Screen legend George Takei has joined some of the finest actors and voiceover talents in the U.K. for Love Monster, a new 54 x 7’ 2D-animated series from BBC Children’s, Boat Rocker Studios and UYoung. Based on the award-winning books by British author-illustrator Rachel Bright (HarperCollins Children’s), the show is set to debut on CBeebies in January.
The voice cast features George Takei (Star Trek, Heroes) as Elder Panda, narrator Tamsin Greig (Friday Night Dinner, Episodes, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Javone Prince (The Javone Prince Show, PhoneShop) as Bad Idea Puppy, Sarah Hadland (Miranda, The Job Lot, Bob the Builder) as Tiniest Fluffiest Bunny, Lewis Macleod (Dead Ringers, Newzoids, Postman Pat) as Elder Kitten/Dr. G. Piggles, Freya Parker (The Mash Report, Lovesick) as the In-Chicks/Delivery Duckling and Emma Maclennan (Maleficent 2: Mistress of Evil) as Book Cub, while actor, comedian and beatbox artist Darren Foreman uses his incredible vocal skills to bring the titular Love Monster to life.
“Love Monster is a fantastically engaging character who has been great fun to play. He may look a little bit odd but his heart is in the right place, and when he’s brave enough to follow it, he realises that he can always rely on the help of his friends,” said Foreman.
Showcasing the importance of kindness, empathy, connection and instinct, the wonderfully warm and witty adventures follow hairy hero Love Monster, as he navigates the challenges of being the only monster in Fluffytown – a world of cute baby animals. With a lot of help from his friends, Love Monster learns to follow his heart rather than his slightly “over-thinky” head, as he searches for the right thing to do.
“Love Monster celebrates inclusive behavior and collaboration and that’s also very much my philosophy – we find strength, joy and vitality in diversity coming together,” said Takei. “I never imagined myself being a panda but I’ve always enjoyed seeing them, especially the young cubs because they’re so cute! Elder Panda is just an older version of them and is still whimsical, fun-loving and life embracing – I suppose it’s a reflection of my standing in human life!”
Greig, the show’s narrator, said, “Love Monster has a wonderful warmth and empathy to it. The series shows that by embracing our differences and helping each other, we can make things better for everyone, a particularly valuable lesson for children in today’s world.”
A ground-breaking collaboration between BBC Children’s in-house Productions, Boat Rocker Studios and Chinese production company UYoung, Love Monster is exec produced by Tony Reed for the BBC, Chapman Maddox for Boat Rocker and James Chen Gu for UYoung. Animation for the series is being produced in the U.K. by Karrot Animation and A Productions, with a proportion of pre-production on scripts, storyboards and design provided by UYoung’s studio in China.
“We’re thrilled to have such a wonderful cast bringing the residents of Fluffytown to life with such wit and warmth. They lend the perfect balance of comedy and compassion to Love Monster’s colorful and funny adventures,” said Reed, Genre Lead for BBC Children’s Animation & Puppetry. “These characters are funny, diverse and inclusive — all the values CBeebies holds dear to its heart.”
Bob Higgins, EVP Content, Kids & Family, Boat Rocker Studios, said, “We are really excited to have such a stellar cast on board. They are the perfect ensemble to bring Fluffytown’s menagerie of inhabitants to life. They bring a wonderful mix of silliness, surprise and sophistication to every episode.”
Boat Rocker Studios will distribute Love Monster and manage the global brand and licensing excluding China and Southeast Asia, which will be managed by UYoung. Boat Rocker Studios is currently targeting leading licensees across a range of products/categories.