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Hit Children's Television Program, 'Noddy,' to Air Daily on PBS Member Stations Throughout the U.S.

NEW YORK, June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- BBC Worldwide and The Enid Blyton Company announced today that the Noddy children's television series has been added to the PBS daily children's schedule. Beginning September 6, 1999, Noddy will air Monday -- Friday on PBS stations nationwide as part of PBS's acclaimed "Ready to Learn" service. (Check local listings.) The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company handles marketing and licensing for the property in North America.

"Noddy" debuted in the U.S. in the fall of 1998, and has already proved popular with PBS viewers and stations. The program's success has led to the production of 25 new episodes, bringing the total number of "Noddy" episodes to 65. The new "Noddy" episodes will begin airing in the fall of 1999.

Based on the world-renowned children's books by Enid Blyton, "Noddy" is co-produced for children ages three to seven by BBC Worldwide, The Enid Blyton Company and Catalyst Entertainment, Inc. "Noddy" is currently viewed on more than 200 PBS stations throughout the U.S., and in Canada on the Canadian Broadcasting Company and TVOntario.

"We are pleased to have 'Noddy' join the PBS daily children's schedule," said John Wilson, PBS acting head of programming. "With its emphasis on the development of social and life skills, 'Noddy' helps PBS stations provide kids with the skills they need to start school ready to learn."

"As well as being a great deal of fun, the combination of music, live action, puppetry and animation in 'Noddy' empowers young viewers by encouraging creative play and problem solving techniques," said Rick Siggelkow, Vice President Children's Division BBC Worldwide and the show's executive producer and creator. "We are proud to join the daily PBS Ready to Learn schedule, and to be part of such an esteemed group. The 'Noddy' character has been cherished overseas for decades, and we are thrilled that American youngsters and their parents have given the program such a warm reception."

"Rick has created a wonderful roller coaster ride with 'Noddy.' 'Noddy's' focus on problem-solving, intergenerational relationships, imagination, and of course, fun, fits well into PBS's quality children's line-up," said Kenn Viselman, chairman and CEO of The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company. "We are delighted that PBS has recognized the valuable contributions this series has made in children's television, and I am thrilled to be working with my dear friend and colleague, Rick Siggelkow, again."

Noddy's Journey to PBS

Noted British author Enid Blyton first created the classic "Noddy" stories about a little boy who lives in Toyland almost 50 years ago, which have since sold more than 200 million books worldwide. In 1991, a very popular animated series, based on Blyton's books, was created by the BBC and aired in the United Kingdom. To create the new "Noddy" series, Rick Siggelkow wove the pre-existing animation into an original live action format, with new puppet characters, special effects, original songs and a cast of award-winning adult and child actors.

"Noddy" is set in an old-fashioned novelty shop called Notions, Oddities, Doodads & Delights of Yesterday or NODDY's, owned by the retired sea captain Noah Tomten. Every day after school, his grandchildren, Kate and Truman, and their friend D.J. gather at the shop to play and wait for their parents to finish work. As the children discover antique toys, books and other treasures in the shop, their imaginations are sparked and they begin to make up stories. The storytelling segues into the animated adventures of "Noddy" the mischievous wooden boy who lives in Toyland.

The Partners

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 349 public television stations. A trusted community resource, PBS uses the power of noncommercial television, the Internet and other media to enrich the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services that inform, inspire and delight. Available to 99 percent of American homes with televisions and to an increasing number of digital multimedia households, PBS serves nearly 100 million people each week.

BBC Worldwide was formed in 1994 to bring together the commercial and international activities of the BBC. BBC Worldwide has re-energized its children's division to identify programming with genuine cross-media potential for developing into global brands, while maintaining the BBC's commitment to produce the highest quality programming to entertain and inform children. Noddy represents one of these key properties and marks the first series BBC Worldwide has created for North America.

The Enid Blyton Company focuses on developing broadcasting, publishing, licensing and merchandising opportunities with the hundreds of characters created by the world's most popular children's author.

The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company (www.itsybitsyE.com) was launched to offer creators of unique properties a strong, dedicated partnership for production, distribution, licensing and marketing. Founded in 1995 by Kenn Viselman, The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company is known for inspiring "Safehaven Entertainment(TM)" - programming and products that maintain the highest levels of consideration for positive parenting while enhancing children's lives. The company's philosophy is "To be free to learn, Children must be free to dream!" The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company is a member company of North Coast Entertainment, a subsidiary of Handleman Company (NYSE: HDL).
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 9, 1999
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