Mattel’s newly formed content output division, dubbed Mattel Creations, has begun production on two brand-new Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder feature-length animated television specials, while also striking more broadcasting deals for the upcoming second season of Bob the Builder.
Currently in production by Mattel subsidiary HIT Entertainment and with animation from Beijing-based Xing Xing Digital Corporation, Fireman Sam: Alien Alert will feature acclaimed Scottish actor David Tennant─of Dr. Who and Harry Potter fame─as the movie’s comedic baddie, Buck Douglas. Alien Alert will take the iconic fireman on a new adventure to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding alien-hunter-turned-TV-presenter Douglas’ arrival to the town of Pontypandy.
The hour-long special is set to air in May 2017 in conjunction with Fireman Sam’s 30th anniversary.
Fireman Sam currently broadcasts in more than 18 countries including France (France 5), Italy (Rai/Cartoonito), Germany (Kika), Poland (MiniMini), Spain (TVE), Israel (Hop) and Belgium (VTM Kzoom). And recent broadcasters snapping up the top-rated series include Cartoonito (UK), RTE (Ireland) and RTL Telekids (Netherlands).
As for the Bob the Builder brand, HIT has started production on the upcoming special Bob the Builder: Mega Machines –The Movie. The special will feature a voice cast that includes series regulars Lee Ingleby (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) as Bob, Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey) as Wendy, and Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners) as Scoop.
Slated for TV and DVD in 2017, the special is being animated by Canadian studio Rainmaker, which worked on the first and second seasons of the popular preschool program.
Canada’s DHX Media, which secured an exclusive content creation pact with Mattel in December 2015, will distribute the special worldwide, as well as the new Fireman Sam feature.
And in further extending the TV program’s international reach, Mattel Creations has sold Bob the Builder to Australia FTA TEN/ELEVEN(Australia), Dreamia-Panda (Portugal), NRK – Super (Norway), Karusel (Russia) and ATV-Minika (Turkey).
Since its original launch in 1993, Bob the Builder has aired in more 175 countries and has been translated into 40 languages.
The latest deals follow ratings success for the show’s first season across Europe with broadcasters France 5 (France), Z@pplin (Netherlands), Turner (UK), Super RTL (Germany) and MiniMini (Poland).