Roger Knights had no idea a childhood game could come to this. The Fingles, a 26 x 11-minute, 2-D animated series for kids ages three to seven, will air next year. The US$2.4-million TV series, based on Knights’ preschool book characters, has been pre-sold to CITV in the U.K., and YTV in Canada. The series, which is also available in a 52 x five-minute format, is being co-produced by the U.K.’s Treehouse Productions and by Cambium Entertainment in Canada.
The Fingles emerged from a fantasy game Knights played with his brother to while away the school day. ‘A long time ago, when we were really bored at school-probably during math-we played with these characters that we invented,’ Knights says. The 11 characters are formed with a child’s hand – two, if you include Big Fat Fingle. Knights’ creations not only relieved his ennui with grade-school curriculum, but also provided him with a convenient cover at home. ‘They would jump in the jelly, they would take the last biscuit-not me,’ Knights explains.
Knights didn’t forget about his digital pals when he grew up. ‘I started to write some stories down,’ Knights says. ‘The characters have huge depth because they are 40 years old,’ he laughs. ‘Some of them are foul and naughty, and some are trying desperately to be good people.’ They lend themselves to creative play because they can be anything, Knights says. ‘And you don’t have to buy any equipment,’ he adds.
The characters were presented to children ages three to seven in an independent research survey conducted before the publication of the first Fingles book. There are now six books that have sold 555,000 copies in the U.K. During that initial market research study, ‘we brought them out and they took over-the children took right to it,’ Knights says.
Every episode will include a live-action intro, which will teach children how to create each fingle.