Paris, France’s Dargaud Distribution has had a busy summer locking in the first round of sales for its two newest book-based properties.
Leading the sales race with four broadcasters committed so far is Billy & Buddy, a 2-D animated series for the eight to 12 set based on a 45-year-old comic strip called Boule et Bill that’s written and inked by Jean Roba. Book collections of the weekly strip have sold more than 25 million copies over the last five years, and the TV translation by Dargaud Marina and Canada’s Tooncan will launch on TF1 (a co-pro partner) in Q4, before rolling out on Switzerland’s TSR and Belgium’s RTL later on in the quarter. Teletoon France, also on-board as a co-producer, has picked up French cable rights for a fall ’05 launch.
The 104 x 6.5-minute series centers on Billy and his dog, two carefree heroes who work together to solve problems for their circle of friends. In one episode, they decide to help their pet turtle pursue her dream of becoming the world’s first flying turtle. After failed attempts that include sneaking Caroline into a suitcase so she can fly with Billy’s dad to Canada, she has just about given up when Billy and Buddy recruit a flock of friendly birds to lift her up into the air. (OK, technically it’s not flying, but it’s good enough for a turtle.)
Also on a sales roll is Childhood Stories, a collection of eight half-hour specials from Storimages and Les Films de l’Arlequin based on classic kid tales including Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper and Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass: And What Alice Found There. The 2-D animated specials will launch in Q4 on NRK in Norway, France’s Teletoon and TV3 in Spain, before rolling over to Italy’s RAI 3 in the spring. Dargaud Distribution will be aiming to secure broadcast berths for both shows in Sweden, Finland, Australia, Germany, the U.K. and Japan at MIPCOM.