Belfast Telegraph

Derry team's Puffin Rock TV series snapped up

Team behind children's show Puffin Rock in talent hunt

By Lesley Houston

A Londonderry company is among the creators of a new children's show featuring the dulcet tones of latest Irish Hollywood favourite Chris O'Dowd.

O'Dowd, star of Bridesmaids, Moone Boy and The IT Crowd, narrates Puffin Rock which will come to TV screens through Nick Jnr and RTE Jr in 2015.

Derry's children's media company Dog Ears has joined the team behind the new animated show alongside Oscar-nominated Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon and global publisher Penguin.

It is also preparing to start the process of recruiting animators and is calling on children aged five to nine years of age to audition to provide the voices of the lead characters.

The team is even casting its net further afield to Europe with pitches in process to have the series broadcast worldwide.

Music for Puffin Rock will be composed by independent label Smalltown America, who will use the best Irish musical talent to score the series.

The managing director of Dog Ears, Fionuala Deane, said the firm is set to establish a new animation studio in Derry, which will produce 50% of the animation, as well as all the scripting, voices and music recording for the Puffin Rock series.

"The animation studio had been in our plans but it's come to fruition now quickly," she said.

She said the project investment, shared by all three creative partners, is worth €2.7m (£2.2m).

"It's been a lot of hard work," she added.

"We've known about different elements for this for a while but it's great to be able to now share the news."

Laura Campbell, Dog Ears' editorial director, confirmed the hunt will soon commence for other voice talent to help vocalise the world of Puffin Rock.

She added that the Dog Ears team was delighted to have Nick Jr UK and RTE Jr on board for Puffin Rock.

"Since setting up our company in 2010, we have put all our efforts into creating projects that have an international, commercial appeal," she said.

"We have had enormous support to get us to this point and secure such major broadcasters.

"We're really excited about starting production with our co-production partners, Cartoon Saloon and Penguin, who both have fantastic reputations for creating beautiful children's stories and animation.

"It's brilliant to be able to announce more good news from the UK City of Culture and we look forward to showcasing the talent that exists in the city," she added.

Animation series Puffin Rock is a multi-platform brand that follows the adventures of a family of puffins living on a wild and beautiful Irish island.

50%

Amount of animation to be provided by studio in Londonderry

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