King Rollo Kingdom Divided

U.K. animation house King Rollo Films is undergoing a major restructuring. The company’s production arm, King Rollo Films Ltd., and its property management division, Rollo Rights Ltd., have historically been jointly owned by the same three partners’original founder and renowned children’s writer/illustrator David McKee, producer Clive Juster and animation director Leo Nielsen. Now the two branches are to become completely independent.

The split sees Nielsen assume ownership of the production company while Juster and McKee jointly own Rollo Rights, with Juster serving as managing director.

Juster comments, “The intellectual property and secondary rights side of the business has never been fully exploited because our focus has always been on film production. Now it will get my undivided attention and I look forward immensely to this new challenge.”

King Roll Films has been in operation since its signature series, King Rollo, went into production in 1979. The company has just completed Wide Eye (26×10) for Abbey Home Media and the BBC, a second season of the flagship series Paz (28×5) for Discovery Kids and Telescreen, and a third series of animated stories for Fimbles producer Novel Ent. and the BBC.

Nielsen will continue with new production at the company’s Honiton studio while Rollo Rights will operate at a new facility closer to Juster’s home. Rollo Rights owns or controls in varying degrees a portfolio of properties including Mr. Benn, King Rollo, Victor and Maria, Towser, Watt the Devil, Art, Ric and Dr Xargle,

The first project under the revised arrangement is a new episode of Mr. Benn, which Juster and McKee are producing in association with Nickelodeon U.K. Naturally, King Rollo Films Ltd. will handle animation.