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Mixels, coming to a TV/computer/phone/tablet/shop near you

In a bid to become the next small children's must-have character, Cartoon Network and Lego have combined to launch Mixels, which will be coming to the UK this February in a global, multiplatform launch.

The Mixels brand will be rolled out in multiple territories. It goes on screen in the form of animated shorts in the UK from mid February, preceded by a website launch. Then comes the launch of  Mixels collectible building sets and the Calling All Mixels app.

Cartoon Network has refined the launch based on its knowledge that kids media consumption changes every day and is throwing everything at it.

Mixels  are colourful creatures who can mix and combine with each other. They live in tribes of three, with each tribe based around a unique element. The Infernites are fiery and short tempered, but handy for a barbeque. The Cragsters are the industrious mining tribe and the Electroids are a quirky bunch with enough nervous energy to light up the whole world. Nixels, annoying and destructive little creatures, wreak havoc over the Mixel land trying to tear down and break apart the tribes.

The animated shorts, consisting of 1-2 minute segments, feature any number of characters on a series of adventures where they will be able to 'mix' (two characters combine); 'max' (all three members of the tribe combine) or 'murp' (when the combination doesn’t quite fit). 

Created for Cartoon Network by John Fang (Generator Rex, Ben 10) and Dave Smith (Powerpuff Girls), Mixels is executive produced by Jennifer Pelphrey, Tramm Wigzell, Brian Miller and Rob Sorcher and is produced at Cartoon Network Studios.

The shorts and more about the characters and setting of the Mixels world will appear on the website. Children will be able to mix Mixels to discover combinations and play mini-games featuring characters from different tribes. As new waves of Mixels are introduced, new tribes and mini-games will be added to the site.

The Calling All Mixels app has been developed by Hibernum Creations and published by Cartoon Network Games.
Lego Mixels is a new series of buildable toys that create collectible characters which will be released throughout the year in tribes such as Frosticons, Infernites, Stretchers, Cragsters, Electroids and Fang Gang. Kids will be able to mix and combine the Lego Mixels.


Posted 31 January 2014 by Pippa Considine

TV ratings: the winners and losers in 2014 so far

So far in 2014, the BBC has been hitting ratings highs with drama, while Channel 4 has had mixed fortunes and Love Productions is in the thick of it on both channels.

Call the Midwife
returned to BBC one on Sunday evening with its third series and its biggest audience yet, clocking an average of 9.6 million during its hour long slot. It was followed by the first episode of new BBC drama The Musketeers, which also did well, with around seven and a half million viewers, while on ITV, the new series of Mr Selfridge attracted closer to five million.

The Great Sport Relief Bake Off, airing across last week, trounced the BBC's new NHU extravaganza Hidden Kingdoms, which debuted on Thursday at 8pm and coincided with the Bake Off finale. The Bake Off kicked off on Monday, pulling in 3.7 million for BBC Two  and going up against another Love Productions success story on Channel 4, Benefits Street.

Benefits Street has been the biggest TV story this month on many levels, including ratings. Channel 4's biggest ratings winner in over a year, it beat the other channels in the 9pm slot on Monday and attracted over five million viewers both this week and last week and almost as many on its first week on air. It outperformed drama on BBC One, New Tricks, and on ITV, The Bletchley Circle.

With two more weeks to go and controversy over the programme still raging, Benefits Street will hope to keep those numbers until the end of its five week run.

Channel 4 has had less success with its highly anticipated cook off, The Taste, with Nigella Lawson on a Tuesday at 9pm. The series, made through CPL, started out with 1.8 million viewers, but fell to one million viewers in the second week. It was up against Death In Paradise on BBC One which pulled in seven million.

It's not just BBC drama that's been going strong this month, starting with Sherlock getting close to 10 million, there's also been a boost to key entertainment show The Voice, now in its third series. In the first week, new judge Kylie Minogue appeared to have buoyed numbers by an extra two million, with 8.4 million watching the first Saturday night episode of the current run and a 34 per cent audience share, compared with just over six million for the first episode of the last run in 2013. This week the share was still up, at 32 per cent.

