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The Wombles are back


Television news

FOLLOWING the acquisition of the major shareholding in Wombles Copyright Holdings, Dramatico Entertainment announce their plans for the administration of the rights in this iconic brand.

With the controlling stake in the core rights now under one roof for the first time in The Wombles’ history, Dramatico’s chairman Mike Batt now plans a “holistic, multi-platform re-launch”.

Dramatico have appointed Genevieve Dexter of Serious Lunch as co-executive producer with Mike Batt. Dexter’s role will include a raise of £5 million to fund a variety of media and to source UK and international partners for the exploitation of the rights. Speaking about The Wombles, she said:

“Many people have attempted to bring back classic properties, and failed. What sets The Wombles apart is that they were ahead of their time, as the first recycling enthusiasts and with the extra dimension of the band which brought them to a family arena. The rights have now been regrouped and adapted for 21st century tastes and media consumption, although the relevance of the original themes holds strong and the messages therein are perhaps even more widely accepted today.”

Dramatico Animation Ltd will be creating a series of 52 × 11 minute episodes for Channel 5’s Milkshake slot set for TX in 2015. Batt confirms that the new TV series will be CGI saying “it will look more like stop motion but with great fur. We believe that there are audiences of new children and international audiences who missed The Wombles the first time around and will be thrilled to see the brilliant high quality animation and new musical productions we shall be mounting.”

The animation test will be available to view at MIPJunior in Cannes in October 2013.

With comedy, creativity and community at the heart of the brand, the multi-platform launch will include:

Online Wombles World interactive experience created in association with Dubit.

Live action/CGI feature film.

Brand associations and character merchandise re-launch.

The Wombles pop group tour to be announced.

The Wombles were created by Elizabeth Beresford in six novels first published in the UK by Bloomsbury Press between 1968 and 1976. Two stop-motion series (60 X 5 minutes) were produced in 1973 – 1975 for the BBC and in 1995 Cinar (Canada) produced a stop-motion series for ITV. The BBC episodes will be available for secondary and ancillary use.

A very successful pop group “The Wombles” had eight top 40 single hits in the British charts, becoming the top selling singles group of 1975 and helping the characters to appeal to the whole family – becoming a household name and part of the British fabric of life. This gave rise to a merchandising phenomenon on a scale previously unheard of. The characters were and are still known in Northern Europe and English speaking countries and the TV series’ were transmitted in many territories.

Mike Batt wrote the music for the TV series and the pop group. He has a successful career as a songwriter, producer, artist and conductor and in 2000 established his own record label Dramatico Entertainment. As well as achieving resounding success with Katie Melua, who has now sold more than 11 million records, Dramatico has a broad roster of artists including the recent number 1 album artist, Caro Emerald.