Friday, May 15, 2015

Hornby Reconnects With Thomas The Tank Engine Train Range

Toymaker Hornby (LON:HRN) has announced the exciting news that it is relaunching its classic range of model trains based on "Thomas the Tank Engine" to mark the 70th anniversary of Reverend Awdry's ever-popular children's books!

The model railway set specialist last produced "Thomas The Tank Engine" products in 2013 but has agreed a new licence with HIT, the pre-school entertainment company which has control over the usage of the iconic "Thomas and Friends" brand.

The popular children's TV series, once narrated by ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, recently had a makeover with CGI cartoon shows aired regularly in the UK on Nickelodeon UK's top-performing preschool channel, Nick Jr. UK and Ireland, and as part of Channel 5's Milkshake! programming strand.

Jim Procter-Blain, marketing director at Hornby, told Sky News the new range would have nostalgia appeal so would be manufactured to last beyond the toy-room years.

Thomas' creator, Reverend Wilbert Awdry, inspects a setup for the Thomas TV series in 1981. Britt Allcroft, who created the show, is at right.

He said: "In terms of quality, our Thomas range is made to the same exacting quality as the rest of the Hornby range of model trains – paying absolute attention to detail and assembling every item by hand.

"We're very excited to see children playing with Thomas model trains again - but at the same time we want these products to stand the test of time - and to be passed down from generation to generation."

Richard Ames, Hornby chief executive, said of the new agreement: "Hornby has a strategy to develop licences with strong brands.

"We are delighted to be celebrating another agreement with Thomas & Friends.

"We have been consistently asked by our consumers about our plans and we are pleased to confirm the product line will be in the market in 2015."

In the UK market, "Thomas & Friends" is the number one pre-school character with total sales of merchandise related to the brand up 18% year to date, according to research from NPD data.

Thomas, James, Henry, Percy and Edward train figures will be available at retail from December 2015, ahead of the crucial Christmas season.

Hornby also announced Steve Cook as its new finance director, replacing the incumbent Nick Stone in the summer.

In additional "Thomas the Tank Engine" news, following speculation, Britt Allcroft, the creator of the hit children's television series "Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends", has revealed what drives the Isle of Sodor's Economy!:

"I do have the skinny on this, you know," says Allcroft. "Sodor Railways is a cooperative. It is owned by the passengers and the railway staff and — very importantly — all the engines." Sir Topham Hatt, Allcroft posits, is an official appointed by the cooperative. "He has a contract that's renewed on performance," and that's why he can be so gruff. "He needs to keep his job," she says.

Sources: Sky News, Proactive Investor UK.
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"Puffin Rock" Series Two Goes Into Production Ahead Of Shows UK Launch On Nick Jr.

The licensing industry news website is reporting the exciting news that production has begun on a second series of "Puffin Rock", a brand-new animated preschool series co-produced by Oscar nominated Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon, global publisher Penguin Random House Children's, and Northern Irish children's media company Dog Ears, ahead of the shows UK debut on Nick Jr. UK and Ireland on Monday 18th May 2015!

"Puffin Rock", which launched on RT√Čjr on Monday 12th January 2015, follows the funny adventures of a family of puffins who live on an Irish island and features natural history facts, pre-school learning, relationship dynamics and humour. The show stars 11 year old Kate McCafferty from Derry as the voice of Oona. McCafferty also sings the theme song for the series.

Throughout the series, Oona, and Baba explore the island – making friends and hunting for food while trying to stay safe. In the premiere episode "Puffin Practice," Oona tries to teach Baba how to be a grown-up puffling, but Baba doesn't take the game seriously. Oona soon realises that she was forgetting the most important thing - to have fun being a puffling.

"As the leading children's publisher, we're on the lookout for new ways of telling stories," said Francesca Dow, managing director, Penguin Random House Children's.

"Puffin Rock is wonderful storytelling and takes us beyond the book into animation, which we are thrilled to see on Nick Jr. for the first time in the UK, entertaining the children we've had in our heads since the first day of our strong partnership with Dog Ears and Cartoon Saloon."

Tim Patterson, VP, director of programming, Nickelodeon UK & Ireland added: "Cartoon Saloon, Penguin and Dog Ears have created a beautiful animation with storylines that I am sure will delight and engage Nick Jr. audiences.

"Puffin Rock is a welcome arrival to the Nick Jr. schedule and I cannot wait to see how families react to the series."

Chris O'Dowd ("Moone Boy", "The IT Crowd", "Bridesmaids"), the narrator for the new show, said: “I'm thrilled that Puffin Rock will be launching on Nick Jr. in the UK. I love creatures of the sky and sea and thought it was time to tell pre-schoolers about them, and "Puffin Rock" does just that.

"I found the whole experience of working on Puffin Rock to be very relaxing - there is something truly beautiful about puffins down by the water. When I'd go into the studio to voice my narration it chilled me out immediately and sorted out my whole day. I love anything to do with Puffins, I always have."

"Puffin Rock" is produced with the support of Northern Ireland Screen, Irish Film Board and Media European Fund.

To celebrate the UK premiere of "Puffin Rock", has launched the channels official "Puffin Rock" show website, where parents and children can discover more about "Puffin Rock", as well as watch clips and complete fun creative activities.

Viewers can catch "Puffin Rock" weekdays at 6:30pm on Nick Jr. UK & Ireland from Monday 18th May 2015!
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Sneak Peek Of New "Bella and the Bulldogs" Episode "Kicking and Scheming", Premiering 5/16 On Nickelodeon USA

To celebrate Nickelodeon USA premiering and showing the brand-new episode of the networks all-new hit original comedy series "Bella and the Bulldogs" titled "Kicking and Scheming" on Saturday 16th May 2015 at 8:30pm (ET/PT), Nick USA has unveiled a fantastic sneak peek preview of the brand-new episode on their official YouTube channel, which you can watch in the online streaming video clip below!:

In the all-new "Bella and the Bulldogs" episode "Kicking and Scheming", the Bulldogs are trying to play nice with the soccer team, but the turf (and a whole lot of balls) is flying as the two teams try to make due with sharing one field. Catch what happens in a new episode this Saturday at 8:30pm ET/PT, 7:30pm C!
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An INTENSE Sneak Peek Of New "Henry Danger" Episode "Jasper's Real Girlfriend", Premiering 5/16 On Nickelodeon USA

And now, a intense sneak-peek preview of the brand-new "Henry Danger" episode "Jasper's Real Girlfriend", premiering Saturday 16th May 2015 at 8:00pm (ET/PT), only on Nickelodeon USA!:

Feel the INTENSITY of Saturday May 16's all-new "Henry Danger" episode, "Jasper's Real Girlfriend". IT'S NOT ALL LAUGHS IN SWELLVIEW!

In "Jasper's Real Girlfriend", when Jasper's (Sean Ryan Fox) summer camp girlfriend, Courtney Sham (Jada Facer) is in town, she quickly grows jealous. Following a incident with a ceiling fan, Charlotte (Riele Downs) quickly realizes that there might be something suspicious about her! Check out a new episode of Henry Danger this Saturday at 8/7c!

Plus, in a second brand-new video, Ella Anderson (Piper Hart) pranks the cast of "Henry Danger"...or does she?:

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