Furry Wheels came out of Gaumont’s relationship with Frédéric Martin, best known for Disney XD series Dude, That’s My Ghost. Gaumont asked him to come up with some new ideas, which he duly did, with Furry Wheels the one that bubbled to the top.
“It stood out because of the cars and the world Frédéric created, and the idea of a hyperactive sloth, which clashes with the normal mellow persona of that animal,” says Pierre Belaïsch, president of animation at Gaumont Television.
The sloth in question is André, who attends Racer’s School. “It’s a character-driven slapstick comedy,” Belaïsch says.
Other characters include André’s gibbon buddy, Chiabodo, and the pair get involved in various scrapes and adventures.
The show looks like it will have company in the car racing animation segment, with Turner reportedly rebooting Wacky Races and Disney tipped to do something TV-related with its Cars brand (not to mention the existing Turbo FAST Netflix show). But 52x11mins Furry Wheels takes a different tack. “Our starting point isn’t racing,” Belaïsch says. “It’s not just a race and then ‘the winner is…’ This isn’t about the cars; it’s about the characters about to get in them, and how they live together and get on in the race academy.”
The €7 million (US$8 million) show, which is mostly 2D, targets 6-8s, and France Télévisions and Disney XD are both on board, with VRT in Belgium a prebuyer.
The show: Furry Wheels
The producer: Gaumont Animation
The distributor: Gaumont Animation
The broadcasters: France Télévisions, Disney XD (EMEA)
The concept: Slapstick comedy following a hyperactive sloth enrolled at a racer school