Sambro and Toikido join forces on Smashlings range

A new range of toys and stationery featuring characters from Toikido’s Piñata Smashlings property will launch in autumn/winter 2024 across EMEA.

SmashlingsGlobal toy and gaming studio Toikido has joined forces with Sambro International to roll out its latest Piñata Smashlings collectibles and toys collection.

Under the new three-year partnership, which was facilitated by Toikido’s licensing representative IMG, Sambro will deliver an extensive range of arts & crafts, stationery, bags and novelty toys. The products, priced between £1.99-£8.99, will be widely available across EMEA territories.

The new range will reflect the core brand DNA of the Smashlings universe and aim to excite children with hidden characters. Some of the key compound products include the Surprise Sand Eggs, Great Tree Crystal Growing Kit, Slurping Smashling, Bash Sand Eggs and Squelchum.

Sambro is also developing a range of stationery backpacks shaped like popular Smashlings characters, filled with a variety of collectible stationery products. Additionally, the company will also deliver an exclusive range of Smashlings Piñata Puzzle Palz, its IP range of collectible puzzle erasers, giving children a chance to build, play and erase while collecting their favourite characters.

With unrivalled expertise in the licensed arts & crafts and collectible novelty toy sector for more than 25 years, Sambro, enjoys longstanding relationships with many top licensors including Disney, Hasbro, Paramount, Mattel and, now, Toikido.

Developed by Toikido, Piñata Smashlings has become one of 2023’s most exciting children’s brands, with a unique and exciting Roblox game, a series of animated shorts, music and a suite of toys, collectibles, plush and play sets, all launching this year.

The success of the Piñataverse comes from integrating digital gaming with physical play, enabling players to collect Smashlings characters both on and off-screen in an ever-growing world.

Will Ochoa, chief commercial officer at Toikido, said: “Our studio’s success has been built on great ideas and talented partners who can bring them to life, which is why we’re so thrilled to be working with Sambro, a company internationally renowned for its award-winning licensed merchandise, and ability to make it accessible in stores globally.”

Will added: “Since its release, Piñata Smashlings is building a global fanbase and is generating much interest in the media, as well as across toy, retail and gaming industries. Today’s announcement will further build on this, and we can’t wait to see how fans of our loveable IP react to all the great products that Sambro has in store for them over the next three years.”

Clare Rix, Brand and Licensing director at Sambro, added: “The teams at IMG and Toikido have been brilliant to work with in getting this deal across the line, and I can’t wait to see our product launch alongside the master toys ranges. We are excited to start working on the franchise and see where team Toikido takes Smashlings, and the programming and marketing support is huge.”

Bluey Series 3 arrives on CBeebies next week

BBC Studios Kids & Family has announced that Series 3 of Bluey will make its UK free-to-air premiere from Monday 27th November.

CBeebies will air the first ten episodes of Series 3 of the Emmy and BAFTA award-winning animated series including Bedroom, Promises and Omelette, with more episodes from Series 3 still to come. This set also features a cameo from Hollywood actress and well-known Bluey fan, Eva Mendes (Hitch), who voices a yoga instructor in Born Yesterday.

Series 3 builds on the first two series with new friends and locations. The new-to-CBeebies episodes include a range of humorous, and sometimes poignant, stories based around family life in the Heeler’s home.

“CBeebies viewers have been eagerly anticipating more episodes of Bluey so we are delighted to bring them some more content to enjoy,” said Henrietta Hurford-Jones, commissioner & executive producer of Bluey for BBC Studios Kids & Family. “Bluey is a global hit, with a rapidly growing fanbase in the UK. We are absolutely thrilled that so many families up and down the country have welcomed the Heelers so warmly into their living rooms and their hearts.”

Bluey Series 1 and 2 are currently available on BBC iPlayer and have been a huge hit with UK fans. Episodes of Bluey have been streamed more than 363m times on BBC iPlayer since its launch on the platform in April 2021.

Bluey is created and written by Joe Brumm and produced by the multiple Emmy Award-winning Ludo Studio for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and BBC Studios Kids & Family.

Bluey showcases the joyful simplicity that can be found in families turning everyday events like going to the shops or visiting the doctor into unique adventures, bringing to life how children learn and grow through play.

