Madcap alien puppets Zig and Zag are well-known to viewers in the British Isles of a certain age, having been incredibly popular in Irish broadcaster RTÉ’s kids schedules in the 90s and then becoming a fixture in popular Channel 4 morning show The Big Breakfast in the UK.
Now the pair are back, but in animated form. “Creatively, the idea was to a young generation,” says John Reynolds, chief commercial officer of Jam Media, coproducer and the distributor of the new show, titled Zig and Zag. “RTÉ wanted to do it and because of its connection with Zig and Zag the BBC came on board.”
Zig and Zag creators Ciaran Morrison and Mick O’Hara, who run Double Z, are writing the new 26x11mins offering and will once again voice the characters.
Double Z and Jam are complemented by Flickerpix on the production roster, with Jam handling all international sales. As well as CBBC and RTÉ, Northern Ireland Screen, The Irish Film Board and The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland have all contributed to the budget.
The animated show follows the titular aliens as they travel to earth. “They are basically two teenage boys from a planet called Zog, who have grown up on trash TV from Earth, and think it is wonderful. It’s a slapstick sitcom for 6-9s,” says Reynolds.
“There is a lack of good quality animation for that age group, and so much is driven by America,” he adds. “In Europe, we will start with the public broadcasters because they have the slots. In the US it is different as we don’t yet have enough episodes for the pay channels, which need 52, so we may look at other options.”
The show: Zig and Zag
The producers: Double Z, Jam Media, Flickerpix
The distributor: Jam Media
The broadcasters: RTÉ (Ireland), CBBC (UK)
The concept: Animated series featuring two madcap aliens who embrace trash TV and celebrity culture here on earth