BBC Children’s unveils host of entertaining super-science shows for 2013
Sarah & Duck, a charming new 2D animated series about a girl with big eyes and a green hat and her flappy, quacky best friend Duck, waddles onto CBeebies from Monday 18 February 2013.
Co-created by Karrot Entertainment Creative Director Tim O’Sullivan and designer writer Sarah Gomes Harris - based on her own love of ducks as a child, Sarah & Duck (20x7min) follows the delightfully-drawn duo as they embark on a series of simple but exciting adventures, exploring the world in their own imaginative, quirky way. From playing tennis to flying kites and visiting the doctor to shopping for toys, Sarah & Duck are inseparable as, together, they learn about the world around them.
“My parents used to take me to Hampstead Heath as a child and I’ve always associated pond life and ducks with contentment,” says Sarah Gomes Harris.
“There’s something very heartening about watching comical little birds mulling and yapping around. I hope Sarah & Duck will give viewers a bit of laughter and an enjoyable little pocket in their day.”
Fresh from sparring with Peter Capaldi in the BBC’s smash hit comedy The Thick Of It, screen and stage star Roger Allam (Parades End, The Iron Lady) lends his dulcet tones to Sarah & Duck as the narrator, with the voice of Sarah provided by seven-year-old newcomer, Tasha. And Downton Abbey Star Lesley Nicol puts down her rolling pin and dons a scarf to voice recurring character the friendly Scarf Lady.
“It’s curious that apart from the baroque ranting, Sarah & Duck is very similar to The Thick Of It – great characters, excellent writing and lots of humour!” says Roger Allam.
Sarah & Duck is produced by London-based animation house Karrot Entertainment – their first in-house series project. The series is also set to be broadcast on BBC Worldwide’s CBeebies channels and has been snapped up by broadcasters around the globe.
“Utterly beautiful in style, Sarah & Duck has a gentleness and thoughtfulness which makes the characters very easy to engage with,” says producer Jamie Badminton.
“The attention to detail in the writing and the animation makes you really care about this strong-minded little girl and her impulsive duck. We hope that their unique bond – they both happened to be in the market for a best friend at the same time – resonates with viewers of all ages.”
Alison Stewart, Head of CBeebies Production, Animation and Acquisitions, adds: “The world as experienced by Sarah & Duck will charm children and adults alike, beautiful animation, quirky characters, lots of humour and stories always told from a child’s point of view. This series is sure to become a favourite with our audience.”
Sarah & Duck makes its debut week daily on CBeebies from Monday 18 February.
For more information: Beverley Wilkins, Beverley@beverleywilkins.co.uk, 07525 042572
Sarah & Duck goes global
How Sarah & Duck went from a doodle on a scrap of paper to the brink of global success
During a lull in a development meeting, designer Sarah Gomes Harris doodled a picture of herself walking with a duck on a lead on a scrap of paper. But it wasn’t until much later when she was working in a shop that Sarah’s thoughts returned to the little drawing.
“I was trying to come up with one-minute animated stings for a show Karrot Animation were doing and, during a lull in ideas, doodled myself on the back of the page walking along with a pet duck,” explains Sarah.
“It looked very little like the characters now, a stick woman in a hat and coat with a duck on a lead. I kept the scrap for a while then after that project, I was working in a small shop and it was the need to get out of that job that made me look at that drawing again. I talked the idea through with Tim O'Sullivan and then I started working on it every moment I could, designing and re-designed Sarah. The name originally was only meant to be temporary, but after a while, nothing else sounded right.”
After expanding the idea and making of couple of pilots the team pitched the idea to a group of broadcasters at Cartoon Forum in Hungary. The positive reaction was instantaneous with CBeebies registering their interest on the spot.
Says series producer Jamie Badminton: “Ever since first pitching the series in a room full of 150 broadcasters and distributors back in 2010, the appetite from all corners of the world has been overwhelming. Everyone seems to be responding to the characters on an emotional level as well as falling in love with the artwork. Australia and Scandinavia were massive early fans, and it looks like we could be in some giant territories in our first year which is wonderful.
“Sarah has followed her instincts and memories for how a young child really behaves, rather than creating the effect of an adult thinking through a child costume. Her lifetime love of duck-watching gives life and a natural appeal to Duck. The character of Sarah especially is written with such great child logic and close observations and because the honestly of children is universal, it resonates widely."
Sarah Gomes Harris is more matter of fact about the show’s global appeal, she says: “I’m probably not the only person in the world that likes ducks!”
With a firm commission from CBeebies and funding from BBC Worldwide, Karrot Entertainment have turned Sarah’s scrap of paper into a 40-part series with comedy star Roger Allam (The Thick Of It, The Iron Lady) narrating. And the early popularity and success of Sarah & Duck has enabled Karrot Entertainment to expand from a handful of employees to nearly 40.
“Our passion for animated storytelling has always remained our number one driving force and unites everyone here,” says Jamie.
“We've been nurturing a team of very gifted artists that has only been growing in strength since we opened five years ago. We count ourselves as an artist-run studio, keeping the importance of entertainment and wise decision-making for storytelling's sake at our heart.”
As the series prepares to make its debut on CBeebies in February, Jamie outlines his hopes for their creation: “It's so exciting to see the characters go out into the world and I really hope both children and their parents thoroughly enjoy them. It was vital to us that the characters behave in a relatable and very honest way to respect the intelligence of our viewers both old and young. Sarah & Duck bonded when they were both in the market for friends at the same time and we hope that friendship is identifiable and ties all our surprising stories and additional characters together.”
Adds Sarah: “I write Sarah and Duck to make myself laugh. I hope Sarah & Duck will give viewers a bit of laughter and an enjoyable little pocket in their day."
Lots Of Shallots - Sarah & Duck find some free seeds in their newspaper and plant them to see what grows.
Sarah, Duck And The Penguins - Duck wants to be a penguin, so Sarah decides it is time for a trip to the zoo.
Cheer Up Donkey - Sarah & Duck attempt to find out why their friend Donkey seems so sad
Cake Bake - It's Duck's birthday so Sarah decides to bake a cake to celebrate.
Scarf Lady's House - Scarf Lady welcomes Sarah & Duck to her house full of scarves.
Robot Juice - Duck isn't careful enough with his favourite toy robot.
Bouncy Ball - Sarah's brand new bouncy ball has a rather unexpected problem.
Rainbow Lemon - Sarah & Duck make a colourful new friend during breakfast.
Sit Shop - When Duck's chair breaks, a bus trip to a very special shop is in order.
Kite Flight - On a windy day, Sarah and Duck try to get their new kite to fly.
Umbrella And The Rain – Sarah finds an umbrella that doesn't seem to like the rain.
Big Shop - Sarah & Duck visit a large department store, looking for some new toys.
Woollen Music - Scarf Lady's Jukebox inspires a knitted instrument band.
Doubles - Sarah and Duck try to play a tennis doubles match, but are two players short.
Fairground - A Fairground is being held in the park, but Sarah & Duck can't find their bench.
Sarah Gets A Cold - When Sarah has a cold, Duck helps her enjoy a visit to the doctors.
Ribbon Sisters - Sarah & Duck are exercising but the neighbours need their help.
Coloured Light - Rainbow's colourful glow inspires an art project.
Stargazing - Sarah and Duck are excited about seeing some shooting stars.
Strawberry Souffle - A sleepy Sarah attempts to bake a dessert for a hungry Duck.
The world as experienced by Sarah & Duck will charm children and adults alike, beautiful animation, quirky characters, lots of humour and stories always told from a child’s point of view. This series is sure to become a favourite with our audience.”