Breaking News: Licensing Expo announces new date for 2023

Licensing Expo to now take place from 13th to 15th June 2023, at Mandalay Bay Convention Center and the theme will be fashion.

Licensing Expo, is organised by Informa Markets and sponsored by Licensing International. The licensed consumer product and brand extension tradeshow, which was originally due to take place from 23rd to 25th May 2023, will now return three weeks later to accommodate event venue renovations. The new show dates will ensure smooth experiences for attendees and exhibitors at Licensing Expo.

“We have been closely following the construction dateline at Mandalay Bay. With its guidance, we have obtained favourable dates to reschedule the event and avoid disrupting the meeting spaces required for Licensing Expo,” said Anna Knight, SVP Licensing, Informa Markets. “We wanted to update the licensing community after further discussions with Mandalay Bay to ensure all visitors and partners plan their summer accordingly. The Licensing Expo team will contact exhibitors and partners to discuss the rescheduled dates, answer any queries and ensure we deliver the same event experience you have become accustomed to, albeit a few weeks later than originally planned.”

This year’s Licensing Expo theme is Fashion, which builds on Brand Licensing Europe’s 2022 theme that showcased collaborations from industry influencers such as Balmain, Hype, H&M and more, with brands including Mattel’s Barbie, Sega, Teletubbies and Kellogg’s taking to the runway – a highlight of September’s event.

“Seeing the incredible response we had at BLE from the Fashion theme, we wanted to bring it to Expo next summer to spotlight the innovation and creativity that comes from this category on a global stage,” added Anna. “Fashion, apparel and accessories are all inclusive and transcend age, gender, race and nationality. It forms such a critical part of the licensing process but is also an integral part of consumers’ identity. BLE was just the beginning of what this theme has to offer, and we can’t wait to bring it to life on Licensing Expo’s show floor.”

“Having fashion as the theme opens so many possibilities in the licensing space and will allow attendees and exhibitors to explore the breadth of consumer products available through the fashion world,” commented Maura Regan, president, Licensing International. “We’re excited to see unique collaborations unfold between licensing and fashion, along with the constant emergence of new innovations and trends.”

Licensing Expo provides a key opportunity to secure the rights to thousands of consumer brands, entertainment icons and more for exhibiting and attending product suppliers or retailers. Notable brands from the 2022 event included Crayola, Hasbro, Jazwares, Legendary Entertainment, Paramount, Paul Frank, Mattel, Shell, Viz Media, Warner Bros. Discovery and many more.

Learn more about Licensing Expo here.

 

Exclusive: Richard Dickson on all things Barbie

Richard Dickson, president and COO of Mattel, spoke to Licensing.biz about the Barbie brand, the upcoming movie and the plans for yet more growth.

Richard delivered the keynote address at BLE 2022, which took place at London Excel from 20th-22nd September. In his standing-room-only talk, he spoke about Barbie’s rise to fame, her 2014 fall from grace and her astonishing climb back up to become the world’s No.1 Global Toy Property. After his keynote, Richard sat down with Licensing.biz’s  John Baulch and Rachael Simpson-Jones, as well as Josh Silverman, Mattel’s global head of Consumer Products and chief franchise officer, to discuss the upcoming Barbie Movie and the company’s goals for brand growth.

We asked Richard’s about the part of his keynote when he said that Mattel wants to triple the Barbie consumer products business by 2025: is that going to be possible considering how big the brand already is? Richard and Josh commented on Barbie’s history and how Barbie is a brand, not just a doll. Numerous licensing partnerships, they told us, a franchise model that spans fashion, animated content, music and much more, and a CP business still there for the taking means tripling of the business is certainly do-able.

We also asked if Mattel believes the upcoming Barbie movie is going to become a new catalyst for the brand. Richard commented: “Oh, for sure, the movie is going to create another level of conversation about Barbie. But it’s important to remember that the brand doesn’t depend on this movie. Barbie has gone 63 years without a movie, and she’s done pretty well anyway. The movie will be a huge tentpole moment for Mattel and Barbie, and will drive enormous sales of Barbie licensed merchandise, but Barbie will always be expressed in numerous different ways.”

Richard also explained the opportunities presented by Mattel’s shift to an entertainment-led company, and how Hot Wheels is ‘revving up in a big way too’.

