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Spellbound's first show goes to CBBC

In the UK, CBBC has come onboard the first project from Spellbound Entertainment, the new kids' outfit set up in March by former Hit exec Peter Curtis, the man behind the global preschool phenomenon Bob the Builder.

CBBC's head of children's acquisitions and coproductions Theresa Plummer-Andrews has greenlit Koala Brothers, a 26×10' stop-frame preschool series that Spellbound picked up from UK toon studio Famous Flying Films.

The toon follows the adventures of a pair of cute Koalas – Frank and Buster – and their equally cute outback chums: a wombat, a croc, a turtle and a possum.

The show goes into production over the summer and will cost {around two million pounds,{ Curtis said, in an interview for the June issue of C21 International. Spellbound retains all international broadcast, merchandise and publishing rights.

Curtis came across the Koala Brothers project at Cartoon Forum last September, where he signed a deal with the show's creator and director Dave Johnson (Cabbage Patch Kids). {We were up against some big-name animation distributors,{ said Curtis.

Johnson's outfit, Famous Flying Films, will produce the show, with delivery begining in September 2003. The show is destined for both a terrestrial airing on the CBBC block, as well as filling a slot on the BBC's new preschool channel, CBeebies.

Coming up with a follow-up to Bob the Builder will be no mean feat, admitted Curtis, who co-developed Hit's flagship show and exec produced the first three series.

{But with the right property it can be done,{ he said. {It's all about coming up with strong central characters and adding a twist that takes it beyond broadcast into other areas. It's key for us that our characters have strong commercial legs off-screen.{

Further up Curtis' sleeve are two other preschool shows, both adapted from books, as well as two family dramas. {Simply everyone is looking for the next Sabrina,{ he said.


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