BBC Studios Kids & Family also has a global broadcast deal for Bluey with Disney for all territories outside of Australia, New Zealand and China. An extra-long episode of the global TV hit show called The Sign, which is 28 minutes long, will premiere globally next year.

The Ashmolean Museum adds to its licensing collection

The Ashmolean Museum’s licensing programme goes from strength to strength with the addition of five new licensees.

The new licensees who have recently come on board as part of The Asmolean Museum‘s licensing programme are:

  • Atlantic Mats – Atlantic Mats has developed a range of doormats and runners inspired by Ashmolean artefacts such as Iznik tiles and a Jali screen. Atlantic Mats products are made with components including regenerated nylon from waste such as fishing nets and the company has a heavy focus on being a sustainable business.
  • China Petals – China Petals is developing a range of mosaic kits with designs inspired by artefacts from the Ashmolean Museum. The kits come with all the elements needed to complete a project including mosaic tiles, grout and glue. There are three products in the Ashmolean range.
  • Gibson’s Organic Liqueurs – This specialist liqueur company is developing a range of liqueurs using ingredients such as crab apples, joining a growing selection of food and drink licensees. The Ashmolean already works with locally based gin producer The Oxford Artisan Distillery, Hook Norton Brewery and Team Tea, the Oxfordshire based company behind the Ashmolean Tea Blend.
  • Jericho Coffee Traders – based at the heart of Oxford’s High Street in a building that was one of the first coffee houses in the city, the company has teamed up with the Ashmolean to present a special heritage blend. The blend is sold in a tin that features Turner’s painting of Oxford High Street which is part of the Ashmolean’s collection.
  • The Indian Block Print Company – a successful Oxfordshire-based company, The Indian Block Print Company produces exquisite block printing kits. The Ashmolean has a rich collection from South Asia, which is helping to inspire creativity.

Ian Downes from Start Licensing, the Ashmolean’s licensing agency, commented: “It is very satisfying to see these new licensees come on board. They are joining a licensing programme that is enjoying great success both in qualitative and quantitative terms. Existing licensees such as Park London have delivered successful apparel collections across a range of retailers, whilst Graphenstone Paints has picked up a number of industry awards for its Ashmolean paint collection. These new licensees dovetail well with some of the key objectives we have, including working with local Oxfordshire businesses and being proactive where possible around sustainability. It is also great to be working with a number of ‘new to licensing’ companies — they bring fresh thinking and are reaching new market sectors. It also good to see core categories like arts and crafts plus home interiors growing as well.”

Dec McCarthy, head of Publishing & Licensing at The Ashmolean Museum, added: “We are delighted to welcome our new partners to the Ashmolean’s licensing programme. The diversity and creativity is truly inspirational and I feel that we are finding many inventive ways to showcase the Museum’s incredible collections to a wider audience.”

Mad Beauty showcases Elf collection

Mad Beauty’s Elf-inspired collection made its debut at the iconic Empire State Building in celebration of the pop culture classic’s 20th anniversary.

Mad Beauty, an award-winning producer of beauty, bath and body gifts, is spreading holiday cheer at the world-famous Empire State Building. The monument is partnering with Warner Bros. Discovery to mark the 20th anniversary of New Line Cinema’s holiday classic Elf with a tower lighting, special film screenings and observatory décor.

Premiering in 2003, Elf stars Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf, who embarks on a heart-warming journey from the North Pole to New York City to reunite with his father at his office in the Empire State Building. The movie’s magic is now transforming the Empire State Building’s Observatory, adorning the Fifth Avenue Lobby and the renowned 86th Floor Observatory with captivating themed décor, bringing the film to life with snowy scenes featuring Buddy the Elf and his companions on their journey to the ‘World’s Most Famous Building’.

Until January 1st, visitors can immerse themselves in the holiday spirit with anniversary screenings, a festive food pop-up cart and Elf-themed shoppable window displays, featuring an array of products inspired by the film’s magic and merriment. Mad Beauty’s licensed Elf collection allows fans to relive iconic movie moments with designs featuring candy canes, Gimbels, snowglobes, classic Buddy quotes and even yellow snow.

