BBC Ignite BBC Ignite

BBC Children’s and Education has unveiled three projects from its Ignite program that will continue their development and, if financing can be raised, go into production for eventual broadcast on the network.

The Ignite program was launched in July 2021 to identify “fresh, bold, innovative” children’s animation projects, and to support and develop existing and emerging talent in the U.K. animation industry. An open call went out to established indie production companies, in-house BBC employees, and individual artists who were looking to develop original ideas. The BBC eventually received more than 1,000 ideas.

The three projects unveiled today participated in an 18-month development process in which they worked with BBC professionals who helped them recruit additional writers, designers, script editors, consultants, and development production partners. According to the broadcaster, the goal now is to secure additional investment from third parties and begin production on all three shows, which would then air on the BBC sometime in the future.

BBC Director of Children’s & Education Patricia Hidalgo said in a release: “Ignite called for ideas from across the UK, the response was overwhelming, and it has not been easy to decide which projects to take forward. The reason we chose these three is because they all have a clear sense of the audience they are trying to target and a strong creative vision. The ideas, stories, and characters felt truly British and very original but they hold a sense of the familiar which is what usually makes a show successful amongst kids.”

Duck and Frog, Sam Shaw

  • Produced by Sun & Moon, this dialogue-free slapstick comedy series is aimed at kids between 7 and 12 years old. In each episode, Duck tries and inevitably fails a new job, creating the need to start over again in the next episode.
  • Said Shaw, “I’ve loved every second of bringing these characters to life through Ignite and the idea I could get to keep doing that a bit longer is amazing.”
Duck and Frog

The Underglow, Tanya Scott and Sam Morrison

  • Inclusion and diversity are the key themes in this 2d animated preschool series. Set in a nocturnal world, the show features brightly colored characters that are constantly reinventing seemingly forgotten objects they find in the wild.
  • According to Morrison, “The Underglow’s heart is really about valuing the component parts of our world, from the environment to the artifacts to the people. We want it to be timeless but also timely in terms of what it represents. I hope we get to bring it to the screen.”

Captain Onion’s Bouyant Academy for Wayward Youth, Matthew Bradley (Alt Animation)

  • Another 2d show for kids 7-12, this series unspools on a boat-based boarding school where Marvin quickly learns that the problems on Unsinkable II are best faced with friends by his side.
  • According to Bradley, “We hope that when people see Captain Onion’s Buoyant Academy For Wayward Youth they’re as excited about it as we are.”
Captain Onion’s Bouyant Academy for Wayward Youth

Pictured at top: Duck and Frog, The Underglow, Captain Onion’s Bouyant Academy for Wayward Youth

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