Channel 5’s children’s strand, Milkshake!, has announced that it will be the broadcast home of MixMups, its first animated preschool series to feature disabled lead characters and to be made by a team with lived experience of disability.
Developed and produced with support from the UK Government funded Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF), which is managed by the BFI, and in collaboration with Raydar Media, the groundbreaking 52 x 10-minute stop-motion animated series for three- to five-year olds shines a light on different preschool play styles and the joy of mixing up objects and ideas to create stories.
The show’s premise is inspired by all children’s love of “mixing” and combining items as a way of playing, exploring and discovering, and centres around three loveable friends, the “MixMups”. Neat and tidy Pockets, creative and inventive Giggle, and boisterous and physical Spin, along with their lovable assistance pets, Roller Guinea and Yapette the guide dog, all live in a wheelchair-accessible Helter-Skelter house in “Mixington Valley”. Each episode sees the friends use their magical wooden spoon and mixing box to ‘Mix up the Magic’ of play and transport themselves on a host of comical adventures, where they embrace a variety of ways to play, entertain each other and embark upon day-to-day problem-solving challenges with the help of the trunky-beaked Lucky Loover Bird. Core themes include the joy of individuality, imagination, friendship and flexible thinking.
Now entering production, Milkshake! will premiere MixMups in March 2023.
MixMups was created by Rebecca Atkinson, the founder of the viral #ToyLikeMe campaign, which called for more diversity in children’s industries. The series will be produced by award-winning Manchester-based animation house Mackinnon & Saunders (Postman Pat, Raa Raa the Noisy Lion, Twirly Woos). The project initially received development support from the YACF and converted to a broadcaster commission with Milkshake! last year.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled that the wonderful MixMups, a show that celebrates individuality and the distinct play styles and personalities that preschoolers have, is joining the Milkshake! line-up,” says Louise Bucknole, Vice President, Children’s Programming, Paramount UK and Ireland. “It’s vital to us that our young audiences and their families see themselves reflected in our storytelling, so our cast of MixMups all have very different characters, and when they come together, magical things happen.
“It is also our first commission which from its very genesis, has been entirely inspired and created with the experiences of disabled children in mind. Working with Rebecca and a core production team that has lived experience of disability, we are confident we can bring a level of authenticity, understanding and commitment to the show, unlike any other. We can’t wait for fans of Milkshake! to fall in love with the MixMups just as we have.”
Series creator, Rebecca Atkinson adds: “I am over the moon that MixMups will be joining Milkshake! It was my dream to create a compelling show that draws on my own experiences as a disabled person to create lovable characters and stories and really ‘mix’ up what disability representation looks like. As a child I loved mixing up potions, food, cake mix, paint, even toys in the bath! I hope that MixMups will inspire a generation of preschoolers to reach for the nearest wooden spoon and ‘mix up the magic’ of play too.”
The agreement was brokered by Raydar Media on behalf of MixMups Entertainment Limited, a joint venture between Toy Like Me, Mackinnon & Saunders and Raydar Media. A global licensing and merchandising programme helmed by Valerie Fry at Raydar Media will roll out in 2023. Trade and consumer PR will be handled by Kirsty Barr of Grapevine PR on behalf of MixMups Entertainment Ltd.