U.K. Broadcast outlets FIVE and Nick Jr. have ordered 52 new episodes of Contender Entertainment Groups animated childrens series, Peppa Pig. Production is scheduled to begin immediately and delivery of the first 26 episodes is slated for the fourth quarter of 2006, followed by the other 26 in Q2 of 2007. The series recently launched in the U.S. on Cartoon Networks new Tickle U preschool block.
Winner of Best TV Production at Annecy 2005, Peppa Pig follows the everyday adventures of a mischievous pig and her family. Other awards garnered by the show include Best Preschool Series and Best European Program of the Year at the 2005 edition of Cartoons on the Bay in Positano, Italy.
The series has been picked up in more than 120 countries and currently airs in more than 90 of those. Since debuting at MIP Jr. in October, it has been snatched up such international broadcasters as ABC in Australia, Canal J in France, TV3 in New Zealand, NRK in Norway, Nickelodeon in Scandinavia, C4U in Korea and SVT in Sweden.
Peppa Pig is the second production for Contender, the first being the hit preschool series Tractor Tom. CelAction 2D is used to animate Peppa in the London studios of series creators Mark Baker and Neville Astley. The duo has been collaborating since 1994 on commercials, title sequences, short films and the award-winning BBC television series The Big Knights. Bakers short films, The Hill Farm, The Village and Jolly Roger, have all been nominated for Oscars, while Astleys short, Trainspotter, was nominated for a BAFTA and won the Edinburgh Festivals McLaren Award. Peppa producer Phil Davies recent credits include the BAFTA nominated Six of One, as well as Donkey Town, Emma 18 and Home.
The Peppa property is also a success at retail, selling more than 100,000 DVDs since its February release in the U.K. In addition, a toyline from master licensor Character Options was launched this past spring and has been a big seller as well. Last month, Lions Gates Family Entertainment acquired the exclusive North American home entertainment rights to the series and plans to release the first title stateside in the fall of 2006.