UK pubcaster the BBC has launched Ignite, its “biggest ever” initiative to find and develop local animation talent.
The Pablo and Hey Duggee broadcaster is calling on submissions from both established producers and emerging creative talent and is looking for animation ideas that reflect the lives and culture of children growing up in the UK today.
Those who are successful will receive funding to take them through the development process with the potential for a BBC commission. Applications for the scheme are already open and will close on 15 August.
The initiative follows a pledge made by Patricia Hidalgo, director of BBC Children’s & Education, earlier this year to more heavily invest in the UK’s animation industry to create more home-grown shows that reflect the lives and culture of UK children and “offer an alternative to the plethora of American cartoons consumed by our kids.”
Hidalgo, who took on her current role last year, launched the initiative at the 2021 Children’s Media Conference yesterday, where she commented: “One of the things that I did notice when I came in was that we haven’t really invested in animation as much as we could have.
“Probably in the past there wasn’t a notion that animation could reflect kids’ lives, but I think animation has moved in different ways and has really developed in recent years and now animation really can reflect children’s lives in so many ways.”
Also speaking at yesterday’s conference, Sarah Muller, BBC Children’s head of commissioning and acquisitions for 7-12-year-olds, revealed that the corporation is particularly focused on animation for that age group at the moment: “We really need animation. We have world-class drama, we make the best factual for children in the entire world and we have great fact-ent.
“We have beautiful pre-school animation, but we just haven’t managed as well in the 7+ animation space. We know how to do it and we are going to do it and Ignite is the first step.”
Support and nurture
The initiative will consist of three stages, the first of which will see up to 20 ideas given an initial funding pot. Further funding will be allocated at stages two and three for submissions that make it through each round.
Sole creators who make it through the first stage will be paired up with a creative team to help build and develop their ideas.
Commissioners will be looking for “originality of ideas, innovative ways in which kids can engage with the show and its characters, the potential to develop the idea for multiple series, ideas that reach an underserved audiences, relatable storytelling, recognisable characters and international appeal.”
“We know there is a wealth of creative talent across the UK and we want to give everyone an opportunity to showcase their ideas,” added Hidalgo in a statement. “But we not only want to uncover the best talent and ideas, we also want to support and nurture those ideas and the talent behind them.”