Posted 22 January 2014 by Pippa Considine

BFI launches year of Chinese cinema

Following the UK trade delegation to China last December, during which a landmark film co-production treaty was agreed, the BFI has declared a year of business, trade, creative and cultural collaborations between the UK and China.

BFI specific activity, entitled Electric Shadows (the Chinese term for movies or dian ying), will include BFI exhibition, archive, digital, education, theatrical and DVD distribution and publishing initiatives, with the aim of opening up previously hard to see Chinese cinema to UK audiences and making UK film accessible to what will soon become the world’s biggest box office nation.

The BFI is working alongside partners throughout the year, including the British Council, DCMS, UKTI and the GREAT Britain Campaign.

Electric Shadows
starts with a visit in February from Chinese film director Feng Xiaogang, hosted by the BFI. To complement Spectacular China, a season of his films throughout the month, a special Gala screening of Back to 1942, China’s official entry for this year’s Academy Awards, and an on-stage career interview with Feng will be held at BFI Southbank on 21st February.

Alongside a UK presence at FILMART, Hong Kong’s International Film & TV Market in March, the BFI and the British Council will work with the Beijing International Film Festival in April to lead a trade delegation and present British film at the festival.

From June until October the BFI will continue its Electric Shadows programme by staging an exploration of Chinese cinema in the UK, A Century of Chinese Cinema.

A programme of contemporary and historic British film from the BFI and partners, including TIFF and the British Council, will be shown in Beijing in the Autumn alongside a newly restored and rare collection of early non-fiction Chinese films (1901-1930’s) from the BFI National Archive.

Amanda Nevill, BFI ceo said, "China is becoming one of the most important cultural and economic partners for film and is a key territory in the BFI’s international strategy for film. With this celebratory year, the BFI puts words into action by presenting a programme packed with dynamic economic, creative and cultural partnerships to foster this hugely important territory and the largest and fastest growing film audience in the world."

Posted 21 January 2014 by Pippa Considine

Love strikes TV gold: controversy, ratings and profit

Love Productions has struck gold. Channel 4's highest rated programme for over a year, Benefits Street also has the nation up in arms.

Meanwhile, the production company, also behind The Great Bake Off, has revealed an enviable turnover for an independent producer of factual shows.

Benefits Street saw just over 5 million viewers watching last night's show; it's not often that C4 is the highest rating channel at 9pm.

This is a jump from last week's ratings, which topped four million for the opening episode of the five-part series. Its consolidated ratings were closer to seven million.

The programme, which follows the lives of residents of Birmingham's James Turner Street, is turning out to be Channel 4's highest rating programme for over a year.

It has also proved hugely controversial, sparking the equivalent of a twitter riot, protests across the media and in three D, with much banner waving outside Love Production's London offices earlier this week.

In an interview in The Guardian at the weekend, Love Productions creative director Richard McKerrow asked viewers to judge the series as a whole, across the five episodes, each of which tackles a different aspect of lives in the street. 

McKerrow also suggested that there was no system of aftercare for the subjects of reality TV shows. Benefits Street has not only kicked up a media storm, but led to several residents being investigated for fraud.

Meanwhile, Love Productions is reporting a turnover of £13m, with profits at £1.4m, up 25 per cent on the previous year. Income is rising as viewers of The Great British Bake Off across the world are inspired to make cupcakes and bake fruit bread.

It is surely a factual TV producer's dream: creating huge talking point TV, as well as entertaining audiences round the world and making some money.

Can't resist it.....What's not to Love?

Posted 14 January 2014 by Pippa Considine

Gravity: behind the scenes film

Warner Bros has released a new featurette that includes behind-the-scenes footage of the making of Gravity, featuring interviews with director/co-writer/co-film editor Alfonso Cuaron, actors Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, co-writer Jonas Cuaron, producer David Heyman, production designer Andy Nicholson, co-film editor Mark Sanger, visual effects supervisor Tim Webber, composer Steven Price and supervising sound editor Glenn Freemantle.

Posted 07 January 2014 by Pippa Considine
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