King Snike, a character from Bottersnikes and Gumbles.

Netflix has acquired worldwide first-run rights, excluding Australia and the UK, to Bottersnikes and Gumbles, a CGI animated children’s comedy series.

Separately, Netflix has concluded a number of library deals with Australian distributors for its Oz/NZ service which is due to launch in late March.

Transmission Films, Rialto and Pinnacle are among those that have licensed films to the US streaming giant.

Based on the novels by Australian author SA Wakefield, Bottersnikes and Gumbles (52 x 11’) will follow the lazy, ugly Bottersnikes as they try to enslave the innocent, shape-shifting Gumbles in the Outback.

The producers are Cheeky Little Media’s David Webster and Patrick Edgerton and Mighty Nice’s Darren Price.

The Seven Network has the first-run, Australian free-to-air rights and the BBC’s CBBC has pre-bought the UK rights. Netflix will have the first window outside those two territories so there will be a hold-back on deals with terrestrial broadcasters.

Price optioned the books and joined forces with Cheeky Little Media, which Webster and Edgerton founded in 2013 after departing Ambience Entertainment.

Webster tells IF that animation starts next month, mostly handled by Hong Kong-based Kickstart, and the series will be delivered in 2016.

Price is creating the visual design elements and will co-direct with Webster. The writing team will be one-third Australian and two-thirds UK, headed by the UK’s Jen Upton.

Webster says the voice cast will be primarily Australian, augmented with UK talent. The production is being funded by licence fees from Seven, Netflix and the BBC, the PDV offset and investment from Kickstart. The UK-based Cake Entertainment is the international distributor and co-producing.

Netflix has made a strong push into children’s content in the past year, commissioning shows based on franchises King Kong, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Richie Rich, Care Bears, Justin Time and Winx Club, plus series based on DreamWorks Animation characters including Puss in Boots.

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  1. It’s a shame Sam Wakefield didn’t live to see this realised on the screen. I know he hoped it would. There were attempts to develop this for TV at least since the 90’s. The publishers/agent probably could have been more proactive.

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