Posted on Monday 3 February 2014 by Ulster Business

Driftwood small

The new animated show from Belfast-based Sixteen South will feature an A-list cast including Stephen Fry, Peter Mullan and Ardal O'Hanlon, it was announced today.

Set for transmission on Nick Jr. in May, Driftwood Bay is a pre-school animation series about a little girl who creates an imaginary world from treasures she finds washed up on the beach.

It is the first foray into animation for television production company Sixteen South, which has created and produced four award winning children's series including Sesame Tree, Big City Park, Big & Small and Pajanimals, all for major networks. The company has pre-sold Driftwood Bay to over 20 territories including the US, UK, Scandinavia and Australia.

Lending their voices to the new series are Stephen Fry, star of TV's QI and recently seen in The Hobbit; Peter Mullan, who has appeared in the Harry Potter films and award winning films such as Tyranosaur; Jane Horrocks, star of Little Voice and Absolutely Fabulous; Father Ted's Ardal O'Hanlon; Tameka Empson from Eastenders; Annette Crosbie of One Foot in the Grave; and Richard Dormer, who starred as Terri Hooley in Good Vibrations and has appeared in Game of Thrones.

Sixteen South's creative director Colin Williams is delighted to have attracted the cast to breathe life into the characters of his new pre-school series.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine attracting a cast of this magnitude to Driftwood Bay," he said. "These incredibly talented people have taken our characters off the page and made them come alive in the most wonderful, creative way."

Actor Peter Mullan, who is best known for starring in gritty, hard-hitting television series and films, added: "Any actor would give his right arm to be doing a series like Driftwood Bay. It's sweet, innovative, funny and gentle with a good heart and a great sense of collective responsibility. I've never done any voice work on animation so I thought this was a nice chance to do something that my children can actually see me in for a change!"

A unique series about making fun and adventure from things that you find, Driftwood Bay was created by Sixteen South, based on an original idea from artist Joanne Carmichael, and featuring characters and environments completely created from objects found washed up on the beach.

Lily (voiced by Orlagh O'Keefe from Belfast) is a five year old who lives in a beach hut on the shore with her Dad (Dormer). Every day, the sea washes up a curious new treasure, which sparks Lily's imagination about what might be happening 'across the way on Driftwood Bay'. And so, with her best friend Gull - the clever seagull (Paul Currie), an adventure begins as they head off to Driftwood Bay – and its cast of colourful inhabitants.

The other characters include Salty Dog (Mullan), a jolly seafaring sailor with a story for every occasion; Nonna Dog (Crosbie), a sage granny who runs Cockle Café and who's always ready with some advice and a biscuit; Hatsie Hen (Empson), a train-driving hen with a need for speed and a love of excitement; Bull (O'Hanlon), a boisterous bull who always charges head first into things; Wee Rabbit (Horrocks), a gentle young bunny with a love of art, fairy tales and rainbows; and Lord Stag (Fry) an aristocratic deer with a taste for the finer things in life.

The series is set to air in May on Nick Jr. and will also air on RTE in Ireland, Sprout in US, ABC Australia, Kika in Germany, MTV in Finland, NRK in Norway, SVT in Sweden, and HOP! in Israel later this year. Broadcasters in Australia and the US are keeping the original voices to the series.

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