To read the full interview, which was published in the October issue of Toy World, click here.

Hasbro announces plan to grow profit 50% over next three years

Licensing is a key area of focus in Hasbro’s Blueprint 2.0, along with Games Leadership and Digital Growth.

Hasbro hosted its first investor day under the leadership of new chief executive officer, Chris Cocks. Senior leaders from across the business unveiled Hasbro’s new go-forward plan on Tuesday – the result of a nine-month strategic review that focused on creating near-term, meaningful change that is expected to deliver positive financial impact as early as the fourth quarter of this year. Through this review process, the company sought to identify opportunities to focus and scale the business, enhance operational excellence and drive accelerated growth and profit.

Hasbro provided an overview of its long-term outlook which included growing its operating profit by 50% over the next three years, with plans to further expand operating profit margin to 20% by 2027

Guided by a new Blueprint, the company will focus investment on its most valuable franchises across toys, games, entertainment and licensing. The company is implementing an Operational Excellence programme designed to deliver $250-$300m in run rate cost savings over the next three years, with $150m expected in run rate savings by year end 2023.

“Hasbro has many strengths: amazing brands that span generations, a gaming portfolio second to none, a history of play and entertainment innovation led by some of the best teams in the business, and unwavering corporate citizenship,” said Chris Cocks, chief executive officer, Hasbro.

“Building on these strengths, today we announced a new day for Hasbro with the introduction of Blueprint 2.0. This strategic approach is core to how we’ll continue to bring our strong brands to life for consumers of all ages, and how we’ll manage the business to monetise our intellectual property, drive investments, deliver profitable growth and create shareholder value.”

Licensing is set for a major expansion with new and recent partnerships announced with Basic Fun on Littlest Pet Shop and Lego on Transformers, and an expanded portfolio of content across Hasbro’s beloved 100-year IP vault. Hasbro announced Peppa Pig, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Transfomers, Play-Doh, Nerf, and iconic gaming brands such as Monopoly as key focus brands.

The company is investing in a Brand Insights Platform to enable data-based decisions, deliver superior consumer insights and speed innovation. This is a multi-year, $100m plus investment that will serve as a major competitive differentiator and empower the company to create the toys, games and experiences fans want.

Hasbro announced that Magic: The Gathering, which is on track to become its first billion-dollar brand, has exciting new collaborations with Final Fantasy and Assassin’s Creed and a new blockbuster 30th Anniversary Edition collectible series, inspired by Limited Edition Beta.

Dungeons & Dragons will be a major growth priority with a blockbuster feature film, D&D: Honor Among Thieves, a new AAA videogame, Baldur’s Gate III, and a host of new collectibles, toys and games paired with the movie event in 2023.

Hasbro’s Action Figure portfolio is on pace for a banner year in 2023 behind six blockbuster movie releases including Marvel Studios’ Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 3, Sony’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones.

The company expanded on its major new entertainment line-up for Transformers, including a new animated kids show, Transformers: EarthSpark, a new blockbuster film coming in June 2023, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, and an upcoming CGI feature film in summer 2024.

Peppa Pig, Play-Doh and key collaborations including Marvel’s Spidey and His Amazing Friends and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures will anchor planned pre-school growth — a $1b plus combined growth opportunity.

Expanding the Nerf franchise into new categories, the company also unveiled a first-of-its-kind sports league, Nerfball, with the first Nerfball tournament coming in summer 2023.

Direct to consumer and digital will also be a major investment focus for Hasbro, and the company’s direct platform, anchored by Hasbro Pulse and D&D Beyond, is poised to become a $1b digital and ecommerce direct business with over 50m accounts by 2027, up from 20m today, and will host new exclusives including the recently launched Hasbro Selfie Series, Has-Lab crowdfunded products, the return of the iconic sports collectible, Starting Lineup, and the relaunch of Avalon Hill’s HeroScape gaming system.

 

Hasbro announces Nerf brand’s first official sport, Nerfball

Nerf’s first official sport kicks off with the Nerfball Championships in summer 2023, more than 50 years after the Nerf ball was launched.

Hasbro has unveiled the Nerf brand’s first ever officially organised team sport, Nerfball.

