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Animation, Education, Music, Puppets

Pip & Declan: BBC Bitesize

A tailor-made set of puppet adventures for BBC Bitesize to help primary schools introduce the topic of “Personal Development & Mutual Understanding” (PDMU).

In a recent study it came to light that over half of employees are experiencing anxiety. Shockingly, only 9% of these people are seeking mental health support. This is a failure of our current health and social care systems. However, one of the ways these issues are being addressed is to provide education and methods for people to express their worries earlier in life.

We felt excited by the brief as we understood the importance of the topic. We had young family members about to go into the education system for the first time, so this was a chance to shape some of the resources they would see in the future. It was a great opportunity to flex our creative muscles, whilst carefully delivering important and emotive information.

However, competition for this kind of work with such an established broadcaster is tough. We needed an inspiring solution and an impactful way to deliver the idea. So, armed with a suitcase full of detailed market and audience research, and information on the education system we pitched “Pip & Declan” to the BBC. 

A live action puppet show with colourful sets, hand crafted props, bespoke music and sound that is complemented with 2d animated sections to help amplify the message.

Pip & Declan are two lovable characters who help primary school youngsters navigate PMDU, a topic that has become key to a young person’s social skills, emotional intelligence, and confidence.

Pip is a confident little lady, with strong opinions, who loves nature and learning new things at school. Declan is mad keen basketball and painting, but he’s a little bit clumsy at times. The duo are best mates and together they help each other solve some of life’s little problems.

The project was an interesting learning curve for us as a studio for many reasons. To truly understand the topic we could leave nothing to chance and had to mine all the educational resources we had at our disposal. We crafted 17 unique scripts that captured the essence of PDMU and brought Pip & Declan to life.

We worked with an amazing team of creative folk including puppeteers, puppet makers, cinematographers, sound engineers, 2d animators, and set builders. Jobs and tasks sometimes overlapped, but the outcome was a team effect that helped produce a series that was informative, fun and visually arresting.

It was a joy working on such a hands-on project and bringing an array of creative disciplines together. Even sweeter was the reaction to the work from teachers and students in schools across Northern Ireland. There was strong admiration for the characters we created, and the teachers found them to be a great way to introduce the topic to the kids. Furthermore, all the episodes can now be viewed on the BBC iplayer which expands the audience reach.

It’s amazing to see two creations like Pip and Declan come to life, and they feel like they are part of the studio now. So, if you are looking for two reliable performers for your next big campaign, Piip and Declan are ready to go.

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