A new pre-school, stop frame animated TV series that highlights the importance of giving disability better visibility on screen and in children’s entertainment and media is going into production.
Called MixMups, the series concept was devised and created by Rebecca Atkinson, founder of the viral #ToyLikeMe campaign that has been the catalyst for many changes in attitudes towards inclusivity and representation both in the toy space and the wider children’s entertainment sphere.
Atkinson is recognised as a forerunner in the disruption of the global toy industry with the #ToyLikeMe campaign, which has now helped to deliver inclusivity for 150 million disabled children worldwide. Her latest achievement for the movement sees Raydar Media join forces with Mackinnon & Saunders to bring the new pre-school series into production.
The exciting new series – developed with support from the BFI’s Young Audience Content Fund – sees Pockets, Giggle, and Spin transported from their Helter-Skelter home, through a Magic Box Dress-Up portal, to embark upon costume-filled, problem-solving adventures which address the day-to-day life experiences of children living with and without disability.
“In MixMups I wanted to create an innovative show and brand, bursting with fun, magic and play, which would bring disability representation into the mainstream in a way which has never been done before,” said Atkinson.
According to Raydar Media’s Alison Rayson, the “dream team” that Atkinson has assembled to work on the series is a particular feather in the cap for its production, with all involved having first hand experience of disability and the ability to make that experience a central part of the series.
“Debbie Macdonald who is also co-writer on MixMups brought Raydar into the team and I feel very blessed that she did. Having a son with Down Syndrome, I know first hand that MixMups is the opposite of a “tick box” series,” said Rayson.
“It’s a character driven, funny show that everyone will be able to enjoy. We wanted to show that all children play differently and that this is something to embrace – MixMups encapsulates the joy of individuality and demonstrates that “there is always another way to play”.
Mackinnon and Saunders, whose credits include work on global preschool brands such as The Twirlywoos, Postman Pat SDS and Raa Raa the Noisy Lion will produce the show from their Manchester based studio and workshop facilities.
“We fell in love with MixMups the moment we saw it and are delighted to be able to use our considerable experience in producing preschool programming to bring the show to life,” said studio co-founder, Peter Saunders. “MixMups is first and foremost a fun filled entertaining show about these three lovable, highly authentic and highly individual kids through who audiences around the world can experience all the comedy ups and downs of pre-schoolers at play but in this wonderful, magical world that Rebecca has created. It truly is a show for everyone.”
There are licensing plans afoot for the series, too and the team has enlisted the licensing expert, Valerie Fry, as part of the Radar Media team to oversee the development of a global consumer products programme in tandem with the television rights team.