Since 1969 when the brand was first introduced to the world with the original Nerf ball, dozens of iterations of Nerf have been created across consumer products categories from sports items to blasters, apparel and much more. With several in-person and digital experiences, sports collaborations and the recent launch of Murph, the brand’s first-ever mascot, Nerf has transformed itself into a true active play lifestyle brand.

Nerf has remained an unrivalled category leader in action-based performance toys for more than five decades and, according to NPD data, is the number one blaster brand in value, with a market share of 57.4%.

Nerfball brings the excitement and play of paintball and airsoft, together with the speed and agility of basketball, all combined with buzzer beating shots and unbelievable highlight moments. It’s a game built by athletes for athletes and the sport will introduce an all-new Pro series blaster, one-of-a-kind ball and a rule set designed to get heart rates pumping.

To launch this new sport, Hasbro is working with Donald Driver, one of American football’s all-time leading receivers, dance competition champion and best-selling author. Donald has been working closely with Hasbro to design the rules and test the gameplay at his sports facility and formally bring it to market with the first public Nerfball tournament launching in summer 2023.

“We are thrilled to introduce Nerf’s first-ever organised sport and honoured to work with Donald Driver, a true sports icon for the launch to showcase the impact it’s sure to make on Nerf fans and athletes everywhere,” said Teresa Pearson, vice president of Global Franchise Strategy & Brand Management at Hasbro. “The game of Nerfball will bring emotion, active play and competition to new heights for the brand through several unique elements. The game is inclusive and adaptable, giving fans even more of a reason to get out and play.”

In the coming months, Hasbro will announce additional details around the Nerfball gameplay, tournament and equipment. Sign up at hasbropulse.com/nerfball to stay up to date on announcements and get information on the soon to be revealed Nerf Pro blaster.

For regular updates on Nerf, follow the official brand social channels on TikTok, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube. You can also follow the new Nerf mascot, Murph, on Twitter.

Sesame Workshop names Brett Robinson as CFO

Brett will also take on the role of EVP, Finance, Technology and Facilities and will sit on Sesame Workshop’s leadership team.

Sesame Workshop has named Brett Robinson chief financial officer and executive vice president of Finance, Technology, and Facilities.

In his role, he will be responsible for advising on all fiscal matters, including annual and long-term planning/forecasting, accounting, budgeting, risk management, compliance, and analysis. He will also oversee the IT and Engineering divisions and play a key role in ensuring that Sesame Workshop has the right tools, systems, and technology in place to support a dynamic work environment and a culture that supports growth and evolution. He will help track and identify key metrics to drive the organisation’s work and impact.

Brett will report to the CEO, Steve Youngwood, be a key strategic partner to the nonprofit organisation’s senior leadership, serve as an officer of the organisation with the Board of Trustees, and will sit on Sesame Workshop’s leadership team.

“Brett has dedicated his career to public service and social good,” said Steve. “He possesses a depth and breadth of experience, having held multiple finance and administrative roles in city government, being the CFO at a large community-focused not-for-profit in the Brooklyn Public Library, and most recently at UNICEF USA, where he was not only the COO and CFO but also interim co-CEO during their transition. With over 20 years of experience operating at the intersection of strategy, technology, and finance, Brett brings visionary leadership, a sharp focus on data-driven decisions, and a high level of energy with a can-do mindset.”

He added: “We are thrilled to have him join to continue elevating Sesame Workshop’s operations and facilitate our mission of helping kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.”

Most recently, Brett was COO and CFO of UNICEF USA, a nonprofit organisation with nine major markets across the US dedicated to improving children’s and families’ lives in the world’s neediest places through advocacy, education, and fundraising. He was responsible for developing strategy and managing operations while leading Finance, Human Resources, Technology, Facilities / Administration, Grants Management, Planning / Performance, Institutional Partnerships, and Planned Gifts.

Prior to that, he spent five years as executive vice president, Finance & Administration, and chief financial officer for Brooklyn Public Library, where he developed strategy and managed operations to ensure effective and efficient delivery of library service to Brooklyn’s 2.6m residents. He has also served in executive positions at NYC Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget.

Trio of awards for mascot costume maker Rainbow Productions

Rainbow Productions, which manufactures bespoke costume character mascots, won three honours at the Merton Best Business Awards 2022.

The event was organised by the Merton Chamber of Commerce to recognise business excellence among the 700 members of the largest area base Chamber of Commerce in London. It attracted entries from a wide range of businesses including construction, wellbeing, art, teaching, food retail, surveying and fitness.