Julia Cash, Creative director at Mad Beauty, describes the collection as ‘feel-good bath and beauty gifts, carefully crafted to immerse you in the enchanting essence of the holiday season.’ She emphasises the enchanting swirly gumdrops fragrance used across the range, which serves as a whimsical tie-in to the beloved film. Julia added: “Just as Buddy the Elf spreads cheer with his infectious spirit, our ‘elf-care’ products aim to bring that same magic into your self-care routine.”

Trevor Cash, Mad Beauty director, stated: “We are thrilled to be part of the celebrations, and having our collection displayed at the iconic Empire State Building is a great achievement for the entire team.”

On November 7th, the Empire State Building’s tower lights shone in Buddy the Elf’s iconic colours, green and yellow, marking the milestone anniversary. Jean-Yves Ghazi, president of the Empire State Building Observatory, said: “The Empire State Building plays a lead role in hundreds of films and television shows, and Elf has become a celebrated classic. Now, our guests can walk in Buddy the Elf’s footsteps in a special holiday experience that brings his adventures to life at the very place where the movie was filmed.”

This special showcase will run until January 1st, 2024, providing visitors with an opportunity to experience the enchantment firsthand. Mad Beauty’s Elf collection is available for purchase via a shoppable QR code, allowing fans to take home a piece of the magic.

Pokémon – always ahead of the game!

The Pokémon Company International tells readers everything there is to know about how the property’s licensing plans continue to drive fan awareness and engagement both in and out of the home.

PokémonPokémon remains at the forefront of pop culture and mainstream media through a vibrant programme of activity across its many pillars – video games, mobile apps, the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG), animation and movies, Play! Pokémon competitive events and licensed products.

Pokémon is renowned for its bold collaborations across a fantastic and varied range of categories from both the mass and luxury markets, bringing the brand to life through apparel and accessories available worldwide.

Recent innovative examples include exciting collections from Balmain, Puma and Converse, while Pokémon is stepping out again with footwear specialists Clarks for a third drop, launching in December. This four-piece adult collection’s playfully retro aesthetic celebrates Pokémon nostalgia, with bright colourways referencing the Kanto first partner Pokémon, pixelated Pokéball motifs and Pokédex numbers on the heel. The Pokémon x Clarks collection took home the Best Licensed Children’s Apparel or Accessories Range  at the Licensing Awards 2023.

Buoyant sales have been supported by a strong programme of creative retail activations, including takeovers, special events and vibrant store displays. Continuing its hugely successful partnership with Harrods, Pokémon returned to the world-famous store in February for six weeks of dynamic fun, with a branded space on the toy floor offering a rich assortment of themed activities plus a fabulous selection of products. Pokémon also hit the road for its first-ever bus tour, visiting Smyths stores with a variety of exciting activities including face-painting, a colouring wall, giveaways and Pikachu appearances.

New events and experiences across Pokémon’s gaming titles boosted its success further. The first adventure in The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero, the new DLC for the hugely successful next-generation video games Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, launched in September, with Part 2: The Indigo Disk due next spring.

New video game Detective Pikachu Returns launched exclusively for Nintendo Switch in October, while Pokémon Sleep, the sleep tracker app that turns sleep into entertainment, launched in Europe in July. New updates and experiences were also revealed for popular Pokémon mobile games Pokémon Unite, Go, Masters Ex and Café ReMix.

The market-leading Pokémon TCG keeps demand strong through exciting new expansions. November’s Scarlet & Violet – Paradox Rift, inspired by the Paradox Pokémon from the Pokémon Scarlet and Violet VGs, introduces Ancient and Future Pokémon and Trainer cards. It follows June’s Paldea Evolved and August’s Obsidian Flames, which introduced type-shifted Tera Pokémon ex.

Pokémon animation continues to offer enticing new content. The iconic original animated series gears up for, Pokémon Horizons; and brand-new Netflix series Pokémon Concierge, featuring innovative stop-motion animation, expands the Pokémon world with a new storyline. Available now on the official Pokémon YouTube channel are Pokémon: Path to the Peak, following Ava and Oddish on their quest for success in competitive TGC play; and Pokémon: Paldean Winds, which brings the Paldea region to life in an all-new way.

The new generation of characters from Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, including the Paldea Starter Pokémon Quaxly, Fuecoco and Sprigatito, are already hugely popular and are now available in huggable 8’’ plush and 2” figures.

