Smiffys partners with Magic Light Pictures to launch Gruffalo, Highway Rat and Stick Man dress up

The dress up and costumes specialist, Smiffys has struck upon a magical new partnership with Magic Light Pictures to develop a range of dress up costumes based on the popular book series from Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler, spanning The Gruffalo, The Highway Rat, Stick Man, Zog, and Room on the Broom.

The launch of the new licensed collection will kick off with the much-loved Gruffalo and a character costume that will wander into retailers in time for World Book Day 2021. The new toddler costume features a deluxe all-in-one fit with a novelty hood – billed as ‘perfect for any little one wishing to bring the literary character to life.’

Further Smiffys character costumes, all based on books by Donaldson and Scheffler, will launch later in the year, landing on the global stage in time for Australia’s own 2021 Book Week next year.

“We are delighted to be announcing this partnership; Julia and Axel’s work is renowned across the globe and has delighted children for nearly 30 years with her imaginative stories,” said Dominque Peckett, director at Smiffys.  

Aidan Taylor-Gooby, licensing manager at Magic Light Pictures, added: “Dress up is a crucial part of our licensing programme and always a fantastic product for us at key events like World Book Day, Halloween and Christmas. We’re really pleased to have found such a great partner in Smiffys who can deliver the great quality product that our consumers expect.”

Wow! Stuff named master toy partner for Magic Light Pictures’ portfolio

Magic Light Pictures has tapped Wow! Stuff as its master toy partner for the company’s full catalogue of award-winning brands, including The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Zog, and The Snail and the Whale. The toy deal spans multiple territories, and products will be available across the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia, the US and Canada.

Wow! Stuff is known for its own portfolio of award-winning innovations in tier one brands, and from January 2021 will launch a full line up of toy figures and play-sets based on Magic Light’ library of characters. Prices for The Gruffalo will range from £7.99 through to £39.99 and will include collectables, character action figures, play-sets, electronic animated plush, and more.

Wow! Stuff’s head of product development and licensing, Kenny McAndrew, said: “This is a fabulous way to show what we can do when we have a Master licence and are free to explore traditional key toy categories and add our innovative take. Partnering with Magic Light we’ll bring Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s characters to life with the physical figurines the children dearly love.

“Each character and the play-sets are part of a special universe and perfectly complement and pay homage to the books and films. The characters are hugely ‘toyetic’ and our tests showed the reaction from parents and grandparents and their propensity to purchase was at the very highest level – family awareness and parental approval on the brand is sky high.”

Daryl Shute, brand director at Magic Light, added: “A master toy partner is something we’ve long wanted for our Gruffalo family of brands. The toy category has grown massively for us over the past year and Wow! Stuff are joining us at just the right time. They have added the innovation they’re renowned for and brought the characters to life in a way that is full of the charm and wonder that our little fans know and love.

“This is the third new license announced in this category in the past month, which is something else we’re pretty chuffed about.”

The imaginative play range will complement Magic Light’s existing range of fantastic toy and games partners that have been carefully collated for the Gruffalo over the last 10 years.

Long term Gruffalo partners include high quality plush from Aurora; and puzzles and games from Ravensburger, Asmodee, Winning Moves and Schmidt Spiele.

Magic Light Pictures secures another award win for animated adaptation Zog

Magic Light Pictures’ animated adaptation Zog has scooped the International Emmy in the Kids Awards Best Animation category at this year’s International Emmy Kids Awards.

The most recent accolade follows Magic Light’s win in the same category at the International Emmy Kids Awards in 2018 with Revolting Rhymes, and marks the second award in as many weeks for the animation. Magic Light also took home the Best Children’s Award at the RTS Awards held a fortnight ago.

Zog is an animated action adventure feature based on the popular book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. The adaptation was directed by Max Lang and Daniel Snaddon and produced by Michael Rose and Martin Pope of Magic Light Pictures, with animation services by Triggerfish Animation.

The half-hour special premiered on BBC One on Christmas Day 2018 and was the fourth-highest rated programme on the day, achieving 8.8m viewers (including repeat). The courageous tale of a keen but accident-prone dragon who gets into all sorts of mischief while at Dragon School, Zog enjoyed the highest share of any programme in the week 24-30 December.

Magic Light Pictures co-founder Michael Rose, said: “We are honoured that Zog has been recognised with this prestigious award, especially considering the quality of the competition from across the globe. It’s a testament to the wonderful work of directors Max Lang and Daniel Snaddon and to the whole, hugely talented crew who worked on the film.”

The International Emmy Kids Awards are the world’s pre-eminent platform for global excellence in television. Winners of the 8th annual awards were announced on the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences website and social media channels on Tuesday 31 March 2020 following the cancellation of the awards ceremony.

Zog is also proving popular internationally. ZDF Germany is a key partner and the film has also been sold to major broadcasters across Europe, Asia and Australia.

The film is the latest in a distinguished line of award-winning festive family specials from Magic Light for BBC One that have become a Christmas tradition on the channel, including such favourites as The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Stick Man, The Highway Rat, Revolting Rhymes and last year’s The Snail and the Whale.

Magic Light Pictures and Merlin Entertainments are bringing Zog to Warwick Castle

Magic Light Pictures has teamed up with Merlin Entertainments to bring a new 3D interactive Zog trail to Warwick Castle.

Due to launch at the historic venue this Easter, the trail brings to life the world of Zog the lovable dragon – first created by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler – with a host of activities for kids that mirror Zog’s own lessons at dragon school.

From soaring over the top of the Castle mound without actually leaving the ground, to testing out the Roar-o-meter at Bear Tower and helping kids to capture a princess, children will collect a stamp at every task. A final challenge will see them join in with Sir Gadabout’s school for ambitious knights and will be followed with a meet-and-greet with Zog himself.

Based on the million-selling book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Zog premiered on BBC One on Christmas Day 2018. It follows the tale of a keen but accident-prone dragon who gets into all sorts of mischief while at Dragon School, and was the fourth-highest rated programme on the day, achieving 8.8m viewers (including repeat).

The sequel, Zog and the Flying Doctors, has recently been announced as the Christmas 2020 collaboration between Magic Light and BBC One.

Daryl Shute, brand director, Magic Light Pictures, said: “We are delighted to partner with Merlin Entertainment to bring Zog to their fantastic venue. Warwick Castle is the perfect setting for dragons, princesses and heroic deeds. Our close collaboration is creating a truly special experience for kids that allows them to step into the magical world of Zog and live the story for themselves.”

Liam Bartlett, operations director for Warwick Castle, added: “We’re thrilled that Zog is flying in to Warwick Castle – it’s going to be roar-some. The interactive trail is great for kids of all ages, and supports the key messaging from the storybook itself around tenacity, persistence and rising to the challenge.

“It’s a fantastic addition to the Warwick Castle experience and shows once again why we’re a leading attraction for families from across the UK and beyond.”