Rainbow was nominated for two awards: Best Creative Business and Best Independent Business. On the evening itself, at the prestigious All England Lawn Tennis Club, Rainbow Productions was declared the winner of both categories.

The 2022 Merton Best Business Award was also presented to Rainbow. This was particularly special this year as it recognised those businesses in the London Borough of Merton that have not only survived the slowdown caused by the pandemic but have shown resilience, excellence, innovation and best practice while demonstrating the highest-quality service.

During the pandemic Rainbow took the opportunity to reorganise its strategies and invest in new technology, coming back with a bang in 2021, when it produced over 750 costumes and shipping to over 16 countries – or, as the Chamber of Commerce itself put it: “Rainbow Productions is putting Merton on the map”.

Simon Foulkes, managing director, Rainbow Productions, said: “What a night. And, after a truly challenging period, what a year. I am proud on behalf of everyone connected in any way with Rainbow that we have won these three awards – and particularly the 2022 Merton Best Business Award. This is a team award and a tribute richly deserved by an extraordinary and talented group of people who kept on going through the hardest of times to make us even more of a force in the costumer character business. My sincerest thanks – and congratulations – to you all”.

The company has been part of the fabric of the London Borough of Merton for over 30 years, from its early days as a small events company with ambitions of establishing costume characters as part of the marketing mix to its present renown as the world leader in manufacturing bespoke costume character mascots – as well as the UK’s official supplier of some of the world’s favourite licensed children’s characters for personal appearances.

The company is the exclusive agent managing the personal appearances of over 140 licensed characters in the UK, including Peppa Pig, Paddington and The Wombles. It is an approved mascot manufacturer for some of the world’s highest-profile film, production and licensing studios including NBC Universal, Warner Brothers, BBC, Paramount and Disney. It is also the sole mascot supplier to world-famous attractions and spectacular events such as the Olympic Games and the Oxford Street Christmas lights switch-on and also supplies mascots for national and international product launches.The company has also made mascots for 85 of England’s 92 professional football clubs.

BLE 2022 hailed a huge success with new attendance records set

This year’s BLE exhibition enjoyed the busiest days two and three on record, the organisers have announced.

Brand Licensing Europe 2022, which took place at ExCel London from 20th to 22nd September, attracted 230 exhibitors, including more than 30 first time exhibitors, and exhibitor and visitor numbers were also back to 80% of pre-Covid levels

Anna Knight, SVP of Licensing, Global Licensing Group,  said: “It’s taken four days of sleep to recover, but what a show. This year was the best BLE I can remember in my seven years – it was just amazing from start to finish and I really do want to thank everyone who exhibited, visited, worked with us to fix things including the best group of contractors ever, and the whole BLE team. It wouldn’t have possible without the team. To say they go the extra mile is doing them a massive disservice.

“I am also delighted to say we enjoyed our busiest ever day three on record this year. When I shared the highlights video from our final day on LinkedIn, I confessed that it was one of my proudest moments ever.”

This year, day three of BLE 2022 was dedicated to sustainability, diversity and purpose to showcase the diverse voices and talent across the industry and to drive positive change within brand licensing.

“And that’s exactly what we did,” said Anna, “from the opening Peppa Pig case study with Hasbro, to the Culture & Unity catwalk in partnership with Black Lives Matter, which was just stunning and powerful from start to finish, to our Sustainability catwalk with those amazing Junk Kouture collections and the content from the UN’s Caroline Petit, and our keynote panel, which dissected how purpose can breed success.”

She added that none of it would have been possible without the shared vision of Helena Mansell-Stopher from Products of Change, Saphia Maxamed of Black Lives Matter Licensing and BLE event director Ella Haynes, who worked tirelessly to bring everything to life.

“The focus for day three wasn’t a tick box for us – we said it last year when we gave Saphia a platform to introduce many in the industry to Black Lives Matter Licensing, and we’ll say it again. This isn’t a one off. This is part of our DNA, and you can expect to see it every year. We believe in what we’re trying to do, and I couldn’t be prouder,” added Anna.

This year, the quality of visitors and conversations was stronger, with more decision-makers and people with an in-depth understanding of the industry attending (41% compared to 35% in 2019), while 4,575 meetings were booked through the online platform, a 46% rise compared to 2019. European visitor numbers (as a percentage of total attendance) were on par with pre-Covid levels in 2019.

