-producers of Piripenguins, a brand new children’s animated series about a cheerful, funny colony of penguins enjoying life to the fullest on a remote iceberg.

The show is among the latest commissions from BBC Children’s and Education, which today announced its latest animation commissions for CBeebies, CBBC and BBC iPlayer.

Piripenguins is made by Eaglet Films, with international co-production partners RAI and Red Monk Studio and in partnership with Wild Child. Eaglet Films are the team behind family favourite animated boxset Quentin Blake’s Box of Treasures for CBBC. Massimo Fenati is the series director for Eaglet with Tess Cuming executive producing and the commissioning editor for CBeebies is Beth Gardiner.

Creator and series director Massimo Fenati said: “This project is very dear to my heart so I’m tremendously excited to be working on it. One day years ago I randomly sketched a little penguin on a sticky note and since then I’ve been dreaming of bringing to life what has now become the very blueprint of the Piripenguins, so I’m hugely grateful to the BBC and Rai for making that possible.”

Also among the new commissions announced today is the first commission from the BBC’s Ignite animation programme, Sam Shaw’s Duck and Frog, which was one of the projects that was chosen to take forward from Ignite. It becomes the first Ignite commission to go into production after Mediawan Kids & Family, a branch of French media company Mediawan, the European independent production and distribution company, came on board as a co-producer.

Duck and Frog, which was a breakout star of the Industry Day at November 2022’s Manchester Animation Festival, is a 50×7′ series aimed at 7-12 year-olds and the production company is Sun & Moon. The series is a dialogue-free slapstick comedy with a modern British setting and an energetic, anarchic sense of humour. Duck is just trying to make rent and accepts a new job each episode but his dreams of keeping a job for longer than a day inevitably crumble before him thanks to over-bearing Frog’s ‘help’ and interventions.

Shaw said when his project made it through the final three of the inaugural Ignite programme: “I have no idea what to say. But thanks to everyone at the BBC and Sun & Moon for letting me draw silly ducks all the time.”

Ignite was launched three years ago by BBC Children’s and Education as an initiative to develop UK animation and find ideas anchored in British culture. A second round of Ignite was launched in November last year with a new search for the best animation talent the UK has on offer. It received over 1600 entries and after the final selection stage, up to 15 will enter the Ignite 2 scheme next month.

In addition, CBeebies has commissioned a further two brand-new animations, Beddybyes and Piggy Builders, which blend imaginative storytelling with high-quality animation techniques that bring families together by engaging and entertaining.

From soothing bedtime journeys to lively comedy, to themes of creativity, teamwork and personal growth, the latest commissions emphasise CBeebies’ commitment to delighting and surprising its pre-school audience, in partnership with indies across the UK and internationally.

Patricia Hidalgo, director of BBC Children’s and Education, said: “These brilliant titles each bring something unique to young audiences across CBBC and CBeebies and we’re pleased to be working with such talented partners both in the UK and internationally to bring our animation strategy to life. Whether it is through our Ignite Animation partnership or our commissions, we constantly strive to deliver content we know our audiences will love and we’ve brought plenty of joy to audiences across the years with animated hits. It’s a real pleasure to announce even more vibrant, imaginative and enriching animations that will bring families together.”

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