Long term partners such as master toy partner Jazwares – which recently launched its biggest ever Pokémon range – Mattel, Funko, Ravensburger, Aykroyds, Fashion UK, and Character World bring the global community a plethora of sought after products across multiple categories.

With innovative new products, further creative collaborations and more dynamic activity forthcoming for 2024, Pokémon looks set to continue leading the way in entertainment.

Beano collaborates with Radley on handbag line

The new range of purses and bags features Minnie and has been created by Beano and Radley in celebration of the character’s 70th anniversary. 

radleyThe British bags and accessories brand Radley has announced a special collaboration with Beano to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the nation’s favourite mischief-making heroine, Minnie.

The character brings her fearless attitude to this expertly crafted, special-edition collection, comprising six designs with a silhouette to suit everyone. From a very Minnie version of the brand’s picture bag featuring red and black striped leather handles, to a coin purse. Minnie is bursting into life on all of these covetable styles through leather appliqué and screen print details.

As a ‘warrior, not a worrier’, Minnie doesn’t shy away from bright colours. Bold orange and Beano’s iconic black and red stripes are referenced throughout the highly collectible designs.

Launching in time for Christmas, the collection is priced from £59 – £299 and will be available exclusively in store and online at from 4th December 2023.

Special extended Bluey episode announced

BBC Studios Kids & Family has revealed that a special extended episode of the multi-award-winning Bluey will premiere globally next year.


The Sign is an extra-long episode of the global TV hit show, with a run time of 28 minutes. It is penned by Bluey creator and writer Joe Brumm, directed by Richard Jeffery and produced by Ludo Studio.

Dave McCormack and Melanie Zanetti will reprise their roles as the voices of Bandit and Chilli Heeler.

Ludo Studio, producers of the hugely popular animated TV series, said: “We’re so excited to share that a 28-minute special episode is coming in 2024. There’ll be lots of laughs, exciting guest voices and definitely a few tears. We’re so incredibly proud of the awesome team behind the series and we can’t wait for Australia and the world to watch this very special Bluey episode with their family and friends.”

Henrietta Hurford-Jones, commissioner & executive producer of Bluey for BBC Studios Kids & Family, added: “This extended episode allows room to explore the world, characters and breadth of Bluey even further. Existing fans will love it and it will be a great introduction to this incredible show for new audiences.”

Since launching in Australia in 2018, Bluey has gained millions of fans around the world; widely lauded for its heartfelt and funny portrayal of family life and celebration of play. Celebrity fans include Eva Mendes, Natalie Portman and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who have all appeared in the show in cameo roles.

The series follows Bluey, a Blue Heeler dog, who lives with her Mum, Dad and her little sister, Bingo. Bluey uses her limitless energy to play games that unfold in unpredictable and hilarious ways, bringing her family and the whole neighbourhood into her world of fun.

A global-ratings hit, the series has enjoyed a plethora of critical success at home and abroad, winning a 2022 BAFTA Children & Young People Award in the International category, and picked up its fourth consecutive AACTA Best Children’s Programme award – in addition to an International Emmy and numerous craft and production awards around the world.

Jointly commissioned by ABC Children’s and BBC Studios Kids & Family, Bluey is produced by multi-Emmy award-winning Ludo Studio in association with Screen Queensland and Screen Australia.

The series streams to US and global audiences (outside of Australia, New Zealand and China) across Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney+ through a global broadcasting deal between BBC Studios Kids & Family and Disney Branded Television. In its native Australia, the show goes out on ABC. In the UK, CBeebies and BBC iPlayer is the free-to-air broadcast platform for Bluey.

Heathside to release licensed Foundation line

Heathside Trading has signed an agreement with Skydance to launch a consumer products line based on the global hit television series Foundation.

The Foundation product line will include die-cast ships and prop replicas along with resin figures and busts. The agreement was facilitated by Skydance Animation’s global licensing representative IMG as well as KJG. The Foundation licensed line will launch in Autumn 2024 through selected retail partners, as well as direct-to-consumer through

Darren Epstein, from Heathside, commented: “We are so thrilled to be working with Skydance and IMG on this series of prop replicas, ships and die-cast.  As big fans of the TV series, we are excited to offer new ranges of products under our Master Replicas and Khadou brands.”

