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INTERVIEW
TOTAL LICENSING
Grandpa in my Pocket
Mellie Buse and Jan Page, creators of Cbeebies show Grandpa in my Pocket, Jenny Johnstone of UK licensing agents
Brandzoo, and Polly Beel, Director, Marketing and Licensing at DHX Licensing which holds worldwide, television, home
entertainment and consumer products rights, speak to Total Licensing about how a look at the relationship of
grandparent and grandchild has become an international, live-action hit
TL: How was the concept of is known by many of the parents for
Jenny Johnstone comments:
Grandpa in my Pocket born? his previous work, including The Likely
“Following the licensing launch we
Mellie and Jan: We wanted to write Lads and New Tricks.
have had a hugely positive reaction.
about the grandparent and grandchild TL: Where is it set, and filmed?
We have already concluded a deal
theme initially - the shrinking grandpa Mellie and Jan: The fictional town of
with BBC Magazines for CBeebies
came later! It can be a wonderful rela- Sunny Sands is filmed mainly on the
Weekly and Toybox magazines, and
tionship. With so many children being Suffolk coast, which is a beautiful area.
Warner Bros will be releasing the
cared for by their grandparents in the It lends itself so well to the show,
first of its DVD titles in Q1 2010.
UK but we felt this was fairly unrepre- which is set in a traditional, pictur-
Our focus now is to secure fur-
Jan Page sented. But we wanted to deliver it in esque seaside town.
ther publishing, apparel and we are
an original way. This also helps it translate internation-
delighted with the level of interest
TL: How did it translate from a ally as well.
we have in these categories.”
first idea into a successful Cbee- TL: So what are the international
bies commission? plans for Grandpa?
Mellie and Jan: Originally, we were his grandchild is the responsible one Mellie and Jan: We have already had
planning a fantasy feature film. In terms - obviously we couldn’t have shown a great feedback - the first season has
of live-action, a few years ago when child being naughty and climbing trees been shown in Australia to positive
Mellie Buse we first had the idea, the technology and getting into scrapes, so that is how reviews. It will be shown in France, on
was just not affordable, so we were the concept of Grandpa shrinking and the Cbeebies channels in South Amer-
looking at animation. Then of course getting up to mischief came about. The ica, Norway, Iceland, Canada and also
Michael Carrington, Cbeebies Con- show itself portrays a happy family, on Al Jazeera. Territories have been
troller, commissioned Grandpa in my which itself is fairly unusual, but it also lapping it up.
shows that they are real - the TL: The licensing potential must be
brother and sister have their huge.
squabbles, everyone has their Mellie and Jan: It is. It certainly ex-
flaws, and we feel this makes tends beyond the range of T-shirts,
it more believable than having even beyond toys - people have asked
everything as a Hollywood-type us where they can buy Grandpa’s cap,
fairytale. where they can source the colour that
TL: What about the response the walls are painted. It really is a life-
so far? style brand.
Mellie and Jan: The response
has been overwhelming. Young-
Polly Beel added: “We acquired
er children really believe that
the property in 2008 and did a
Grandpa can shrink, and older
soft launch at last year’s MIP. There
children and their parents get
will be a larger launch this fall.
the joke, so it spans across the
Internationally we have had sales
ages in terms of popularity. We
to ABC in Australia, Al Jazeera,
have had emails from so many
and Canada. We also have many
Pocket and thought live action was the fans, ranging from 11 year olds say- European deals that have just been
best way to do the show, and also as ing how much they enjoy it, to moth- concluded, some of which will be
time has gone on the technology has ers telling us that their two year old announced at this year’s MIPCOM.
become more affordable. loves it. We encourage contact via the Grandpa has seen great success
TL: What do you think children find Grandpa website. We even have emails so far, given that it is a unique live-
most appealing about the show? from children saying ‘Can Grandpa action show. We’ve received some
Mellie and Jan: The relationship of come round to tea’. The show has lots excellent feedback, and believe
Grandpa with the family is really ap- of appealing characters, and we have there is nothing quite like it in the
pealing. We have reversed the roles, so a really high quality cast - James Bo- marketplace.”
that Grandpa is the ‘naughty’ one, and lam is a fantastic actor, and of course
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