Channel 5’s Milkshake! confirmed as the home of MixMups

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.

TOMY named master toy partner for Netflix’s popular pre-school series BUDDI

TOMY International has been named the master toy partner for the popular Netflix pre-school series, BUDDI. The launch will arrive courtesy of a partnership between the toy maker and Unanico and Raydar Media.

BUDDI is an animated series aimed at kids aged four years old and under that looks to deliver emotional intelligence through the lens of imagination and non-verbal cues. It follows the adventures of five friends, each bright and colourful, as they experience the simplest moments of life for the first time.

Currently with two seasons available on Netflix, more seasons are planned as the show opens to other linear, SVOD and AVOD platforms around the world. Furthermore, BUDDI was nominated for a 2020 Annie Award in the TV/Media Preschool category for the “Snow” episode.

“We’re thrilled to be working on this new opportunity with Unanico and Raydar Media,” said TOMY’s director of global brands, Morgan Weyl.

“BUDDI meets the trends that are impacting the toy market right now, from education, music, zen-sational themes, and socially conscious play. With the highly recognizable characters that have captured audiences around the world, these unique and thoughtfully designed characters will stand out on shelf.”

The core values of BUDDI fit right in line with TOMY’s portfolio of brands. TOMY has a longstanding history of creating toys that are focused on toddler development through play, which include both the Lamaze and Toomies lines.

Building a world of toys with unique character identities that also promote sensory discovery, emotional intelligence, along with being fun, playable and developmentally appropriate, is a hallmark for the company.

For BUDDI, TOMY will introduce a line of innovative toys for toddlers focused on bringing the unique DNA of the brand, along with the emotional and developmental aspects of BUDDI’s characters to markets around the world.

Paul Laikin, Unanico’s managing director and producer of Buddi said: “We are delighted to be working with the team at Tomy, a company that really understands the values of Buddi, and has the deep creative and commercial experience necessary to bring toys to Buddi’s young fans around the world.”

Raydar Media teases new partners for pre-school hit Buddi as season two lands on Netflix

Raydar Media, the rights holder and licensing management business for the early pre-school property, Buddi, is poised to reveal a slate of new consumer product partners throughout this year’s Festival of Licensing, as the series prepares to return to Netflix for season two this month.

Season two of Buddi sees PAW Patrol creator, Keith Chapman return to the early pre-school scene and join forces with Unanico Studios and series creator, Jason Jameson, as the trio continue to develop the series and its focus on emotional intelligence in younger years children. As well as exploring feelings throughout each episode, the second season will also feature special night-time episodes, as well as explore new lands.

Buddi is a non-dialogue show in which the characters express themselves with giggles and coos, giving the show universal appeal, and allowing its pre-school audience to apply their own versions of the character’s conversations to the show by using their imaginations.

It’s billed as an inclusive show with diverse character shapes and vibrant colours that uses teamwork and positivity to help the Buddis overcome problems as they interact with one another. Season two of the show will launch worldwide on Netflix from September 11th, bringing eight new episodes to Buddi fans.

The look and style of Buddi takes inspiration from the landscapes and nature of Scandinavia, taken from creator Jason Jameson’s own time spent in Finland. As a result, the Buddis all have secret Finnish names.

Raydar Media is currently managing the rights to Buddi in collaboration with Unanico, Keith Chapman, GCI Film, FroG-Land Productions, Shanghai Motion Magic, and Spider Eye Studios. Raydar has stated that it is Buddi’s ownership of its early pre-school credentials, ‘combined with its stunning and unique visual style,’ that has triggered the strong reaction from broadcasters and consumer products partners.

Raydar is now preparing to announce a sweep of partnerships for the pre-school property in the follow up to MIP Junior and this year’s Festival of Licensing.