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Carlton and Zinkia Taking Novel Approach to Pocoyo

Novel Entertainment (U.K.) has joined forces with Carlton International (U.K.) and Zinkia Entertainment (Spain) to develop and produce their pre-school co-production POCOYO.

Novel Ent. will develop the characters and write scripts for the 52x7 series, with Novel's Lucy Murphy serving as script editor. Novel will also be responsible for casting and producing the U.K. version of the program. Novels co-founder Lucinda Whiteley will exec produce POCOYO, commissioned by Steven Andrew, controller of children's programs at ITV in the U.K. Whiteley has a wealth of experience in creating and managing top quality children's programs, including the long-running pre-school show, FIMBLES, which airs daily on CBBC, and has sold to 25 territories internationally.

POCOYO is aimed at pre-schoolers and their caregivers and tells the story of a young toddler's discovery of the world around him. Everything in his world is new - at least to him - and is full of surprises and opportunities to play and learn. POCOYO is accompanied by his friends Pato, a shy yellow duck; Elly, a large, graceful, pink elephant; Lula, his pet puppy; and Sleepy Bird, a large bird which is very good at... sleeping.

POCOYO is a 3D CGI series and will be produced using Softimage XSI at Zinkia's Madrid-based animation studio. The series has an innovative CGI style, employing strong colors and bold use of perspective.

"Zinkia is an incredibly talented new animation company and we are delighted to work with them on this project to bring Pocoyo and his friends to life, said Whiteley. POCOYO sits perfectly with our current portfolio of projects, and we are confident that with the backing from Carlton Intl it will be a major hit worldwide."

Emmanuelle Namiech, Carlton International's children's co-production exec said, "This is a substantial project and one that has created a great deal of excitement in the marketplace - and I am delighted that we now have the perfect team in place to develop the Pocoyo program and brand. Novel's expertise will complement Carlton's and together we look forward to working closely on the look and script with the talented creative team at Zinkia."

Carlton International, which is a major investor and exec producer on the project, holds the international television and merchandising rights in conjunction with Zinkia.

Granada International, a division of ITV Plc., is the newly integrated company resulting from the merger of Granada Intl and Carlton Intl. The company is one of the largest commercial distributors in Europe, having a unique catalog offering top U.K. network productions, international co-productions, formats, Hollywood TV movies, classic film libraries and quality programming from the worldwide independent production sector. For further information on programming across both constituent companies, please visit the Websites www.granadamedia.com/international and www.carltonint.co.uk

Novel Ent. was created by highly respected international children's television specialists Whiteley and Mike Watts in 2001 to produce children's and family programming - both animation and live action. Novel has already attracted several acclaimed and highly sought-after authors and creators and has an active development slate with a mixture of original ideas and optioned book-based projects. In addition to producing over 200 episodes of the international hit pre-school series FIMBLES, Novel is also developing a major new animated series based on Francesca Simon's highly acclaimed Horrid Henry children's books.

Zinkia Ent. (www.zinkia.com) was set up in 2001, by three Internet and telecommunications entrepreneurs, as a creative factory for audiovisual content and games. More than 50 people work at Zinkias Madrid studio, including designers, animators and technicians from the USA, U.K., Australia and Latin America. In addition to Zinkias production studio, the company also operates a commercial exploitation division.

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