A television production company from Gwynedd has clocked up its first international sales for a hit children’s show about a pair of mischievous twins with magical powers.
Caernarfon-based Cwmni Da has sold the first series of the award-winning Deian a Loli to four channels in Brittany after the original version proved hugely popular on S4C.
The live action series has been bought by TV Rennes, Tébéo, TébeSud and Brezhoweb and will be broadcast next year after being dubbed in Breton and Gallo, a regional form of French in the border lands of Brittany and Normandy, centred on Le Mans.
The deals were brokered by British distributor Videoplugger who are hopeful of clinching more sales in other countries.
The pre-school children’s programme won the Highly Commended award at the Broadcast Awards 2019, having previously won the 2017 BAFTA Cymru Awards for Best Children’s Programme.
The show’s runaway success was rewarded when S4C recently commissioned a third 26-part series for their children’s platform, Cyw.
By saying the magic word, “Ribidirew!”, Deian and Loli are able to freeze their parents while they go off on fantastic adventures.
As the original Deian a Loli, played by Erin Gwilym and Moi Hallam, were growing up, it was decided to recast the roles for the show’s current series.
The title roles are now played by Gwern Jones,12, from Llanrug, near Caernarfon and Lowri Jarman,11, from Llanuwchllyn, near Bala.
Meanwhile, real-life husband and wife Rhian Blythe and Simon Watts were drafted in as the new mum and dad to replace the original parents played by Sian Beca and Carwyn Jones.
Producer Angharad Elen was inspired to create the Deian a Loli series by her own children, Cain, eight, and Syfi, five, who are frequently consulted about potential storylines.
She said: “It’s fantastic news that the series has been sold to the four channels in Brittany and that our Celtic cousins will now be able to enjoy the twins’ adventures.
“I’m really looking forward to watching the series in the Breton language and hope that Breton children enjoy it as much as our young viewers in Wales.
“The distributor, Videoplugger, specialise in selling programmes in minority languages and I think this is the first children’s show they have sold.
“Videoplugger have also had a lot of interest from other countries though nothing has been confirmed as yet.
”I’m confident that Deian a Loli will translate well into other languages – many of the themes are universal and children everywhere love a bit of mischief.”
Sioned Wyn Roberts, Children’s Content Commissioner at S4C, said: “Deian a Loli has performed extremely well on Cyw, S4C’s pre-school channel.
“The show has everything – strong stories, great performances and magical effects. Kids absolutely love Deian a Loli and this is all down to the hard work and vision of the talented and creative team behind the series.”
Videoplugger chief executive Emanuele Galloni added: “We’re glad to see this beautiful series starting its travel across Europe, first stop Brittany. We’re looking forward to seeing it going beyond its borders internationally.”