Skye-based producer of The Inbetweeners set to turn East Lothian illustrator's children's books into animated series
Now the island adventures of Archie, who starts a new life after inheriting a remote cottage, are to take centre stage in what could become Scotland’s answer to Pingu.
A Skye-based film and TV producer has revealed that he is developing a full “stop-motion” animation series based on the books about a well-dressed dog created by East Lothian artist, author and illustrator Domenica More Gordon.
Chris Young, best known as producer of The Inbetweeners, is joining forces with her and the BBC after making a pilot which will be shown at the Inverness Film Festival next week.
Ian Mackinnon and Peter Saunders, creators of Fantastic Mr Fox and Bob The Builder, and Bafta-winning Scottish animators Ainslie Henderson and Will Anderson worked on the Screen Scotland-backed pilot ahead of a planned start of production on a series in 2020.
More Gordon, whose miniature felted model dogs have been snapped up actor Brad Pitt and rock star Pete Townshend, has sold her books all over the world over the last decade, including a Japanese series. She and Young first discussed an adaptation after meeting on holiday in North Uist.
Although Archie, who has his own pet dog, does not venture to the islands in the books, the TV show will be based there.
Mr Young, who has set up his own film and TV talent school on Skye, said: “I initially told Domenica that I didn’t really do animation and thought it was really expensive. But when I saw these fantastic models that she makes I just thought they were to die for.
“Archie arrives in the Outer Hebrides in the pilot and the rest of the series follows his adventures there. All the characters he meets are dogs, but we will able to tackle all kinds of really interesting contemporary issues, like community and environment. He will becomes a new person.
“The initial idea is to make around 26 seven-minute episodes. The long-term intention is for it to run and run, like Pingu, The Clangers or The Magic Roundabout. We have big ambitions for it.
"It’ll definitely be for kids, but also for adults as well. None of the characters speak, so it will have global appeal.”
New life for Archie
More Gordon, from Musselburgh, who based the original character on her own terrier, who passed away last year, plans to co-write the series on the island of Berneray.
She said: “I’ve had a real love of the Outer Hebrides since I was a child. Once you’ve got that, it’s the only place you really want to go to. Archie is basically my alter-ego.
“Chris and I had the idea a few years ago about how great it would be if there was a series about Archie having a life there.
“It somehow never went away, people got more interested, the BBC came up to see me in my studio and, amazingly, here we are. I was blown away by the pilot and have loads of ideas for the series.
"I’d love it if Archie ended up as iconic, fantastic and brilliant as Pingu. I want it to appeal to everyone.”