A ground-breaking animated show, MixMups features disabled lead characters and will lead to a global licensing and merchandising programme.
Channel 5’s Milkshake! is to be the broadcast home of MixMups, its first animated pre-school series to feature disabled lead characters and be made by a team with lived experience of disability.
The series was created by Rebecca Atkinson, the founder of the viral #ToyLikeMe campaign which called for more diversity in children’s industries. A global licensing and merchandising programme, helmed by Raydar Media, will roll out in 2023.
Developed and produced with support from the UK Government funded Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF), which is managed by the BFI and in collaboration with Raydar Media, the 52 x 10-minute stop-motion animated series for three to five-year olds, is inspired by all children’s love of “mixing” and combining items as a way of playing, exploring and discovering. It centres around three friends, the MixMups: neat and tidy Pockets, creative and inventive Giggle and boisterous and physical Spin, along with their lovable assistance pets, Roller Guinea and Yapette the guide dog, who all live in a wheelchair-accessible Helter-Skelter house in Mixington Valley.
Each episode sees the friends use their magical wooden spoon and mixing box to ‘Mix up the Magic’ of play and transport themselves on a host of comical adventures. Through their young, imaginative minds, they embrace a variety of ways to play, entertain each other and embark upon day-to-day problem-solving challenges with the help of the trunky-beaked Lucky Loover Bird, covering core themes such as individuality and friendship.
Now entering production, Milkshake! will premiere MixMups in March 2023. The series will be produced by Manchester-based animation house Mackinnon & Saunders (Postman Pat, Raa Raa the Noisy Lion and Twirly Woos).
Series creator, Rebecca Atkinson said: “I am over the moon that MixMups will be joining Milkshake! It was my dream to create a compelling show that draws on my own experiences as a disabled person to create lovable characters and stories and really ‘mix’ up what disability representation looks like. As a child I loved mixing up potions, food, cake mix, paint, even toys in the bath. I hope that MixMups will inspire a generation of pre-schoolers to reach for the nearest wooden spoon and ‘mix up the magic’ of play too.”
“We couldn’t be more thrilled that the wonderful MixMups, a show that celebrates individuality and the distinct play styles and personalities that pre-schoolers have, is joining the Milkshake! line-up,” said Louise Bucknole, vice president, Children’s Programming, Paramount UK and Ireland. “It’s vital to us that our young audiences and their families see themselves reflected in our storytelling; our cast of MixMups all have very different characters, and when they come together, magical things happen.”
She added: “It is also our first commission which from its very genesis, has been entirely inspired and created with the experiences of disabled children in mind. Working with Rebecca and a core production team that has lived experience of disability, we are confident we can bring a level of authenticity, understanding and commitment to the show, unlike any other. We can’t wait for fans of Milkshake! to fall in love with the MixMups just as we have.”