Retail visitor numbers (as a percentage of total attendance) rose by 4% compared with pre-Covid levels in 2019, which meant that exhibitors were able to spend more time with more – and better quality – potential partners.

Retailers included Aldi, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Carrefour, Lidl, Morrisons, Asda, El Cortes Ingles, The Entertainer, Primark, Marks and Spencer, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, H&M, Celio, Habitat, Matalan, Waitrose, ASOS, HMV, Wayfair, Harrods, Amazon, River Island, New Look, Bershka, Sainsburys, Ocado Retail, John Lewis, Moonpig, Don’t Call Me Jennyfer and Liberty

Ella Haynes, BLE event director, said: “Everyone I talked to commented on how busy the show felt, how the buzz was back to the BLE days of old and that makes me incredibly proud.

“I’d just like to remind everyone they can now watch all the educational sessions for free and on-demand in our online platform. The content was so strong this year; all of the sessions were incredibly well attended, and the Mattel keynote was literally standing room only, so if you didn’t get to see it on the day, don’t worry, you haven’t missed out.

“Next up is Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit in New York in November, Licensing Expo in May and BLE returns to ExCeL London 4th-6th October. We’re also sponsoring networking drinks at SiLC in London on 18th October, so we hope to see you all there, especially if we didn’t get a chance to say hello at BLE.”

 

The October 2022 issue of Toy World is out now

The 114-page October issue is packed with news and product launches, including a special feature on Character Licensed Merchandise.

As we move into the all-important last quarter of the year, Toy World brings you all the latest industry insight and takes a look at what is bound to be a busy build up to Christmas.

This issue includes a wide-ranging feature on Character Licensed Merchandise. An ever popular category, the release of so many blockbuster movies this summer has given licensed toys, games and kids’ products a real boost.

There’s also a round-up of this year’s Brand Licensing Exhibition, which was hailed a huge success when it returned in September to ExCel London. Included in the report is a fascinating Q&A with Mattel president and COO Richard Dickson, who delivered the keynote address at this year’s event.

After his standing-room-only talk, in which he spoke about Barbie’s rise to fame, her 2014 fall from grace and her climb back up to become the world’s No.1 Global Toy Property, Richard sat down with Toy World’s John Baulch and Rachael Simpson-Jones, as well as Josh Silverman, Mattel’s global head of Consumer Products and chief franchise officer, to discuss the upcoming Barbie Movie and the company’s lofty goals for brand growth.

There’s also a special Pre-Christmas Advertising feature which covers some of this year’s potential big sellers and details what suppliers are doing to optimise their marketing.

In our regular Talking Shop feature, Sam Giltrow and Suzie Sparkes chat to several independent retailers, many of whom have had their best summers ever, and are now looking forward to a great festive season despite the economic challenges the country is currently facing.

Toy World’s John Baulch and Rachael Simpson-Jones recently visited Magicbox Toys’ new UK office to catch up with UK managing director, Nicola Bergot, who is now a year into the job. She chats about upcoming product launches and discusses the company’s future plans. 

Rachael also speaks to Sara Taylor, the new managing director, UK & Ireland for MGA Entertainment, about her new role and how she’s tackling the challenges facing the company. She also stresses the importance of people and her approach to office culture.

Two toy retailers – Dave Middleton, of Midco Toys in the UK, and Rick Derr, of Learning Express in the US – tell Toy World about the friendship they have struck up across the pond, and how it is helping them to share information and learn from each other’s experiences.

There’s also our usual insight from NPD Group. In this month’s issue, Melissa Symonds examines current sales trends and looks ahead to how these are likely to develop for the rest of 2022.

The October issue of Toy World is also crammed with all our regular features, including Fresh, Allegedly, and more.

To read the October 2022 issue of Toy World, click here.

Amscan boosts turnover to £300m with Party King acquisition

Party product supplier Amscan International says the takeover of the Swedish company will enable Nordic expansion.

Amscan International has acquired Sweden-headquartered online retailer Party King to support its worldwide growth plans by further expanding into the Nordics.

The Milton Keynes-based designer, manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler and retailer of party products acquired the business for an undisclosed sum and now has a turnover in excess of £300m.

