New Zealand’s Mukpuddy Animation, Canada’s Sphere Animation and the UK’s Cantilever Media have teamed up to produce the brand-new kids’ series, "Badjelly", starring Miriam Margolyes OBE and based on a story from legendary comedian Spike Milligan. Commissioned by New Zealand’s TVNZ and WildBrain Television’s Family Channel in Canada, "Badjelly" is the first-ever treaty co-production in kids’ animation between New Zealand, Canada and UK studios. ABC Australia has also acquired the series for their platforms. Production on the 13 x 22’ 2D-animated series for kids 7 to 11-years old began earlier this year, with delivery scheduled for 2025. WildBrain is the global distributor outside of New Zealand and Australia.
Based on the beloved kids’ book, "Badjelly the Witch: A Fairy Story", an irreverent modern fairy tale by renowned Irish comedian, poet, playwright and actor, Spike Milligan, "Badjelly" delivers a fresh new take for today’s kids on this classic story, all the while preserving the crazy humour, bizarre situations and quirky characters from Milligan’s original tale that has entertained kids for generations.
Miriam Margolyes OBE, ("Harry Potter") will star as the voice of the enigmatic Badjelly. Alongside Margolyes, Rhys Darby ("Trolls"), Ava Diakhaby ("Shortland Street") and Malachi Hall ("The Flatshare"). They are joined by an array of international talent, including Roisin Conaty, Cohen Holloway, Mandip Gill, Joe Wilkinson, Katherine Parkinson, Kiell Smith-Bynoe and Julian Barratt.
"Badjelly" represents a significant step for Mukpuddy, leading the charge to raise the profile of animated storytelling from New Zealand. Head writer and co-director Ryan Cooper stating, “We’ve assembled a great team of writers and creatives who are taking Spike Milligan’s creation to another level of enchantment, thrills and whimsical quirky fun. Stay tuned as this magical 'Badjelly' animated series rekindles the spirit of Milligan’s whimsical world and takes you on an unforgettable adventure!”
“'Badjelly the Witch' is wildly popular in New Zealand,” says producer Simon Ward. “Generations of Kiwi kids have grown up with the book, the radio play and countless versions of the stage show. We’re delighted to bring this beloved classic to a global audience with our take on Spike Milligan’s bonkers adventure.”
Marlo Miazga, president of Sphere Media Kids & Family, says: “This project represents such fresh creative collaboration that our team leaped at the opportunity to join the party. 'Badjelly the Witch' was the invention of one of the great comic geniuses of all time, Spike Milligan, and she is voiced in our new series by another national treasure, Miriam Margolyes. We’re thrilled to join forces with a team of unrivalled international animation talent to give this exciting new show the best launch pad for global success.”
“It's a complete honour to be the UK Producers on 'Badjelly',” says Producer Carys Rowan of Cantilever Media. “We have a dream team who have an aligned vision: to create funny, relatable and visually beautiful content that doesn't talk down to our kids.”