Luis Fernández, head of Skydance Consumer Products, added: “We are delighted to partner with Heathside to extend our Foundation stories through high quality collectible figurines and vehicles.”

Heathside Trading through Master Replicas will be making a curated selection of vehicles, prop replicas and figures available in waves over the course of the licence. This will allow fans to add to the continuance of their collections. with selected resellers who will be making stock available on a limited basis online.

From storyteller David S. Goyer and based on Isaac Asimov’s award-winning stories, Foundation premiered in 2021 and has become a cultural phenomenon, capturing the imaginations of sci-fi lovers and inspiring legions of fans around the world. The second season of Foundation premiered this summer and received wide-spread praise from critics and fans alike, earning a 100% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Traitors set to return for series three

As excitement builds for series two of The Traitors, and sales of the board game from Goliath Games continue to flourish, a third series has been greenlit.

Traitors season 1 cast at The Traitors Official Board Game event. Credit: Dave Hogan/Hogan Media

The Traitors will return to BBC One and BBC iPlayer for series three and applications are open for potential gameplayers. This announcement comes ahead of the hotly anticipated second series which is coming soon. Series two trailers started premiering across BBC over Halloween weekend and excitement is building for the return of the popular series.

The Traitors Official Board Game launched by Goliath Games earlier this year has experienced huge interest amongst The Traitors fanbase, securing a host of positive reviews supporting the immersive experience players can have at home.

Chloe Burrowes, Marketing controller, said: “The news of the third series is really exciting – we’re sure that both forthcoming series will delight existing fans as well as recruiting new ones, and support our ambition to firmly place the board game as an all-year round family favourite for all fans of the show.

“Since the board game launched, sales have ramped up and it’s been great to see more people getting the chance to have the immersive The Traitors experience around their own Round Table; although dining tables are also accepted.”

Hosted by Claudia Winkleman, The Traitors is a nail-biting psychological reality competition where 22 strangers play the ultimate game of detection, backstabbing and trust, in the hope of winning up to £120,000.

The show reached an audience of 21m last series, and was the biggest new entertainment launch for the BBC since 2021. It was the biggest new series for young audiences across all BBC titles in 2022, and the highest rating new entertainment series on the BBC since at least 2017 for young audiences.

The Traitors (12 x 60) is produced by Studio Lambert Scotland for BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Lego invites fans to assemble the new Marvel Avengers Tower set

The biggest build to join the Lego Marvel collection, the impressive 90cm-tall, 5,201-piece Avengers Tower set includes all the characters from the Infinity saga.

Avengers Tower

The Lego Marvel Avengers Tower has 5,201 pieces and comes with 31 Lego figures

The Lego Group has announced its biggest set within the Lego Marvel collection to date – the new iconic Lego Marvel Avengers Tower set.

In 1963, Earth’s Mightiest Super Heroes assembled for the first time in the pages of the debut issue of The Avengers comic book. Now, 60 years later, Marvel fans can celebrate this milestone anniversary and experience the thrill of assembling their own epic Avengers Tower in Lego brick form.

This 5,201-piece set stands as the tallest Lego brick-built skyscraper ever made. It also includes 31 Lego figures, the most ever included in one Lego set, including all the iconic characters from Infinity Saga, as well as a Leviathan, the Quinjet and two Chitauri flyers, plus an exclusive Lego minifigure of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. The Tower build also includes authentic action on every floor and, standing more than 35.5″ (90 cm) tall, the model is filled to the roof with memorable scenes and an all-star cast of characters.

The new set is based on the iconic Avengers Tower from the Marvel movie franchise. Formerly Stark Towers, home of Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Pepper Potts (Rescue), the Manhattan high-rise tower became the home of the Avengers – earth’s mightiest heroes – following the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D, and served as the team’s main headquarters, as well as the research and development hub, until the Ultron Offensive saw the team move to a refurbished former Stark warehouse upstate. The tower saw plenty of action during its use by the Avengers, being badly damaged during the Battle of New York in the first official Avengers movie, The Avengers (2012).

The set is available from 24th November 2023 and has an RRP of £429.99. In addition, from 24-27th November, Lego Insiders members will receive a free Lego Marvel Taxi set with purchase, which includes an iconic New York yellow taxi and four minifigures including Black Panther, a taxi driver and two outriders.