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  "Muddle Earth" launches on BBC1 and BBC HD
In a Muddle    (12.03.10)

   If you've browsed the kids section of your local Waterstone's some
   time over the last few years, there's no doubt you'll have come
   across the funtastic offerings of Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell.
   This popular pairing have so far brought us the bestselling
   Edge Chronicles, a series of Far-Flung Adventures, and the
   on-going High-Stacking of Barnaby Grimes, as well as umpteen
   side and solo projects in and around and between. Suffice it
   to say, they're very busy chaps...

   Well, now one of their most popular volumes - Muddle Earth -
   has been adapted into an animated series by the BBC. First
   published in 2003, the book is a playful spoof of "Lord of the Rings"
   ("Middle Earth, geddit?) and all those elf-stuffed fantasy quest tales
   that have followed in its wake over the years, and it features lots
   of daft goings-on between Randalf the Wizard, a lad called Newt,
   a goth fairy called Veronica Pesticide, Horned Baron Smink,
   and his Head Gardener-turned-Manservant Benson, Not-Very-
   Big Norbert (who really is quite big) and the evil blue teddy
   bear that is - gulp - Dr. Cuddles.

   The 26x11mins series has actually made a little bit of tv history,
   because it's the BBC's first ever in-house long-form animation
. It's been directed by Tim Harper and Vincent James, with
   Phil Chalk producing. The lead writers are Rob Sprackling and
   John Smith and music for the series was performed by the BBC
   Philharmonic Orchestra - which is another first for the channel.
   Oh yes, and topping the voice cast is that old animation stalwart
   David Jason (DangerMouse, Toad, etc.), who plays Randalf.

   The first episode, "Footwear of Doom", premieres on Monday
   15th March, at 3.50pm on BBC1, with a repeat on BBC HD at
   5.45pm. And subsequent episodes premiere at the same times
   every day on both channels, for the next couple of weeks. In
   all there'll be thirteen episodes premiering in this first run, with
   the next thirteen scheduled to air in September.
   Freakish Kid worked on Muddle Earth, at an earlier stage in its
   development, and it's very interesting to learn how the producers
   shifted it from a 3D production to a 2D affair, and to see their
   take on the show.

   Oh, and Trivia Hounds will note this isn't the first time that
   the BBC have set foot in "Muddle Earth". John Sessions read
   the book for "Jackanory", back in 2006 (here's the DVD)


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