Star Trek legend George Takei has joined a cast of some of the UK’s best actors and to lend his voice to a new animated children’s series, Love Monster, scheduled to air on CBeebies in January 2020.
Produced by Boat Rocker Studios and UYoung, Love Monster is a 2D animated series based on the best-selling Love Monster series of books by award-winning British author and illustrator, Rachel Bright, and published by HarperCollins Children’s books.
Takei will star alongside Tamsin Greig, Javone Prince, Sarah Hadland, Lewis Macleod, Freya Parker, and Emma Maclennan. The Star Trek alumni will voice Elder Panda, joining characters Bad Idea Puppy, Tiniest Fluffiest Bunny, Elder Kitten and Book Cub.
Showcasing the importance of kindness, empathy, connection and instinct, the adventures follow the hairy hero, Love Monster, as he navigates the challenges of being the only monster in Fluffytown – a world of cute baby animals.
With a lot of help from his friends, Love Monster learns to follow his heart rather than his slightly ‘over-thinky’ head, as he searches for the right thing to do.
George Takei, who plays Elder Panda, said: “Love Monster celebrates inclusive behaviour and collaboration and that’s also very much my philosophy – we find strength, joy and vitality in diversity coming together. I never imagined myself being a panda but I’ve always enjoyed seeing them, especially the young cubs because they’re so cute! Elder Panda is just an older version of them and is still whimsical, fun-loving and life embracing – I suppose it’s a reflection of my standing in human life.”
Tamsin Greig, who is the Narrator, added: “Love Monster has a wonderful warmth and empathy to it. The series shows that by embracing our differences and helping each other, we can make things better for everyone, a particularly valuable lesson for children in today’s world.”
Tony Reed, genre lead, BBC Children’s Animation & Puppetry: “We’re thrilled to have such a wonderful cast bringing the residents of Fluffytown to life with such wit and warmth. They lend the perfect balance of comedy and compassion to Love Monster’s colourful and funny adventures. These characters are funny, diverse and inclusive – all the values CBeebies holds dear to its heart.”
A collaboration between BBC Children’s in-house Productions, Boat Rocker Studios and Chinese production company, UYoung, Love Monster is exec produced by Tony Reed for the BBC, Chapman Maddox for Boat Rocker and James Chen Gu for UYoung. Animation for the series is being produced in the UK by Karrot Animation and A Productions, with a proportion of pre-production on scripts, storyboards and design provided by UYoung’ s studio in China.
Boat Rocker Studios will distribute the series and manage the global brand and licensing excluding China and South East Asia, which will be managed by UYoung. Boat Rocker Studios is currently targeting leading licensees across a range of products/categories.