London-based animation studio Lupus Films has optioned the rights to adapt the Brambly Hedge series. The books—originally written and illustrated by Jill Barklem and first published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in 1980—focus on the adventures of a community of mice living in the English countryside.
The brand fits perfectly into the company’s strategy of adapting classic literary properties with cross-generational appeal, says Ruth Fielding, joint managing director of Lupus Films. Previous efforts include The Snowman and the Snowdog and The Tiger Who Came to Tea.
Lupus will develop the books as a holiday special as there is an increased demand for family-friendly specials at that time. Additional episodes are expected to follow, and Fielding says Lupus is looking for a broadcast partner for that content. Once an agreement is inked, the partners will determine the format and length of the subsequent episodes together.
“We’re experimenting with different types of animation and not ruling out traditional hand-drawn [animation] or returning to a stop-frame treatment of the characters and environment,” she says.
Lupus picked up the rights from the author’s estate in an agreement brokered by Rockpool Licensing. Rockpool continues to control the brand’s licensing programming and is looking for new partners as Lupus expands the property with upcoming content. Additionally, HarperCollins will launch a publishing program to celebrate Brambly Hedge’s 40th anniversary in October.
“The fact that [the brand] is 40 years old proves it is evergreen and ripe for adaptation and reinvention,” says Fielding.