The founders and owners of Party King, Joel Svensson and Jeff Jansson, will continue to run the business from its warehouse and office facility in Gävle, Sweden.

Party King has revenues of £30m, which are expected to grow by around 20% this year, and has also increased sales by more than 50% over the last three years. The business operates four websites across Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland and is the market leader in the Nordics.

The deal also sees Amscan International increase its ecommerce revenues overall, with online sales now accounting for more than £100m of the company’s £300m turnover.

Party King was established in 2009 and employs 80 people, all of whom have been transferred to Amscan International. Joel Svensson originally founded Party King as a gift to his mother, Eva, as she was unemployed and needed a job.

Commenting on the deal, Amscan International chief executive Joe Hennigan said: “Party King is a very strong and well invested brand in the Nordics. It is a market where we have minimal presence but have long had hopes of expanding further within. It is a brand that increases our online revenues to more than £100m and could be leveraged across our other commercial markets.”

He added: “Continuing to accelerate our direct-to-consumer revenues and building our brand portfolio are two key pillars of our strategic plan, so Party King is an ideal acquisition in supporting those goals. Joel and Jeff have built an exciting, dynamic and professionally run business and we will be working with them to further evolve the Party King brand, product and service offer within the Nordics and beyond.”

In addition to Milton Keynes, Amscan International has offices in Ireland, Germany, Australasia and Asia. The company employs around 2,500 people worldwide and its retail brands include Party Delights, the UK’s largest online party store, Ginger Ray and several other brands across 15 countries. In January 2021, the company underwent a management buy-out supported by Leeds-headquartered private equity firm Endless.

Amscan International managing director of European retail, Claire Grasby, added: “We have long admired and respected the growth of Party King and are excited by the opportunity to further bolster our e-commerce capabilities. I’m looking forward to further developing the Party King brand and see vast opportunities for our e-commerce team to support, and learn from, the Party King team.”

Party King chief executive Joel Svensson, said: “This is a great deal for both businesses which gives Party King the opportunity to supercharge its growth. All of us are very excited and energised by the thought of what the future holds. We can’t wait to start making it a reality alongside Joe, Claire, and the team at Amscan International.”

Magic Light offers first look at animation The Smeds and the Smoos

An animated intergalactic adventure from Magic Light Pictures, The Smeds and the Smoos can be seen on BBC One this Christmas.

BAFTA award-winning and Oscar-nominated brand-building and production company Magic Light Pictures has released a first look image of its much-awaited festive animation for BBC One, The Smeds and the Smoos.

In this adventure on a far away planet, two families always avoid each other. The red Smeds never mix with the blue Smoos, so when a chance encounter allows young Smed Janet to become friends with Bill, a young Smoo, their families immediately try to stop it. But as Janet and Bill’s friendship grows into something more serious, the two clans must find a way to get along to avoid losing them for ever.

The all-star cast features Adjoa Andoh as Grandmother Smoo, Bill Bailey as Grandfather Smed, Rob Brydon as Uncle Smoo, Daniel Ezra as Bill, Sally Hawkins as Narrator, Ashna Rabheru as Janet, and Meera Syal as Aunt Smed.

Adjoa Andoh, who plays Grandma Smoo said: “There’s just the sort of ignorant prejudice that people can harbour about each other until they come together and actually love and that survival and kinship are the things that bind all of us. Grandma Smoo, utterly capable, she can drive a rocket, she can clump about the place, she can blow her trumpet, delight in her kids and her grandkids and she can hate with a passion as well. Grandma Smoo’s not a woman of mild tastes, everything’s fairly strong with her. So when she’s your implacable enemy, she’s implacably your enemy. But you could change her mind at any moment and then she will love you to death.”

Bill Bailey who plays Grandpa Smed, said: “I think the main themes of the film are that we should just accept differences in others. I think the thing I get from it is that the older generation tend to be more resistant to change. And actually, sometimes it takes the younger generation to sort of breach that divide.

“Grandpa Smed, he’s the kind of patriarch of the Smed family, and he’s very much the kind of protector of the family, and he’s in charge. And he’s quite sort of traditional, and a bit stuck in his ways. And he’s sort of a little bit of a stick in the mud, really, but he’s kind. He’s not an ogre. He’s a kindly old grandpa who cares about his family, I think that’s the best way to describe him.”