The BBC has acquired the UK rights to Northern Pictures’ live-action children’s series Hardball, to screen on CBBC.
Created and written by Matt Zeremes and Guy Edmonds and produced by Joe Weatherstone, Hardball centres on Mikey, who’s recently moved from New Zealand to Western Sydney and found himself in the thick of the ultra-competitive, schoolyard game of handball.
With friends Jerry and Salwa, Mikey trains to become a weapon of precision and skill – equipped to topple resident king of the court, Tiffany, and take home the Western Suburbs handball crown.
The series was originally commissioned by the ABC, with support from Screen Australia, Screen NSW and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF), with a second season due to begin production later this year. Directors on the first season included Darren Ashton, Kacie Anning and Fadia Abboud.
ACTF brokered the sale to the Beeb, following on from other sales to France Televisions (France), NRK (Norway), RTE (Ireland), TVO (Canada), TFO (Canada), TVB (Hong Kong), RTP (Portugal), RTV (Slovenia), and SABC (South Africa).
ACTF executive producer Bernadette O’Mahony said: “It’s great to see the success of Hardball across the world, and to know that kids in the UK are now also going to enjoy this funny and delightful series. I’m sure they are going to love the warmth and craziness of the gang from Block Street Primary School as much as Australian kids have”.
Hardball has won a variety of prizes including the 7-10 Fiction category at this year’s Prix Jeunesse, the Children and Youth: Fiction category at the 2020 BANFF World Media Festival Rockie Awards, and Episode 1: ‘Across the Ditch’ was awarded First Prize from the Professional Jury for Best Live Action Television Production at the 36th Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.