Published 31st January 2024

Aardman secures new partners for third party shows

Aardman has closed several sales worldwide for third party shows Pop Paper City (52 x 11') and Interstellar Ella (52 x 11’). 

Produced by LoveLove Films, and supported by the BFI's Young Audiences Contend Fund, the unique adventure craft series Pop Paper City launched on Channel 5’s pre-school strand, Milkshake! last year where it is now airing daily.  New partners launching throughout 2024 include ABC (Australia), Hop! (Israel), S4C (Wales), YLE (Finland), Ceska Televize (Czech Republic), LTV (Latvia) , ERT (Greece), MBC3 & ShahidVIP (MENA), Warner Bros Discovery (LATAM), NPO (Netherlands), Super3-3cat (Spain), Daekyo (South Korea), with more partnership conversations underway with a view to close during the Kidscreen Summit in February. 

Pop Paper City, which already holds a Royal Television Society award for Best Short-Form Production, is also nominated at the prestigious Broadcast Awards for Best Preschool Programme.   

The series entertains pre-school audiences through its engaging stories, with craft activities embedded within each episode. At its core is a ‘Doing as well as viewing’ ethos which inspires children to actively participate in the series and connect with the adventure storylines in the ‘paper’ world, from going on safari, to underwater adventures and exploring space. 

Georgina Hurcombe, the creator of Pop Paper City, said: "I envisioned a series that deeply engages the creativity of children and their families, a vision affirmed by the raft of beautiful artworks and home-made crafts pouring into our broadcasting partners’ studios. It’s heartwarming to see!” 

The resounding success of Pop Paper City has sparked licensing interest, with the goal of expanding the brand merchandise, games and publishing realms throughout 2024.  

Aardman is also enjoying much success with the distribution of Interstellar Ella, a 52 x 11’ CGI animated series aimed at 4–7-year-olds, from co-producers Fabrique Fantastique (Belgium) and Apartment 11 (Canada). The series follows 8-year-old Ella Ryder and her friends on their exciting adventures in space, where they discover as much about themselves as they do about planets and stars. The series, created by Adam Long, aims to familiarise kids and their parents with basic astronomy, as Ella and her friends are progressively introduced to planets, their moons, and galaxies beyond, in adventure stories for the bridge audience, that capture the inherent wonder we have all have for space.  

The series was commissioned in 2021 by VRT Ketnet TV (Belgium), Knowledge Kids, Société Radio-Canada, TFO, TVOkids (all Canada). Deals have since been secured with Warner Bros Discovery ‘s HBO Max and Cartoonito (EMEA) ITVX (UK), SVT (Sweden), NRK (Norway), YLE (Finland), DR (Denmark), NPO (Netherlands), ABC (Australia), Warner Bros Discovery (LATAM and Asia), Hop! (Israel), and Daekyo (South Korea), with more partners to be announced soon.   

Tim Verschure, Chief Commercial Officer at Fabrique Fantastique, comments: "Interstellar Ella not only takes young minds on a cosmic journey filled with wonder and friendship, it also propels its unique universe beyond the screen - from books, to a mesmerizing do-expo, and a musical crescendo. Preparations are also underway for series 2. We are on a path to expand Ella's odyssey into a constellation of possibilities. In the galaxy of children's entertainment, Interstellar Ella shines bright, sparking curiosity, and igniting dreams across the world."  

Aardman will also launch content from Pop Paper City and Interstellar Ella through the studio’s own newly established pre-school YouTube channel, Timmy & Friends that already has over 1.8 million subscribers.   

Robin Gladman, Head of Acquisitions at Aardman, said: “We are a boutique distributor and bring select third party IP to sit alongside our own brands. These IP share Aardman values of quality and originality, with humour as a core theme. Both Pop Paper City and Interstellar Ella meet these criteria perfectly, and our distribution team all work meticulously to find the right home for these shows, around the world, to set our brilliant studio partners on a path to build new brands”.